BALTIMORE (WJZ)– In recent days, several groups are tracking a rise in ugly incidents across the country. Hate-fueled messages in schools, some aimed at religions. Some reported in Maryland.
There was a swastika with the words white power scrawled next to it found over the weekend. On Election Day, Black Lives Matter signs at a Towson church were defaced. Graffiti reading “whites only, Trump nation” defaced a church in Silver Spring.
In York, Pennsylvania a high school student shouted white power in the hallway. Donald Trump supporters in Chicago and Towson have been attacked. In California, Muslims have been assaulted.
Three groups that track hate speech report a surge in similar reports since Election Day.
“This is not acceptable. This is not who we are,” said Dr. Zainab Chaudry.
Chaudry says many Muslims in Maryland are on edge.
“We’re encouraging people to take self defense classes in this climate where you don;t know what to expect sometimes when you go outside the house,” said Chaudry.
In Maryland, there were already 203 hate and bias crimes reported last year–up 31 percent from the year before. 4 in Baltimore City, 12 in Harford County, 22 in Anne Arundel, 29 in Howard and 49 in Baltimore County.
“People are grappling with feelings of fear, of concern, of trepidation, of anxiety,” said Loyola University professor Dr. Karsonya Whitehead.
But Whitehead believes now, it’s different.
“I don’t know if Donald Trump has given people permission to say these things, or they’ve always been there and now they feel emboldened to say it,” said Whitehead. “A middle school child, why would they chant build a wall? When he says things like make america great again, why is it some communities heard make america white again, and they’re actually painting that on the sides of churches and billboards.”
So will it stop? That, she says, is up to us.
“We get to decide the america we want to live in. The white house doesn’t tell us this. Congress doesn’t tell us this. This is not who we want to be. This is not the best we can be.”