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Hateful Words Often Lead to Hateful Action

by Todd A. Smith

 

White Supremacist Propaganda on Rise

 

People need to stop saying that overt racism and segregation ended in the 1950s and 1960s because White supremacy continues to rise in 21st century America.

 

People need to stop pretending that we live in post-racial America and that bigotry and oppression was something prevalent only in our parents or grandparents’ era.

 

If people finally open their eyes to the oppression around this country and their own racism and bigotry, then maybe America can truly become the land of the free, with liberty and justice for all.

 

Aaron Morrison of the Associated Press reported, “White supremacist propaganda reached alarming levels across the U.S. in 2020, according to a new report that the Anti-Defamation League provided to the Associated Press.

 

“There were 5,125 cases of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and other hateful messages spread through physical flyers, stickers, banners and posters, according to Wednesday’s report. That’s nearly double the 2,724 instances reported in 2019. Online propaganda is much harder to quantify, and it’s likely those cases reached into the millions, the anti-hate organization said.”

 

While many people might say sticks and stones or words do not hurt, hostile words often cause an action.

 

Hate is taught.

 

And unfortunately, that hate often causes people to act out in discriminatory ways against the people that they hate.

 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit America hard last year, former President Donald Trump labeled the virus the Chinese virus and kung-flu.

 

Many people then began to act out violently against Asian Americans and why not?

 

If it is O.K. for the president to speak out in a hateful tone about a country and the people that come from that country, it must be O.K. for regular Americans to act out in a similar way.

 

Even star athletes like Jeremy Lin of the National Basketball Association’s G League began getting heckled on the court because of his Chinese heritage and the fact that the coronavirus began in his ancestral country.

 

NBC reported, “An analysis of police department statistics has revealed that the United States experienced a significant hike in anti-Asian hate crimes last year across major cities.

 

“The analysis released by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, this month estimated hate crimes in 16 of America’s largest cities. It revealed that while such crimes in 2020 decreased overall by 7 percent, those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent.”

 

On Wednesday, a domestic terrorist allegedly killed eight people (and six Asian women) at massage parlors in the Atlanta area, claiming a sex addiction as the motive, not race.

 

However, that excuse received immediate criticism from people that saw the attack as racist and sexist, especially since the alleged shooter had the opportunity to attack Black and White-owned sex oriented businesses in the area but chose only the Asian establishments, according to Bee Nguyen, a Democrat from the Georgia State House.

 

If the alleged killer shot and killed people in the Atlanta area because he saw them as temptations, why did he only target Asian people and not people of other races who work in similar professions?

 

Robert Aaron Ling, 21, is accused of committing the worst mass killing in United States history in approximately two years.

 

The mass killing and the recent attacks on the Asian community have people, understandably, on guard.

 

And the uptick in violence began to occur after people began to spread lies and hatred about the Asian community.

 

“That could’ve been my mom,” said Thu Nguyen, 25, director of OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates.

 

The Houstonian added, “Our community, my family, they’re incredibly shaken up. They’ve been living in fear the past year or so—heightened fear because of everything that’s going on—but this is truly something so deadly that it’s really shaken our community.”

 

Words often lead to violence, regardless of the context.

 

During the Black Power era of the late 1960s, the FBI under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover consistently used hateful literature like deceptive flyers to sow discord amongst groups like the Black Panther Party.

 

Those simple words on a flyer often had “brothers” fighting “brothers” and “sisters” fighting “sisters.”

 

The FBI’s campaign, known as COINTELPRO, successfully neutralized many groups that sought to liberate Black Americans, often leading to violent exchanges amongst Black nationalists and violent exchanges between those groups and law enforcement.

 

Through words, law enforcement agencies falsely painted groups like the Black Panther Party as anti-White hate groups, which led many people to have misconceptions about the group for decades.

 

But even if words do not lead to violence, it can lead to the degradation of an entire people.

 

When slave traders advertised slaves for sale as if they were merely animals, it planted a seed in the minds of many Black Americans that they were less than human.

 

When business owners put up signs saying White only, it made many Black Americans feel that they were something less than equal.

 

When bus companies reserved a small section on city buses for colored patrons, or made them stand for the entire bus trip, it often made Black Americans feel oppressed.

 

So, words are not just harmless weapons in the battle for the soul of America.

 

Harsh words about an entire group of people can ultimately crush the soul of a person that lives under the oppression of the majority.

 

In a statement, the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta said, “While the details of the shootings are still emerging, the broader context cannot be ignored. The shootings happened under the trauma of increasing violence against Asian Americans nationwide, fueled by White supremacy and systemic racism.”

 

And trauma and violence can often begin with simple, but hateful, rhetoric.

This article was published on Friday 19 March, 2021.
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