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Bullying, Harassment, & Hate Crimes Spike Since Presidential Election

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Recently the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released the results of a post-election national survey of 50,000 teenagers between 13 and 18 years old. Some 70 percent reported witnessing bullying, hate messaging, or harassment since the election with racial bias being the “most common motive cited.”

These incidents are far more frequent than before, according to the survey, and they seemed to escalate markedly after the beginning of the presidential campaigns.

The participating young people said 70 percent of the incidents were based on race or ethnicity, 63 based upon sexual orientation and 59 percent “motivated by immigration status.”

Gayle Williams-Byers, an African American mother and trial judge in Northeast Ohio, is increasingly concerned about these alarming trends.  She fears that the national rhetoric surrounding the presidential campaigns has given license to some people to act-out their racial hatred and prejudices.

“Words have power and too often hate-words can be translated into harmful actions,” Judge Gayle says. “That harm often is irreparable.”

“I have never seen a time with the potential for such deep divisions between the races and different ethnic and religious groups,” Judge Gayle added.  She fears if this trend continues unabated that we could, in this country, have “our own civil war over race.”

She is concerned that we have an “unsettled American conscience” and that actions at the federal level of government have left room for hate to jump into our national psyche and overt behaviors.

From a judicial viewpoint, she is concerned that hate crimes, vandalism, and targeted offenses against minorities and certain religious groups will escalate leading to greater divides between races and religions.