D.C. Is a New Hotbed for Racist Acts – Care2.com

President Donald Trump may not have made much headway on his goal of making America great again, but one thing he has definitely accomplished is bringing the simmering racism of our country out into the open.

Perhaps one of the saddest results of President Trumps influence is how many racist incidents are occurring now in Washington, D.C., and how racism and xenophobia are surging in our nations capitol.

In just under a week the Smithsonian Institute had two different racist attacks, with nooses being left first in a tree at the Hirshhorn Museum, and next at a display about segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. According to Smithsonian.com, On Wednesday afternoon, tourists visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture found a noose in an exhibition on segregation. Park police came to investigate and removed the noose, and the exhibit gallery was reopened within three hours, Smithsonian officials said. The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravitya symbol of extreme violence for African Americans. Todays incident is a painful reminder of the challenges that African Americans continue to face, wrote Lonnie Bunch, the director of the museum, in an e-mail to staff.

Nooses have been found in other places in D.C. as well. A few weeks earlier at American University nooses were used in a display that also involved hanging bananas, a means of attacking an African American sorority on the campus. American University is investigating what its calling a racial incident after bananas were found hanging from strings tied in the shape of nooses in three places on the campus in Northwest D.C., WTOP.com reports. The displays were found in three places around the campus. In a memo to the college community, Fanta Aw, Americans vice president of campus life, said some of the fruits had the letters AKA written on them which Aw said stood for Alpha Kappa Alpha, a sorority whose members are predominantly African-American. Investigators suspect that the incidents may be tied to the election of the first black woman as student body president.

It isnt just the African American community feeling the brunt of the attacks, either. In an obvious attempt to intimidate and harass undocumented immigrants in the city someone posted fake fliers around D.C., pretending they were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The posters, which bear the ICE logo, list potential penalties for assisting someone in the country illegally, according to ABC News.

Federal immigration authorities responded to the fake fliers on Twitter, the news station reports. The immigration enforcement notices appearing across Washington, D.C., were not issued or sanctioned by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), spokesperson Carissa Cutrell told ABC News. Just like false reports of immigration checkpoints or random sweeps, notices like these are dangerous and irresponsible. Any person who actively incites panic or fear of law enforcement is doing a disservice to the community, endangering public safety and the very people they claim to support and represent, Cutrell added.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser responded to the attempt to terrorize those who are undocumented by tweeting tear it down. But thats not the only hate-filled flier incident in the area. Over Memorial Day weekend, in the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, White Supremacists decided to do a little posting of their own. Racist fliers were found plastered on trees and utility poles and wedged on car windshields in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria during Memorial Day weekend, WTOP.com reports. The fliers, bearing a web address of a white nationalist group, carried various racist messages aimed at African-Americans and immigrant groups, and called for fascism to replace democracy in the United States.

Those posters, too, were quickly removed by locals in the neighborhood.

Obviously incidents like this are happening all over the country, from graffiti to vandalism and slurs and outright violence. Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Time Magazine that she believes that the campaign season and now Trumps win has unleashed the racism that was only barely checked before now. Putting those sentiments in public from a presidential campaign has sanctioned a lot of people, she told Time. Things they might have kept inside themselves, that they have kept quiet about, have burst out.

Still, somehow it seemed as if even as the rest of the country succumbed to their bigotry, it was almost as if D.C. should have been held to a higher level that the symbolic heart of democracy shouldnt be experiencing the same hatred that is infecting many states of the nation.

Then again, this is now the home of the President himself, the one who arguably instigated this problem in the first place. Looking at it from that perspective, the nooses and fake ICE flyers arent very shocking after all.

Photo credit: Thinkstock.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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D.C. Is a New Hotbed for Racist Acts – Care2.com

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June 6, 2017   Posted in: Heidi Beirich |

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