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.