Racism has always been a highly contentious topic in the USA. While enormous leaps and bounds have been made since the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, there remains a lot of work to be done, and at times it appears the nation steps backwards instead of forwards.
For some, the idea that the recent election of President Donald Trump has sparked more racist incidents is not at all a strange one. Donald Trump is known for blunt rhetoric and has been accused of being racist himself on numerous occasions. Many people claim that there is a connection between his election and the sudden rise in racial incidents, with white supremacists feeling their beliefs have been condoned by him.
Since the election, there has been a sharp increase in the number of reported racial incidents across the entirety of the USA. Many of these incidents make reference to Trump specifically by name, showing that the perpetrators feel he represents their perspectives and reinforces their views, whether or not the President shares this sentiment. He has been called upon to condemn these attacks and distance himself from the perpetrators and the beliefs behind them.
Perhaps one of the most controversial policies which could be said to have influenced and incited racial attacks is his promise to build a wall between the USA and Mexico in an attempt to reduce the amount of illegal immigration into the USA. This has given a boost to nationalist groups who believe the USA should not welcome immigrants, either legal or illegal, and ought to eject anyone who tries to enter. In turn, this may have led to incidents where racist groups call on non-white Americans to ‘go home,’ regardless of their citizenship status.
Another policy which is causing major upset throughout the country is his attempts to reduce the number of Muslims entering the USA from certain countries – known as the ‘Muslim ban.’ It attempted to put a hold on visa requests and prevent entry from certain Arabic countries, including Syria, Iraq, and Libya. This bill has been the subject of enormous protest and legal cases, and remains a cause of much confusion and upset, for all sorts of people, not just those in the groups affected. It has led to chaos in airports and households, with many valid travellers being denied their right to travel to the USA. Whatever the reasoning behind this policy, it is obvious why it has triggered an increase in racial incidents, as it singles out particular races and countries as causing problems in the USA.
The racial attacks have been targeted at all sorts of different minorities, including Jews, Muslims, Latinos, Mexicans, and many other groups. Many have involved hate speech, vandalism, graffiti, or even thefts and assaults. It is essential that the USA works to overcome these problems, educate people, and address the issues which cause racism in the first place. Every nation must deal with prejudice, but the current situation in the USA calls for immediate, empathetic, and effective action.