Tia Ballinger was standing in a grocery-store checkout line on Wednesday when an elderly white man cut in front of her. The man’s wife told him what he had done. “I know, but I don’t care,” he said. “She’s black, she doesn’t matter.”
In that moment, Ms. Ballinger joined an untold number of Americans who have faced racist abuse since Donald Trump was elected president, often in ways that were clearly provoked by the triumph of a man who has denigrated African-Americans, Mexicans and Muslims, and who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.
Beginning on Tuesday night, social media has been flooded with hundreds of these accounts. Latino high-school students given mock deportation papers in California. A hijab pulled off a girl in Texas. A swastika painted on a wall in New York State, along with the words “Make America white again.”
The incidents have often been accompanied by Trump slogans, such as “Build that wall,” and seem to mark an escalation of the racial animus the president-elect has stirred up since his campaign began more than a year ago. It’s a climate that has left non-white Americans such as Ms. Ballinger feeling frightened about the next four years and angrier than ever at a politician whom most minority voters rejected at the ballot box.
The 26-year-old, who lives in a suburb of Baltimore, felt that her aggressor was clearly emboldened by Mr. Trump’s victory. It is the first time she has faced such overt racism. When the confrontation was over, Ms. Ballinger went to her car, called her mother and wept.
“I’m so shaken up by it. I’m very disgusted and sickened. I don’t want to say I’m afraid, but I’m uncomfortable going to public places without my boyfriend. Because this isn’t the last time something like this is going to happen,” she said. “The Trump supporters, they feel like they have the upper hand.”
A sense of threat inspired by Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is nothing new for many of the Americans targeted by the Republican. A report by Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding found that Islamophobic violence surged in the United States after Mr. Trump suggested shutting down U.S. mosques last November, and again when he called for a ban on Muslims entering the country in December.
Violence toward Muslim women appears to have surged since the New York businessman’s election on Wednesday. Shaun King, a reporter for the New York Daily News who has been documenting dozens of reported hate crimes on his Twitter account in the past two days, said that he has heard of more than 50 instances of girls or women having their hijabs pulled off in that time.
Some American Muslims have begun fearing for their lives as tensions rise. Sarah Harvard, a New York-based staff writer for the website Mic.com, said that a friend’s Muslim sister had a knife pulled on her by a Trump supporter while riding the bus on an Illinois college campus.
A Muslim herself, she has received death threats online and accusations from Trump backers that she’s a Democratic operative trying to discredit the president-elect. “There’s a huge sense of uncertainty over whether or not we’ll have a home any more,” she said in an interview. “I wish I could be optimistic but I feel like it’s only going to get worse.”
Latino Americans have borne their share of Trump-inspired racism throughout the campaign; the New York businessman launched his presidential bid last June with a warning about Mexican “rapists.” But since his election, news reports suggest dozens of Latinos have been told by Trump supporters to go back to their country or been taunted with references to the wall Mr. Trump has vowed to build along the Mexican border.Report Typo/Error