Acting United States Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez recently said, “No one should live in fear of violence because of who they are, what they look like, or what part of the world they or their families came from.” His statement is a reflection of the rise in hate crimes and bias incidents occurring in our country today. The recent massacre in the three spas in the Atlanta area left eight dead, six of the victims were women of Asian descent. This crime and other acts of hate and bias against individuals or groups cannot be tolerated and have no place in our communities. The rash of attacks targeting the Asian community has been a revelation to some but a reminder to others that this hateful behavior has been occurring in African American communities for generations.
For an act to be considered a hate crime there must be both hate and a crime. I know we have always had hate in the world but it seems that it is more directed at a victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. According to statistics, the three main motivating factors behind hate crimes are race, religion, and sexual orientation. Most hate crimes are targeted against Jewish, African American, Muslim, and people from LGBT communities, but now we are seeing a rise against Asian Americans. All crimes are hideous and offensive to God, but hate crimes are so insidious because they have a larger effect than most other kinds of crime. Hate crime victims include not only the crime’s immediate target but also others like them. Hate crimes affect families, communities, and at times, even the entire nation. I do not believe we are born with a hate gene. Hate is a learned behavior and when there is tolerance it grows.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars”. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” A basic tenet of Christianity says we should hate the sin not the sinner. As someone who believes in the power of forgiveness, I believe we must hate the hate but love the hater. An eye for an eye leaves us both blind. When it comes to hate and hate crimes, we can no longer be silent and take a seat, we must be vocal and take a stand. We can combat hate by acts of goodness and kindness. Too many hate crimes are not reported, if you are a victim report the incident. Light is the best disinfectant, whenever you witness hate you must expose it and denounce it. When it comes to hate, America does not need a new start, America needs a new heart. The first step in changing hearts is to change behavior. New behavior can be difficult when we are trying to understand people who are different from what we are familiar. Differences can be strengths and should be celebrated not feared.
We as humans have far more similarities than differences. I want to thank my cousin William Palmer for making me go a little deeper in thinking about and investigating the root of why some people think and feel the way they do base on the color of one’s skin or ethnicity. We all have the same red color blood running through our veins. If hate is a learned behavior, then we can also teach love. Let us all do our part to help turn the tide. #stophate
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!