In March 2017, HuffPost partnered with the nonprofit news organization ProPublica to help create a database of hate incidents. There was understandable concern at the time, just months after the 2016 presidential election, that the ascent of President Donald Trump had given bigots in this country a new license to hate.
Since that time — as the country has reeled from a white supremacist terror attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, and from massacres at synagogues and mosques here and elsewhere — the Documenting Hate project, which includes 170 other news outlets, has amassed a frightening database of thousands of hate incidents.
Combing through the database, we noticed a pattern. So many acts of hate in America are accompanied by variations on a particular phrase: “Go back to your own country.”
It’s what a white man allegedly shouted when he shot a Sikh man in Washington state, and what another white man shouted when he killed an Indian man in Kansas. Viral videos have captured white people shouting the phrase at black and brown Americans out of car windows, on the street and in stores.