The “Make America Great Again” campaign fueled by Trump’s white supremacist agendas did anything but make America great, but rather, created a divide, a surge in hate crimes and threatened the safety of non-whites.
Instead of making our country “great” as Trump promised his supporters, he succeeded in doing just the opposite– deepening our nation’s divide and legitimizing the racist ideologies held by some of his voters.
The U.S. administration’s anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric since 2016 have led to a skyrocket of Islamophobic hate crimes, which the administration and many media outlets have sorely failed to call attention to.
Names of victims of Islamophobia, like Nabra Hassanen and “Our Three Winners” Deah Barakat and Yusor and Razan Abu-Salha, evoke a reality of these senseless hate crimes–crimes labeled as “road rage” and “parking dispute” incidents.
However, these are not isolated incidents, they are simply the most to receive media coverage. Statistics of killings, burned mosques, vandalism and threats are at an all time high.
These anti-Muslim hate crimes are often given far less media coverage comparing to incidents carried out against white people– proving time and time again that the media reserves labels like “terrorist” for Muslims, while whites are excused as “lone wolves.”
Anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased by 91 percent since 2016, according to a 2017 report by the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR also reported 940 incidents of potential bias and targeting of Muslims between April and June. Of those, the organization determined 451 stemmed from anti-Muslim bias.
Although Islamophobic hate crimes have dramatically risen since Trump’s campaign, Islamophobia in the U.S. is not a recent struggle faced by Muslims. Followers of the Islamic faith have been a target of hate since 9/11. Similarly to Trump, Bush’s famous “you’re either with us or with the terrorists” speech spurred a movement of the othering of Muslims across the globe.
The rise in hate crimes prove that what our politicians have to say and the anti-Muslim policies they put in place affect Americans’ perceptions and internalized fears of Muslims. If politicians expect to lower the number of hate crimes committed in the U.S, a place to start is by properly addressing the American public in times of tragedy and labeling all acts of terror as terrorism, not just acts committed by Muslims.
A solution to the hate-crime epidemic begins with holding our politicians and media outlets to a higher standard and not prioritizing some lives over others.