In the first 10 days after Donald Trump’s election, 10 acts of racially or ethnically-charged harassment and intimidation were committed in Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania had 36 instances in the same timeframe.
The numbers come from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Last week it released a study documenting nearly 900 of these incidents nationwide and shared its Pennsylvania and Philadelphia statistics with Billy Penn.
Of the 10 incidents in Philadelphia, four of them were considered anti-Muslim and three of them anti-immigrant. The city also had anti-woman, anti-LGBT and anti-Semitic incidents, as classified by the SPLC.
Philly’s number of anti-Muslim incidents were far beyond what most of the rest of the country had experienced. The SPLC counted 49 anti-Muslim incidents in the entire United States, for six percent of the overall harassments and intimidations.
In Philly, anti-Muslim acts in the days after Trump’s victory included a patient who refused to be treated by a Muslim doctor, someone who threw a rock through a Muslim family’s window and a group that yelled at a Muslim woman to take off her Hijab or leave the country.
“We’re here to affirm … that we accept the peaceful transfer of power as the result of the election,” Jacob Bender, executive director of Philadelphia’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told Newsworks. “However we insist that the Trump administration respect the civil rights of all the residents of our country, notwithstanding the incendiary and bigoted statements against Muslims, Mexicans, and women made during the campaign by candidate Trump.”
Other Philadelphia incidents documented by the SPLC made major news in the area, such as:
- The “nigger lynching” group text at Penn
- St. Joseph’s Prep students holding photos of Trump and the Confederate flag
- The swastika at a Fishtown rec center
- The swastikas in South Philly
Some of these incidents, particularly the group text addressed to black freshmen at Penn, drew widespread condemnation from public officials. Mayor Jim Kenney, Gov. Tom Wolf and the Philadelphia GOP all denounced the actions of the people who sent the texts.
Pennsylvania’s 36 incidents ranked seventh nationally, which is about expected, given Pennsylvania is the country’s sixth-most populous state. But the harassments and acts of intimidation have happened at a much higher rate on this side of the state. In addition to the 10 incidents in Philly, the four suburban counties surrounding the city had nine incidents.
So despite having about one-third of the state’s population, about half of the incidents tracked in Pennsylvania by the SPLC happened in Southeastern PA. Pittsburgh had just one incident and the rest of Western Pa. didn’t have any. The other acts happened in Central Pa. and near the Lehigh Valley.
Southeastern Pennsylvania had a much lower percentage of support for Trump than Central, Western and Northeastern Pennsylvania. But Southeastern Pa. is also easily the most diverse part of the state. The largely white populations in Western and Central Pa. have fewer interactions with ethnic and racial minorities.
Most of the incidents in Pennsylvania tracked by the SPLC — and all 10 in Philadelphia — happened in the first six days after the election. The SPLC noted this was the case nationwide, too, but despite the waning amount of hate incidents wants Trump to speak up.
“If he is to make good on the first promise he made as the president-elect — his pledge to “bind the wounds of division” in our country — he must repair the damage that his campaign has caused,” the SPLC wrote. “Rather than feign ignorance, he must acknowledge that his own words have opened “wounds of division” in our country. Rather than simply saying “Stop it!” and disavowing the radical right, he must speak out forcefully and repeatedly against all forms of bigotry and reach out to the communities his words have injured.”