What is behind all of the acts of racism?

What is behind all of the acts of racism?

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported more than 400 reports of hate-based intimidation and harassment since the presidential election.

In Wellsville, New York, a baseball dugout was vandalized with a swastika and the words "Make America White Again." Other incidents included African-American children being told to get to the back of a bus. Latino children were reportedly taunted about the wall Trump promised to build between Mexico and the United States. In Jacksonville, Florida, two racist signs posted over water fountains at a high school.

KVUE News talked to students and educators at the ‘No Place for Hate’ Summit in Austin about the recent trend.

Paula Simmons, the Assistant Principal from Benold Middle School, knows a thing or two about hate. She said she experienced racism from a professor in college.

"She made a very derogatory comment on my behalf to me, the last semester of my senior year, and it really, she could have kept me from graduating, and it was quite hurtful," she said.

Simmons said she wants to create a good working environment for her teachers so that the positive energy trickles down to the children.

"It's so important,” she said. "The great awareness and the opportunities for growth and diversity.”

According to UT Professor of History and Public Affairs Jeremi Suri, Trump played a large roll in starting this fire and now has to flip the script.

“What we know historically, moments when figures who are respected say things like that it enables and encourages others to do the same,” he said. “What we’re seeing is frustrated citizens of all kinds, using more racist and more violence to justify their positions."

He said he has a message for the President-elect.

"The problem today is that many of Donald Trump’s voters, for example, are people who have lost their jobs in their factories, are having trouble paying for their mortgages, and they don’t have a welfare state to actually offer them an opportunity to get an education and a way to get out,” he said. “I’m willing to believe that he can govern in a way that is different from his campaign, but he needs to show us that and he needs to reach out. And I call on him in the best of faith to do that."

At the summit, the middle schoolers, who were trying to stop hate, could perhaps share a lesson for our political leaders.

"She was saying like bad stuff about Donald Trump, and I was kind of sitting there, and I was like Hillary Clinton is like... and that's when we started fighting,” said Erica Joiner, middle school student. "We kind of talked about it, and we're not going to let this get in the way of our friendship."

On Sunday night during his sit-down interview with 60 Minutes, President-elect Trump told those harassing minorities to "stop it."

However, will that work or will he have to do a lot more? Professor Suri said he believes people need hope in the way of jobs and educational opportunities.

 

 

(© 2016 KVUE)


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