Racial demagoguery may be shameless political theater to Donald Trump and his Presidential campaign, but his words are having a dangerous, real-life effect.
As Frank Sharry has noted, the emergence of white nationalist and neo-Nazi support for Trump shows “he is fostering a climate that demonizes and dehumanizes 55 million Latinos because of the way they look or speak, even if their families have been here for centuries.”
We’ve seen the proof over the past few weeks. Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric hasn’t just pushed his fellow candidates to the right on immigration (in what has become known as the “Trump Effect”). It’s gone beyond the political world and injected itself into everyday life — and, in at least one instance, in a very violent way.
These are the incidents we know about.
In a video that garnered millions of views online, a woman harasses a Spanish-speaking woman at a restaurant, saying “We speak English here,” before telling her “Go back to Spain”:
In Boston, two brothers terrorize a homeless Latino man with a metal pipe, breaking his nose and leaving him with serious bruising across his ribs. The men finish their brutal assault in an act of humiliation, by urinating on his face. Police responding to the scene say they find the beaten man “laying on the ground, shaking, his face…soaking wet.”
As for the brothers, witnesses say the two intoxicated men were spotted “walking away laughing.”
When arrested and questioned, the brothers — who already had lengthy criminal records between them — lay blame for the assault squarely at the feet of Donald Trump:
“Police said Scott Leader, 38, told them it was OK to assault the man because he was Hispanic and homeless.
“‘Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,’” he allegedly told the police.”
Trump attempts to distance himself from the assault, but not before telling reporters that his followers are simply “passionate.”
At a Trump rally in Alabama — also attended by the notoriously anti-immigrant Jeff Sessions — an audience member yells “White Power!” during the candidate’s speech.
At the same rally, a Trump supporter “jokes” to AL.com about shooting and killing undocumented immigrants at the border:
Mobile resident Jim Sherota, clutching a vaporizer in one hand and wearing a t-shirt of conservative musician Ted Nugent, took it one step further. “The way I see it they ought to make it a vacation spot,” Sherota said. “OK, you want to come to the border, $25 for a permit, you can shoot all the people you want that cross illegally.” He later clarified that his remarks were “in jest.”
Following his ejection from a Trump press conference, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is confronted by a man identified as a Trump supporter, who, in front of cameras, tells the journalist (and U.S. citizen) to “get out of my country”:
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “passionate” fans will likely support him for any reason, even if it means going after U.S. citizen journalists. Soon after Donald Trump ejected the Spanish media Univision journalist Jorge Ramos from a press conference for asking questions about immigration on Tuesday night, a man told Ramos to “get out of my country.” “You were very rude — this is not about you,” the unidentified man says, confronting Ramos outside the press conference, in video footage uploaded to the Univision‘s website. “Get out of my country. Get out–” “This is my country — I’m a U.S. citizen too,” Ramos quipped. “Well, whatever. Univision-whatever. It’s not about you,” the man shot back, before an uniformed individual separated the two.
The identity of the man — who appears to be wearing a Trump sticker or button on his jacket — is unknown. The Trump campaign, in turn, denies having anything to do with him.
That same day, immigrant rights advocate Christian Ramirez and his infant son are harrassed by men mimicking Trump’s toxic “anchor baby” rhetoric:
Crude reminder today about racism in the US, 2 young men yelled at me and my baby son to “go back to Mexico and take my anchor baby with me” — Christian Ramirez (@RamirezUSMEX) August 27, 2015
I reported it to the police. https://t.co/R4rHJExyJK
— Christian Ramirez (@RamirezUSMEX) August 28, 2015
In San Francisco’s predominately-Latino Mission District, community murals are discovered tagged with “White Power” messages:
Mission Local reports that area resident Sandra Sandoval spotted the message on the sidewalk near the McDonald’s on 24th Street. A swastika was also drawn on the tag, they say. (Scroll down see a photo of the tag here.) Update: SFist commenter Wagnerian_thrice says that “The white power graffiti is on the 24th at BART platform, too.” The same “white power” message was repeated on a mural outside the La Gallinita Meat Market, which is at 2989 24th Street between Alabama and Florida Streets. According to La Gallinita owner Salvador Vasquez, the mural, which depicts Juan Diego receiving a miracle from the Virgin of Guadalupe, has rarely been vandalized due the the religious nature of the art. “I’ve been here since 1975. Everything has happened,” he says. “But to put it directly on a mural — it’s the first time I’ve seen that.” The tag was also spotted on a new mural South Van Ness and 24th Street. That one depictsMission District icon Chata Gutierrez, who died in 2013. “The scaffold isn’t even down, and they tagged it,” Cindy De Losa, Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center store manager says.
