Kevyn Perkins stopped cold when he saw the letters scrawled on the door to his dorm: “N—– go back” it said, inked in messy red marker. First he was blinded by confusion. Then rage. And then all he could think about was dropping out, finding a new school, escaping for good.
“I thought maybe I don’t belong here. So I called my brother and I said, ‘pick me up,'” said Perkins, 19, a freshman at the University of St. Thomas, a private and mostly white school in St. Paul, Minnesota. “He said that’s what they want you to do — you have to stay there and stay strong.”
Often overlooked amid the recent intense spasms of hatred — 11 dead in Pittsburgh synagogue, two African-Americans gunned down in a Kentucky grocery store, 13 mail bombs sent to prominent Democrats — are nearly daily flashes of hate that are no less capable of leaving their victims with deep and permanent emotional wounds.
In October alone, there were dozens of examples of the kind of hatred that smolders without ever reaching national attention. It stretched from coast to coast, targeting victims because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender and myriad other differences.