Sunday, September 9, 2007

Ten Ways To Fight Hate....


Milwaukee journal sentinel photo

Every hour
someone commits a hate crime.

Every day
at least eight blacks, three whites, three gays, three Jews and one Latino become hate crime victims.

Every week
a cross is burned.

Hate in America is a dreadful, daily constant. The dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas; the crucifixion of a gay man in Laramie, Wyo.; and post-9.11 hate crimes against hundreds of Arab Americans, Muslim Americans and Sikhs are not "isolated incidents." They are eruptions of a nation's intolerance.

Bias is a human condition, and American history is rife with prejudice against groups and individuals because of their race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other differences. The 20th century saw major progress in outlawing discrimination, and most Americans today support integrated schools and neighborhoods. But stereotypes and unequal treatment persist, an atmosphere often exploited by hate groups.

When bias motivates an unlawful act, it is considered a hate crime. Race and religion inspire most hate crimes, but hate today wears many faces. Bias incidents (eruptions of hate where no crime is committed) also tear communities apart — and threaten to escalate into actual crimes.

According to FBI statistics, the greatest growth in hate crimes in recent years is against Asian Americans and the gay and lesbian community. Once considered a Southern phenomenon, today most hate crimes are reported in the North and West.

And these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Law enforcement officials acknowledge that hate crimes — similar to rape and family violence crimes — go under-reported, with many victims reluctant to go to the police, and some police agencies not fully trained in recognizing or investigating hate crimes.

The good news is ...
All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices.

This guide sets out 10 principles for fighting hate, along with a collection of inspiring stories of people who worked to push hate out of their communities.

Whether you need a crash course to deal with an upcoming white-power rally, a primer on the media or a long-range plan to promote tolerance in your community, you will find practical advice, timely examples and helpful resources in this guide. The steps outlined here have been tested in scores of communities across the nation by a wide range of human rights, faith and civic organizations.

Our experience shows that one person, acting from conscience and love, is able to neutralize bigotry. Imagine, then, what an entire community, working together, might do.

1. Act

2. Unite

3. Support the Victims

4. Do Your Homework

5. Create an Alternative

6. Speak Up

7. Lobby Leaders

8. Look Long Range

9. Teach Tolerance

10. Dig Deeper

You Are Not Alone


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