The Trump effect: The cause and cure for hate crimes?
In this editorial series, we look at the many faces of injustice and dissent, sometimes not so cut and dry in our modern world. What can we do to turn the tide?
Part I: The Trump effect: The cause and cure for hate crimes?
The Southern Poverty Law Center, among other organizations, is calling it "Trump Effect." They are saying that because we are elected a man that constantly spouts negativity, ridicule and nastiness at anyone who opposes him or his clan, he is making it okay to say and do hateful things against others, Have contributed to the rise in hate crimes. I say it's been a long time coming.
I do not disagree that a true leader of the people is in the discipline to show restraint of tongue (and tweet) and that his / her actions and words tell a lot about his / her tolerance and compassion. That is definitely true. However, I do not believe that President Trump has that much power to influence people. Not that many people like and respect him; His internal strife may be the reason. It's more a case of the people being angry well before the 2016 election.
We will never "fight" hate by being "anti" anyone or anything
Hate speech is protected under the Constitution as free speech. In fact, just last week, the Supreme Court upheld that stance. That's as it should be. But, when one of the hate and frustration grows enough to take physical action against another, it becomes a crime under the law. Hate and violence and war work in the same way as the individual as a nation. When a crime against another occurs, the peace has been violated once again, rather than repaired.
According to the Economist, a hate crime is defined by a 1990 law which classifies "crimes against individuals or property that are motivated by race, religion, ethnicity or sexuality." In 2009, the law was updated to include crimes based on a person's "gender, gender identity or disability." According to the FBI, in 2015, 5,850 hate crimes were reported and recorded.
It seems to me that the definition of hate crimes under the law is itself part of the problem. It presupposes and divides by its very definition. Anyone can act out against anyone else. Often, it has nothing to do with race, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc. Take, for example, the recent stories of people throwing acid on the faces of innocent victims.
People that spout hate, whether presidential or not, are in need of healing. It does not make what they do right. Yet, if one judges another as an enemy, as a hater or a war monger, calling another names in the process, the intent comes from the same root. An attack can lead to an attack. Then we're off to the races and no one wins. Quite often, indoctrination is also involved.
So what's a person - and a nation - to do about hate crimes?
Hate crimes are indeed hideous. The inclination to stand up against injustice, though, has been coming for quite some time now. The source of the malignancy goes much deeper than hate crimes. It's about hate itself. It's about perpetual war. Extreme violence in TV, movies and video games. Pitting people against each other. Increased surveillance and control over our daily lives. These oppressions have been on the way for so long without pushback. There's a breaking point, a turning point if we make it so.
Propaganda and censorship
It's all too easy to publicize events that support one's point of view. It happens in newsrooms all the time, both small and large. An example: CNN's President Jeff Zucker has traded journalistic integrity for his fake news stories. So too, Facebook - one of the largest corporations and news providers in the world - is deleting about 66,000 "hate speech posts" every single week based on its own definition and criteria? And, Twitter is banning pro-life advertisements, since the company considers such content hate speech?
It's also no secret that most mainstream US media has a bias to the left, against President Trump. Yet, even more to the point, almost all US mainstream media have a bias in reporting negative stories. When was the last time you saw the coverage of people all races, religions, and genders coming together to assist each other? It happens all the time. The Parliament of World Religions is an example. If the mainstream media does not report positive stories of unity, then social journalists like Storia, and others. I'm not saying that hate crimes should not be reported in the media,
Let us stand up to hate, but do a different way.
As A Course in Miracles states, "All attack is self attack." The only clear, constructive way to reverse the tide of violence is to act in a different manner than one's attacker. Patrice O'Neill and her organization Not in our town and the 300 Baylor University students who showed up to walk Natasha Nkhama to class after she was Threatened with a racial slur (#IwalkWithNatasha).
I'm sure you know more about the unity and the joy that comes from joining together to support your fellow man or woman. Millions of people standing together - on and offline - is the cure for hate, violence and war. We literally have to "undo war" among ourselves before we see that reality brought about in the world. It's about making a statement, what we are about. As the maxim goes, "We are the people we've been waiting for."
(Photos: Wikimedia Commons)