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President Sanctions Hatred, Professor Alex Geisinger Writes in U.S. News Essay

Professor Alex Geisinger

March 07, 2017

President Trump’s one brief condemnation of hate acts will do little to discourage hostilities toward minority communities, Professor Alex Geisinger wrote in an op-ed appearing in the U.S. News & World Report on March 6.

Citing more than 1,000 acts of hate on racial, ethnic LGBTQ and other communities tallied in the first 34 days after the election, Geisinger noted that bomb threats against Jewish community centers, vandalism and murders of non-whites have more recently occurred.

“What we saw in his address to Congress is a master manipulator who only chose to condemn hate at the exact moment that the country's anger over such actions was boiling over,” Geisinger wrote. “Until he consistently and comprehensively condemns these types of actions, they are likely to continue.”

Geisinger, who has studied the role of social norms in the law, said that social sanctions play a powerful role in influencing behavior and in keeping people from acting in undesirable ways.

“Political leaders espouse views,” he wrote. “When they get elected, it is only natural that people believe those views are shared by the people who voted for the candidate. The Trump election sent strong signals that a large number of people harbor prejudices against women and minority groups. When Trump does little to quell concerns about receiving an endorsement from former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan David Duke; when he brags about sexually assaulting women, and then gets elected; when, after his election, he fails to condemn the Holocaust and makes racist comments about minorities, this sends a signal to society that there are many more individuals who tolerate such hateful behavior.”

While social norms serve as the "cement of society," Geisinger said, "the Trump regime wants nothing more than to bring a jackhammer to them."