At a protest in front of Trump Tower yesterday, a Trump bodyguard sucker-punches a Latino man after snatching his sign from his hands. The NY Daily News confirms this is the same bodyguard who threw Jorge Ramos out of Trump’s press conference in Iowa a few days ago.
Again in San Francisco, a vandal tags at least five locations in two neighborhoods with “No more Chinese!” graffiti:
Police quickly arrest a suspect, a 62-year-old white man, and charge him “with six misdemeanor counts of vandalism and six misdemeanor counts of committing a hate crime”:
Police largely credited the public response to the graffiti for the quick arrest. Community members planned a peace and unity rally at Palega Park on Thursday night to “condemn anti-Chinese hate speech.”
In Indiana, assailants shoot a 14-year-old Latino teen as he leaves a grocery store with his mother.
The teen — who still has a bullet lodged in his back because doctors fear removing it could cause further damage — says he heard an anti-Latino slur during the attack:
“Out of nowhere I heard a whistling, kind of like a bottle rocket then I felt something hit my side and I just lurched forward,” said Zaragoza.
Witnesses say the shots came from a moving car. The suspected shooters drove past Brian and yelled an anti-Hispanic slur.
“The fact that they yelled out a racial term and made it about that–obviously the intent there, in my opinion, is clear because they are specifying why they are shooting at this kid,” said Carlos May, executive committee of the Indiana Latino Expo.
The same shooters possibly targeted a nearby Mexican food stand earlier that day:
Minutes earlier, just a few blocks from the spot Zaragoza was shot, a Mexican taco stand was also the scene of a shooting. An SUV with an adult and two small children inside was shot at. Nobody was injured.
The car description that Zaragoza gave police is similar to the one spotted at the taco stand shooting. Also, .40 caliber shell casings were collected at both scenes.
“If they were just targeting random Mexican places, then I guess I was just wrong place wrong time,” said Zaragoza.
The man, an American citizen, is told “Go back to your country!” by the assailant, mirroring the same venomous rhetoric journalist Jorge Ramos faced a few weeks ago at the hands of a Trump supporter in Iowa:
“Terrorist!” “Bin Laden!” “Go back to your country!” came the shouts from the other car.
Inderjit Singh Mukker, a father of two on his way to the grocery store in his Chicago suburb, pulled over when the vehicle in front kept tailgating him, according to the Sikh Coalition. The 53-year-old Sikh man, who wears a beard and turban, expected that the person in the other car would just drive past.
Instead, the Coalition says, the other driver got out and stormed toward him, reaching into Mukker’s car and repeatedly punching him in the face. Mukker lost consciousness and had to be taken to the hospital, where he received treatment for a fractured cheekbone, bruising and blood loss and six stitches for the lacerations on his face.
Police in Darien, Ill., 30 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, said that the incident Tuesday night is being investigated as a hate crime, according to NBC. The alleged assailant is in police custody.
No doubt a “passionate” Trump supporter. ‘Terrorist, go back to your country,’ attacker yelled in assault of Sikh man http://t.co/RPjyL8SqSt
— Shelli (@rochshelly) September 11, 2015
At a Donald Trump-led rally protesting President Obama’s Iran deal, DREAMers are shoved, spat upon, and told to “Go home!” by Trump supporters. Rather than restrain the instigators in the crowd, police escort the young immigrants out of the rally.
One young DREAMer is left is tears after her hair gets violently pulled by a Trump supporter:
A senior citizen from Venezuela visiting her daughter in Texas is allegedly harassed by an American Airlines employee for not knowing how to speak English.
The woman’s daughter described being berated by the employee in a Facebook video — which has gone viral with over 185,000 views — and said people who doubt that Donald Trump’s words don’t have an effect should take special note.
As with every year, I asked American Airlines to do me the favor of tending to my mom because she’s a person of age. Usually I enter with her and walk her to the gate. This time the person who tended to me, well, it seems as though she was a Donald Trump follower or watches a lot of television or woke up in a bad mood. But this is the first time in 15 years of my life that I have lived in this country —a beautiful country filled with opportunities, a country filled with beautiful people, because I believe the majority of this country has virtuous, beautiful, sweet, respectful people— well, it’s the first time in my life that something like this has happened to me.
This lady, when I asked her for the pass to enter with my mom because my mom doesn’t speak English, the lady stares at my mom and says my mom is perfectly fine and can enter by herself. I tell her, “Ma’am, the thing is that every year, every time my mom comes, I take her to the gate because she’s nervous. She’s an older lady; she’s older than 65. That’s why I ask for a pass so that I can enter.”
