In this week’s Hate Report: A mother says kids tried to lynch her son in New Hampshire, Congress presses President Donald Trump to do more about white supremacists and the Proud Boys face an identity crisis.
The Hate Report has been pretty consumed with big stories recently, from the deadly hate-fueled attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, to the extremist activities of the anti-fascist movement. So this week, we want to get back to one of the original reasons why we began this project: detailing individual hate incidents across the country.
While details still are trickling out, news organizations have reported that an 8-year-old biracial boy was heckled with racial slurs by a group of teenagers, who then tied a rope around his neck and pushed him off a picnic table in Claremont, New Hampshire.
The story came to light when the boy’s mother posted a gruesome picture of her son’s neck on Facebook, along with a message:
It truly saddens me that even in a city so small, racism exists. My son used to love being able to go to the park with his older sister and shoot some hoops! Now, he’s not even allowed to go outside without me. It (sic) sad that in a city we considered to be safe, we aren’t safe at all.
The boy was taken to hospital but soon was released. The New York Times reports that the incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime. The alleged attack sparked outrage among residents of the city of about 13,000 people, and about 100 people showed up at a Claremont park Tuesday night for a vigil, NHPR reported.
The vigil was interrupted by a man driving past in a truck, who shouted, “All lives matter,” responding to “Black Lives Matter” signs in the crowd, according to NHPR. The man also yelled, “Stop making it about race.”
This is only the latest high-profile, apparently racially charged hate incident involving a minor to make headlines recently.
Earlier this year, BuzzFeed News reported that children are invoking the name of President Donald Trump to bully classmates about their race or religion. BuzzFeed has confirmed more than 50 incidents since the election, across 26 states.
While there is no evidence that the teenagers in Claremont invoked Trump’s name, the president’s apparent reluctance to speak out against hate groups clearly has been high on the minds of one group: the U.S. Congress.
Congress urges Trump to denounce hate
Congress unanimously passed a joint resolution this week condemning white supremacy and labeling the car attack in Charlottesville as domestic terror. Under the resolution, Congress said it “rejects White nationalism, White supremacy, and neo-Nazism as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
It urged Trump to “speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and White supremacy; and use all resources available to the President and the President’s Cabinet to address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States.”
The resolution called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to work with the Department of Homeland Security to “investigate thoroughly all acts of violence, intimidation, and domestic terrorism by White supremacists, White nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan … and to prevent those groups from fomenting and facilitating additional violence.”
However, Sessions has a long history of failing to prioritize crimes against minorities. During his stint as a U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, Sessions once reportedly said of civil rights cases that crossed his desk, “I wish I could decline on all of them.”
The Trump administration also has pulled homeland security grants funding nonprofit organizations attempting to combat white supremacist extremism. Speaking on the far-right web radio show “Fash the Nation” in July, white supremacist podcast host Michael Peinovich, who also goes by the pen name Mike Enoch, said the Trump administration’s deprioritization of such violence is “going to give us space to operate, and frankly, it is space to destroy.”
Who’s proud to be a Proud Boy?
In the aftermath of the hurricanes that slammed the Gulf Coast in recent weeks, the Proud Boys were there to help.
The self-proclaimed “politically incorrect” men’s group, created to celebrate European culture, sent members from the across the country to serve as an “anti-looting patrol” after Hurricane Harvey in Texas and deliver supplies to people stranded by Hurricane Irma in Florida.
The disaster relief efforts come as the group is attempting to put some distance between itself and the larger “alt-right” label that’s increasingly being viewed as a synonym for white supremacy.
In an email exchange, Pawl Bazile, an editor at Proud Boys Magazine, said any Proud Boy who had joined the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville had been kicked out of the group. However, he did not respond to a request to provide evidence that this purge actually occurred.
“We are not Alt Right,” he wrote. “We want nothing to do with White Nationalists, the Klan, Neo Nazis, or even your run of the mill racist (sic) cause it tends be off put our many non-white members and is boring.”
Despite the Proud Boys’ insistence on their good intentions in these relief efforts, their work drew criticism.
“The best critique they could come up with was ‘they had guns,’ ” Bazile wrote, dismissing the critique as ridiculous. “Yes, could you imagine … guns … in Texas. Crazy stuff right there.”
Bazile said he would put us in touch with someone directly involved in the relief once Reveal did a story about violence committed by the antifa. Since we already had, we sent this article. He never responded.
This rebranding was complicated by reports from a protest in Vancouver, Washington, over the weekend, where supporters of Oregon-based conservative agitator Joey Gibson clashed with antifa counterprotesters. During the event, a car full of Proud Boys allegedly sprayed pepper spray at counterprotesters, who threw rocks at the vehicle as it drove away.
A hate crime widow fights deportation
In the days after Sunayana Dumala’s husband was gunned down in an Kansas restaurant by a man who yelled racial slurs before opening fire, she faced deportation. Dumala, who has lived in the U.S. since 2012, was applying for a green card through her husband’s H-1B visa, but that process was disrupted by his killing.
When U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, heard about Dumala’s situation, he was “apoplectic,” reports The Kansas City Star.
“We are not going to deport the widow of the victim of a hate crime,” he said.
Yoder, who is sponsoring a bill aimed at helping high-skilled immigrants gain permanent resident status, helped Dumala secure a one-year visa to continue living in the U.S., at least temporarily. She joined the congressman in Washington for an event this month pushing for the legislation’s passage.
“I’m very fortunate that many people came to my rescue to get me back on a temporary status … and are continuing to work on a permanent fix,” Dumala wrote in an email to The Star.
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Have a hate incident to report? Tell us about it here, or contact The Hate Report team: Aaron Sankin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Will Carless can be reached at email@example.com. Follow them on Twitter: @asankin and @willcarless.