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The Trump Effect part 2: It's not politics -- It's verbal violence

“Build the wall! Fuck those dirty beaners!” screamed a man at a Trump rally in early 2016.[2]

 “You can’t trust Latinos. Some maybe, but not most,” said protesters at another Trump rally. “Immigrants aren’t people, honey,” another responded. “You know them crazy black girls, how they are.”[4] 

“Fuck Islam! God bless Donald Trump!” screamed a man at another Trump rally, who was also wearing a t-shirt with big, block letters that read “Fuck Islam”. Another man screamed, “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology [sic].” He moved closer to the man in front of him, raising his fists, and said, “You don’t come here and talk about America when you are supporting Muslims.” A sign nearby read “Sieg Heil”. [6]  A Georgia high-school teacher who wears a hijab received a threatening note on her desk that read, “Your head scarf isn’t allowed anymore. Why don’t you tie it around your neck and hang yourself,” signed “America!”[8]. The same day, "Make America White Again" was spray-painted on a softball dugout in upstate New York, along with a large swastika.[10]

“We got a new president you fucking faggots,” strangers screamed at Chris Ball as he watched the election results at a bar in Santa Monica. When he left the bar, a group of men violent attacked him, smashing a bottle over his head until he fell to the pavement and lost consciousness.   

This is The Trump Effect, the impact of hateful political speech on people’s everyday interactions with those who they see as different from themselves. It is what happens when people do not see the other as a whole person but rather insists on classifying the other based entirely on physical attributes – the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their gender, their sexual orientation, their clothing, their bodies.

The Trump Effect is the legitimizing of hate-filled, bigoted abuse.  And it is real.

According to a study of over 2000 teachers conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center about the ways in which the election brought hate into American schools, called "The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools," there is “an increase in the bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates.”[12]

Trump was not like any other candidate, and 2016 was unlike any other election. We are living in a time when toxic, vitriolic, hateful abuse has entered the public sphere and is now mistaken for legitimate, political discourse.

But make no mistake: This is not politics. This is verbal violence.

[2] Mayra Cuevas, 'Trump' as anti-Latino epithet: Ugly incidents at high school games. CNN, March 1, 2016

[4] Joseph Serna, Principal on leave for alleged anti-Trump comments; student who voiced support for Trump attacked. LA Times, November 11, 2016

[6] Joseph Serna, Principal on leave for alleged anti-Trump comments; student who voiced support for Trump attacked. LA Times, November 11, 2016

[8] Cory Zurowski, Maple Grove students greeted with 'fuck niggers' the day after election, City Pages, November 9, 2016

[10] Ashley Parker, Nick Corasaniti and Erica Berenstein, Voices from Donald Trump’s Rallies, uncensored. New York Times, Aug 3, 2016

[12] Kuang Keng Kuek Ser, What's the 'Trump Effect' in schools? Here's how 2,000 teachers explain it. PRI,  April 20, 2016 ·

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