She took my ID. The lady simply kept staring at my mom. And when I saw her staring I said, “The thing is that my mom doesn’t speak Spanish. Understand? And so to find the gate, sit down and talk to the people in Houston is a bit hard for her.” The lady kept looking at me cynically, and she tells me, “That’s weird, because after all the majority of the people living in the world speak English.” And I tell the lady, “Well, yeah, that is strange because my mom, she lives in Venezuela, and she speaks Spanish. She doesn’t speak English.”
Offended by this, of course, I ask her, “With all due respect, do you speak Spanish?” The lady tells me, “No. I don’t need to speak Spanish. I live in America, and so I don’t need to speak Spanish.” And then I tell her, “Well, you’ve proven my point, see? My mom lives in Venezuela, and she doesn’t need to speak English. That’s why she doesn’t speak English. Even though you say that the majority of the people in the world speak English, she doesn’t, and she needs to enter with me.”
The lady gave me a pass to enter. After I waited in line and it was time to enter, she grabbed the pass and tore it up in my face, and she enjoyed doing it, saying, “Now we’ll see how you’re going to get it.” …
In short, my recommendation is the following: For the people who think what this man Donald Trump is doing doesn’t affect anyone, I think this person is doing the same thing Hugo Chávez did in Venezuela. He’s using us —us Latinos— to win the election. What Hugo Chávez did was use the poor, to grab the poor and make them believe the rich were evil. Well, here they’re using the Latinos and they’re discriminating against all of them.
During a Iowa-Iowa State football game on Saturday, a Caucasian woman was filmed ripping up a Latino protester’s poster. On Monday night, the woman identified as Shelby Mueller, 20, released a statement indicating that she is “a Christian” who made “an ignorant mistake.” Another man reportedly told an immigrant advocate at the rally, “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right.” And an Iowa State University student said that a woman “physically grabbed my face.”
Per the Huffington Post, the woman was heard saying that she was going to destroy the poster and “vote for white supremacy.”
Video of the incident garnered thousands of retweets and nearly 500,000 views.
Other peaceful demonstrators — including students and community members from Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, DREAM Iowa, Drake University, University of Iowa and Des Moines Area Community College — were also harassed with taunts of “Send the illegals back to where they came from!” “Were you born here?” and “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
According to Politico, a Trump supporter took over a microphone connected to loudspeakers at the Dallas rally and shouted, first in Spanish, then in English, “The Mexicans are the hairs of ass–. Viva Donald Trump.” The woman then told a female protester, “Clean my hotel room, b–.” A man also mocked the protesters, stating, “somebody press 1 for English.”
The alderman of the area where some of the businesses have been targeted is himself Latino, and says residents are fearful:
According to CBS58, local Hispanic businesses along with union headquarters have received anonymous postcards in the past few weeks attacking undocumented immigrants, calling them “illegal Mexican trash.”
According to authorities, postal inspectors were brought in to assist local police with tracking down the culprits out of fears the businesses themselves could be attacked.
“I know that they are investigating to see if any ordinance or state statute has been violated and if and when that happens I have all the confidence that police will take all the right measures and hold that person accountable,” explained Alderman José Perez whose district has been hit hard with the hate campaign.
“The constituents are offended, which they should be and there’s also some fear that this may escalate,” Perez added. “We don’t want that to happen and that’s why the police is involved.”
The cards call for deportation of “illegal Mexican thieves” while referencing Kate Steinle, a San Francisco woman who was accidentally shot by an undocumented immigrant in July, and whose image and name have been co-opted by anti-immigrant groups.
During a rally in Miami, Trump supporters called protesters “savages,” dragged, and then physically kicked them out of the event.
“[Trump] appeared to endorse the use of violent tactics against these protesters,” noted ThinkProgress:
“See the first group, I was nice. Oh, take your time,” Trump said of the protesters. “The second group, I was pretty nice. The third group, I’ll be a little more violent. And the fourth group, I’ll say get the hell out of here!”
Trump also continued his long-standing war against Univision, ordering crews from the Spanish-language network to leave the event.
— ¡Gabe! Ortíz (@TUSK81) October 24, 2015
During a campaign rally in Alabama, a Black Lives Matter demonstrator was physically assaulted by a group of Trump supporters. Video from CNN captured the demonstrator being repeatedly hit and kicked while on the ground.
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) November 21, 2015
At least a half-dozen attendees shoved and tackled the protester, a black man, to the ground as he refused to leave the event. At least one man punched the protester and a woman kicked him while he was on the ground.
All of the attendees who were involved in the physical altercation with the protester were white.
The protester appeared to be shouting “black lives matter” and later removed his sweatshirt to reveal a shirt with those words.
At least one attendee shouted “all lives matter” as the protester was eventually led out by police officers on the scene.
When questioned by Fox News about the incident the next day, Trump said about the demonstrator: “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”