Hate Is Back
On June 10, 2009, Stephen Tyrone Johns, an armed security guard at the National Holocaust Museum, was shot and killed by James von Brunn, an 88-year-old white supremacist. von Brunn was angry at the direction America was going, and he believed that the Jews and Blacks were to blame. In response to this, a guest on Fox News made the comment that, "Hate is back in America." Unfortunately, hate has never left. It has been present in America since almost the beginning, and if we don't make a conscious effort to stop it, it will remain indefinitely.
Hate is defined as an "intense dislike; extreme aversion or hostility." It seems to stem from an intense fear of something that is different- whether the difference manifests itself in a person's skin color, religion, or sexual preference. Fear can then transform into anger, and if that anger is intense enough, it may lead to hatred. When these feelings are cultivated over a long period of time, violence can occur.
The most classic example of hatred in America was the Atlantic Slave Trade, which lasted from the 16th century to the 19th century. What started out as a means for cheap labor, turned into something much worse. African slaves were considered less than human, and treated as such. Without giving a full on history lesson, the conclusion is drawn that this was a horrible life for these people, who were not even recognized as 3/5 of a human being until 1787. Although slavery was abolished in1865, that didn't end the hate and injustice between blacks and whites. Little more than a decade later, the Jim Crow laws were enacted from 1876-1965.
During this era, blacks were subjected to segregation. They had separate bathrooms, schools, and restaurants. They were not allowed to vote, thereby not being able to hold public office. They could not even play certain sports. There were unspeakable acts of violence- lynchings, house bombings, assassinations. Sometimes even looking at a white person resulted in death.
Unfortunately, this hostility between blacks and whites was not the only dark spot in America's history of hatred. From the late 1800's through the early 1900's, many immigrants coming to America for a better life had to endure harsh discrimination, racism, and even violence. At this time, Italians were subjected to lynchings more than any other nationality- only behind that of African Americans. Today, while the hatred and discrimination towards immigrants has lessened, it's still present. Since 9/11 many Arabs have had to endure the same types of discrimination as those passing through Ellis Island in the 20th Century.
Outside of the hatred and discrimination brought on by one's race or place of birth, Americans more recently have had to deal with hatred over one's sexual orientation. In 1998, homosexual Matthew Shepard was lured from a bar, beaten, and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming.
People today are hated because of their profession. Dr. George Tiller was assassinated on May 31, 2009, because he performed late-term abortions.
Flashback to the Columbine killings in 1999 where two students went on a rampage and killed 12 of their classmates and 1 teacher. Hate is everywhere.
In today's world, hate has become more sophisticated- if hate can ever truly be considered such. We now have the internet which allows millions of people to be connected through social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. They are able to share their feelings, thoughts, beliefs, passions, and goals- whether negative or positive thanks to our First Amendment rights.
With all that being said, it is truly up to us to no longer be complacent and tolerate this type of ideology. The things I mentioned are all well known incidents- just think of what goes on everyday that is not reported in the national news. Even the election of President Barack Obama brought a lot of negative feelings to the surface. We have to be the generation that sucks the venom out of people's subconscious. Otherwise, our children will grow up the same as we have- unable to accept people for who or what they are, and ultimately fearing things that are different.