After spike in complaints about hate speech, Asheville mayor issues statement


After hearing complaints of several instances of alleged hate speech in Asheville, Mayor Esther Manheimer issued a public statement on Monday decrying the actions, adding that they “will not be tolerated in Asheville.”

There’s been an rise in cases of harassment and intimidation across the country since Election Day last week, according to organizations that track such incidents. The Southern Poverty Law Center, The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Anti-Defamation League have all tracked increases in complaints about everything from racist graffiti to other acts of hate.

On Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump in an interview with 60 Minutes reporter Leslie Stahl urged anyone committing such acts to “stop it.”

In Asheville, Manheimer said she was “disheartened” to learn of a number of “incidents of hate speech in our community.”

In one case, an African-American woman said she was harassed at a grocery store. In a public Facebook post that went viral over the weekend before she took it down out of fear for her safety, she described what happened. As she was standing in line to check out:

one of the men turns to the other and says “Guess somebody got their food stamps today” the other guy says “yeah and just our luck we get to stand in line and wait for her to get her boy under control and pay for all her groceries” they both laugh and continue to talk “must be nice to lay around in your nighties all day while other folks bust their ass to be able to feed you and all the out of wedlock youngins you have” the young man at the register was mortified he looked at me and his eyes were getting ready to pop out of his head, he said “ma’am do you want me to call security or the manager … Then one of the guys shouted “only help her ass need is a job and a chasity belt, by God I can’t wait til Trump takes over this train so we can make this country great again”

Here’s Manheimer’s full statement:

A number of people have contacted me in the past week to tell me about incidents of hate speech in our community.

I am disheartened to learn that members of our minority and LGBT communities have been the victims of hate speech, harassment and intimidation. These disgraceful actions will not be tolerated in Asheville.

Asheville’s people are accepting, open-minded and respectful. As a community, we have an even greater challenge to come together with kindness and compassion for each other.

I call on every individual to demonstrate that intolerance and hatred will not be accepted. As Mayor of Asheville, I am dedicated to maintaining Asheville as an equitable and inclusive city where we can acknowledge our differences, and allow everyone to feel safe and respected.


Gina November 18, 2016 - 9:55 am

Seems like over the last 20 years there are more and more angry and hostile people. Last summer there was a road rage incident where a woman and her child were terrorized by an angry driver shooting bullets at them on Swannanoa River road. Such a shame all the anger and vitriol.

Jason November 18, 2016 - 9:54 am

The electoral college is hardly arcane. The POTUS is the only position in the country elected by all states. ALL states should have a say in how the country is governed, not just California and New York. If anything, state electoral votes should be cast based on the percentage of popular votes in each state election…no winner take all.

Barry Summers November 18, 2016 - 12:31 pm

The POTUS is the only position in the country elected by all states.

You’ve put your finger on the problem. The President should be elected by people, not states. Five times now in our history, the winner of the popular vote did not win the electoral vote. The most recent two are George W. Bush, and Donald J. Trump.

The system is rigged, alright. It’s rigged to give an electoral advantage to voters in rural, mostly conservative states, than to more urban, mostly liberal states. For the second time this century, the will of the majority of American voters has been ignored in favor of the losing candidate.

Dot Parker November 15, 2016 - 11:06 pm

I think you will find the opposite to occur. A large swath of Americans have been neglected by more than 1 President and Congress and definitely by the Democrat party.

They are now being acknowledged to actually matter (surprise!). So, you’re seeing pent-up steam blowing off. Once our current President leaves, who performed like the agitator that he is, and is partly responsible for the worst race relations in decades, things will get better than before Obama took office. You’ll see.

The media is untruthful and intentionally inflammatory. Don’t believe them.

Tim Peck November 15, 2016 - 1:27 pm

Two months too late

Robert Geiger November 15, 2016 - 10:43 am

You’ll want to clarify your numbers. Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans, whether registered, or of age, voted for him. Murky facts don’t shed a good light on your comments.

Barry Summers November 15, 2016 - 2:33 pm

Fair enough.

“Even though somewhere around a million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, Trump supporters feel empowered now to treat everyone else like second-class citizens. Despite Hillary being a remarkably unpopular candidate herself, the views held by the Clown-elect were rejected by the American people. It’s only through the arcane Electoral College process that he’s been foisted into the White House.”


Mike Hopping November 15, 2016 - 8:51 am

That, Barry, is an excellent question. Videoing such incidents might discourage them for a while. Store managers who care about tolerance will probably also have to get involved. Is it legal for them to post an update of the old “No shoes . . .” policy, banning guns and hate speech on premises?

Barry Summers November 14, 2016 - 7:37 pm

Good on Esther for making this statement. That it had to be made at all should be a source of shame for all of us.

That being said, we should probably prepare for more of the same if not worse. Trump’s rise was fueled by hate, and once you set a match to it… when will it end? Fewer than 1 in 5 Americans voted for him, but these people feel empowered now to treat everyone else like second-class citizens. I fear we’re heading for a downward slide towards genuine fascism. How do those of us in the American majority prevent this from happening?

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