The cost of hate

Trump presidency has emboldened white nationalist forces. Kuchibhotla’s killing is a grim portent

By: Editorial | Updated: February 27, 2017 2:15 pm

There can be no rational explanation of why Adam Purinton walked into a Kansas bar and shot dead Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a man he had never until that moment laid eyes upon or had any particular reason to hate: Racism is, at its core, a form of insanity. For that very reason, President Donald Trump and his political allies, who fanned the red-hot coals of white nationalist tendencies in the United States through the course of their election campaign, must answer questions raised by this murder. “Get out of my country,” Purinton shouted at Kuchibhotla and his friend, Alok Madasani, who was injured in the shooting, mistaking them for West Asian Muslims; that is precisely the message President Trump has been broadcasting for many months. In the first 10 days after Trump’s election alone, the Southern Poverty Law Centre documented more than 1,000 reports of hate incidents — almost a fifth of the entire number reported in 2016. The number of groups targeting immigrants, Muslims, Jews, blacks and other minorities has grown dramatically, with white nationalists taking inspiration from the president’s appointment of far-right ideologue Stephen Bannon as White House chief strategist.

President Trump’s silence in the face of the hate he has unleashed is the real cause for concern. After all, Sikhs were attacked after 9/11, and blacks subjected to violence by police and white extremist groups through the tenure of President Barack Obama. Not since the end of the Second World War, though, has a president equivocated so deeply in the face of demonstrable racism. President Trump’s Holocaust Day statement conspicuously omitted mention of Jews; his hyperactive Twitter feed was studiously silent on the bombing of a mosque in Quebec; he said nothing on threats to Jewish centres until his daughter, Ivanka Trump, herself Jewish, went public on the issue. For Hindu nationalist groups in the United States, who have cheered on Trump’s anti-Muslim politics, Kuchibhotla’s killing should be a moment of awakening: Racism is a beast with a voracious appetite.

There’s little doubt that a genuine, deep civic decency still binds together America: The story of Ian Grillot, who was injured in a selfless effort to try to save Kuchibhotla, is an anti-thesis to the gunman’s psychopathic racism. The thousands of small donations that have flowed into a crowd-funded effort to pay for Grillot’s treatment and rehabilitation show just how much support the values he has come to represent have. It will take more than individual acts of courage, though, to beat back the white nationalist forces President Trump’s government has unleashed. Long years of struggle lie ahead, for the damage Trump has inflicted on the United States’ most cherished values will, almost certainly, outlast his years in office.

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  1. S
    Feb 27, 2017 at 12:09 am
    1. C
      Mar 14, 2017 at 1:41 am
      These crimes are not necessarily against Indians or people of Indian descent. These crimes are against the people with brown skin, who are certainly from the Asian subcontinent. Hate crimes in the US have risen to an all time high and these are primarily against conservatives (regardless of their skin color) and the police force. By comparison, hate crimes in India against Indians, overshadows hate crimes on Indians in foreign countries by a long shot. Hate that is meted out in the name of caste, culture, gender and religion is phenomenal in India and much of the exodus of Indians to foreign countries historically, is a direct result of this malady.
      1. S
        Feb 27, 2017 at 3:36 am
        The hate politics spread by ruling elites world over is claiming innocent lives. The renowned Hollywood actor, Richard Gere lamented the fact that human society is in the vicious grip of hatred that is dominating the social and political discourse. The killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla and maiming of his friend Alok Madasani are not going to be the last cases of spilling of innocents blood. Trump was hailed by Racists not only in US but also Hindutva cadres/organizations in India and abroad. The latter organized yagnas for his success and his birthday was celebrated by the same set of people. He was hailed as 'Modi of US' who like Modi's slogan 'India First' had given the slogan 'US First'. It is very sad that characters who looked and behaved like bullies and gangsters and should have been put under protective custody are ruling many countries. Unless we rise above this politics of hatred the life on our little planet, the world is going to be horrible and short lived. lt;br/gt;The saving grace is that a White brave American, Ian Grillot tried to save the victim and got seriously injured. Moreover, the killer was apprehended soon unlike India where perpetrators of violence against minorities, Dalits and women are rarely identified and punished.