“The timing is not good. We are black. We are Muslim. We are Somali. We are all the negative stigmas.” – Omar Hassan, speaking in reference to the country’s increasingly intensified anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim fears
I believe, with all my heart, that the vast majority of Americans are not hateful, racist, bigots. I do honestly believe this. But we have a problem, a problem compounded by the election of a man who had the support of the KKK and other hate groups that dot our landscape. His election gave these group a voice, a voice that was once faint but one that always bubbled under the surface. That voice is no longer faint. It is loud and becoming louder and I am afraid.
“Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.” – Alex Haley
We like to think that we have made great advances in race, immigrant, sexual preference, and religious differences relations. But in reality we haven’t. All the laws, statutes, and regulations may offer some measure of order or protection but they don’t change hearts that hate.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
I am afraid. I am afraid that more people will jump on the hate bandwagon. That our natural human reaction, our inability to defy our peers, our neighbors, the “mob mentality” that becomes so prevalent in situations like this will grow from small isolated but vocal groups and spread like a wildfire across our country.
“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” – Confucius
And now hate has a platform, a medium that allows it to jump from state to state, city to city, home to home, the internet. One hateful individual sitting at their kitchen table in some isolated and remote location in North Dakota can reach millions upon millions via Facebook, Twitter or some other sort of social media. With a simple hashtag one individual’s hate can infect countless lives. Small seeds of rancor scattered across the landscape have the potential of growing a forest of hate that could take generations upon generations to clear a path through.
“I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” – Booker T. Washington
I am afraid. I am afraid that those of us who want to clear a path through hate will be overwhelmed by the job at hand. Overwhelmed by the support hate has in our communities, our country. Overwhelmed by our leadership who will turn a blind eye towards the existence of hate and the groups and people who encourage it. I am confident that we are the majority, but will we speak up? Will we risk the scorn of neighbors?
“Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.” – Rosa Parks
Hate requires no courage. Speaking out against hate requires not only courage but strength in our personal convictions. Are we prepared to speak out against hate? Are you?