Many political observers have drawn parallels between the unexpected rise of Donald Trump’s political fortunes and the equally unexpected decision by the United Kingdom earlier this year to leave the European Union. The faulty polling, the nationalist undercurrents, the overt racism: all were common themes in both campaigns.
Now that Trump’s victory has come to pass, the aftermath of the Brexit vote can offer us some insight into what might transpire in the United States over the next few months. One horrifying possibility: a sharp spike in hate crimes.
In the month after the Brexit vote, there were a reported 2,300 incidents of race-related hate crimes in London, a 164 percent increase over the 38 days before the vote. The rate of hate crimes has fallen since then, but it is still well above the rate from before the referendum. The 12-month period ending in August saw an overall rise of 16 percent in hate crimes.
With the dust settling from election night, residents in the United States are suddenly faced with a president-elect whose victory was paved with violent, extreme rhetoric and a large group of voters who are suddenly empowered to flaunt their hatred openly.
Minority communities, many of which have been directly targeted by Trump and his supporters during the campaign, are having difficult, scary conversations on Wednesday morning about how to cope—or simply survive—in Donald Trump’s America. Many Muslim women who wear a hijab are debating whether to continue doing so in public:
… I'm in tears pic.twitter.com/MIVtcS4mT5
— Jai (@JailaAmari) November 9, 2016
The rise of Islamophobia has been especially pronounced this year. The number of violent attacks against Muslims since Trump first declared his candidacy is three to five times higher than it was prior to the election, and many hate groups have pointed to his candidacy as one explanation.