The Problem

Many political discussions about the 2016 presidential election have been racially charged, misogynistic, xenophobic, and just plain vulgar. When asked about their views of communities of color, candidates have talked only about poverty and the criminal justice system; called Mexicans rapists; called for the ban of Muslims entering the country; declared the slaves who built the White House were “well fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government!”; and suggested that youth of color are “super predators.”

Despite their best attempts, many parents have unsuccessfully tried to shield their young children from these horrific statements.  Brown-skinned Muslim and non-Muslim students are being teased about being part of “ISIS” and taunted with chants like “Build the wall! Build the wall!” at sporting events around the country. Education experts like Maureen Costello, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, believe all of this election negativity has significantly increased the amount of bullying in many schools.

What’s even more alarming than the statements themselves is the fact that that a large numbers of our fellow Americans hold similar views and would support building a wall on our southern border, deporting undocumented immigrants, and banning Muslims from entering the United States.

This past election cycle has created an environment where it is acceptable for people to make hateful comments or express fear about anyone who is different from them.  The Chairman of the American Nazi Party views this new reality as a “real opportunity.”

Public opinion research shows racially prejudiced and biased voters strongly embraced Trump’s racist and hateful language. The American National Election Study confirmed that support for Trump is strongly linked to racial resentment, and a Washington Post survey showed that Trump voters are more likely than other Americans, even other Republicans, to believe that whites are “losing out … to blacks and Hispanics.”

Next section: “How hate speech affects children”