Fight This Hate: A Weekly Roundup

Fight this Hate shows a small selection of hate crimes and/or harassment that has taken place recently in the United States. Southern Poverty Law Center keeps detailed accounts of hate crimes. Colorlines tracks all manner of topics related to race and publishes them daily. The following incidents are only a small sample, and each includes a form of direct action.

 The Ugliness of Racism

According to Southern Law Poverty Center, incidents of hate-fueled acts of intimidation and harassment have increased in the public domain. One of the most pervasive manifestations of these happenings is the display of nooses.

In early May, bananas with odious messages were found hanging from nooses on American University’s campus in Washington, D.C. Just over a week later, two Maryland men were arrested for hanging a noose outside Crofton Middle School. Similarly, four students were recently identified as being involved with hanging a black teddy bear from a noose at Wakefield High School in North Carolina.

More recent incidents came from the heavily trafficked Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. The first was found hanging from a tree at the Hirshhorn Museum on May 26. The second was discovered several days later on the second floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in an exhibit about segregation. The latest incident occurred this past weekend when a noose was found at a construction site in the predominately African American Hillcrest neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C.

Those who have felt empowered by such an administration have raised the issue of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech in defense of noose imagery. Despite these seemingly unfettered protections, the First Amendment does not extend to protect expressions that incite violence, intend to intimidate, or threaten another individual.

Fight Back

#ReportHate first to the police, and then to the Southern Law Poverty Center, an organization that tracks such things, and fights. Use this site.

Two-Tiered Justice System is racist

The Southern Law Poverty Center, the ACLU, the ACLU of Alabama, and Civil Rights Corps recently filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Alabama, claiming the bail system is inherently racist. What happens is a person is arrested, accused of a felony or misdemeanor, bail is set, and when that person can’t afford to pay the bail, she is held in jail until her hearing. Oftentimes, innocent people are held for days, weeks, or months because they can’t afford bail. The federal lawsuit accuses judicial and county officials of violating Kandace Edwards’s rights. The suit claims people are being coerced to plead guilty just because they can’t afford bail.

There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who go unnoticed behind bars – accused but not convicted of a crime – because they cannot afford bail. On any given day, more than six in ten inmates in city and county jails are awaiting trial. For their crime of poverty, they pay in lost income, employment, and time with their families. They are more likely to plead guilty in order to avoid pretrial detention. Some, like Sandra Bland, end up paying with their lives.

Given the statistics we see on a regular basis, we know that people of color are far more likely to fall victim to the bail system. All poor people are more likely than those with money to be affected.

Fight Back

Support the SPLC, the ACLU, your local civil rights groups.

Also This

States with large populations of Black people are stingier with benefits. It’s not surprising, but it is horrifying. White supremacists seek and find every possible way to discriminate against people of color. Fewer jobs, fewer benefits of all sorts, worse housing, worse schooling, anything that can be withheld or taken out on poor people is. States have great leeway in how they administer benefits. Here’s an example:

Today, Oregon, where 84 percent of the population is white and 1.8 percent of the population is black, gives a single-parent family of three $506 a month through Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), the modern-day welfare program. Mississippi, which is 60 percent white and 38 percent black, gives a single-parent family of three just $170 a month. Oregon also helps people get off welfare by linking them to employment and pays their wages for up to six months. Mississippi has a work requirement for people receiving welfare, but does little to help them get a job.

Fight Back

Your local government is where you have the most power. Get involved. Run for office or hound your local representatives in city, county, and state government. Use Google to find out what’s happening in your area, and to compare that to other areas.

Farmworkers in California face discrimination

California recruited more than 11,000 guest workers last year. As part of being able to recruit these workers, the employers are required to provide housing at no cost to the workers. But no one seems to want them as neighbors.

Californians love their locally grown produce, but are far less enthusiastic about locally housed farmworkers. They have deployed lawsuits and hastily written regulations to segregate thousands of seasonal workers forcing them to seedy roadside hotels and crowded housing in cities where affordable shelter is already limited.

Fight Back

Given the current political climate, California can count itself lucky to even find guest workers. Affordable housing must be provided. Write and call your representatives, state and local.

Racist, anti-immigration, AND transphobic in one case

Karolina Lopez was undocumented and transgender. She was held for more than three years in Tucson, Arizona, hoping for asylum. She left her family and her home near Acapulco because she was being discriminated against by her family and community — not to mention that Acapulco has the highest murder rate in Mexico. She ended up in an immigration detention center after she reported a robbery to the police and they arrested her when they discovered she was in the US illegally.

You can read her full story here.

Fight Back

Keep up the pressure on your members of Congress (MoC) to make immigration laws better, to end racist, sexist, transphobic attitudes at immigration detention centers. Support your local LGBTQ centers.

Update on transgender murders, 2017

Kenne McFadden is the 12th reported transgender murder of 2017. She was found dead two months ago near the San Antonio Riverwalk. But she was misgendered in media reports until recently.

Fight Back

#ReportHate first to the police, and then to the Southern Law Poverty Center, an organization that tracks such things, and fights. Use this site.


Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.

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