Editorial: Replacing hate with tolerance
When hate is written in capital letters and bold font, we recognize it for what it is.
It looks like blood on the walls of a synagogue or a black boy beaten to unrecognizability before being dumped in a river.
It sounds like ugly words that leave you shocked and embarassed if you hear them, or raw and burning if you are their target.
It’s when hate wears a mask that it is harder to identify. When it is subtle, it is confusing. Did you hear what you thought you heard? No, you must be mistaken. No one would mean that. No one would say that. You had to be wrong.
And yet, you probably aren’t. According to the FBI, hate crimes across America continue to increase. In 2017, they were up 17 percent over the year before. The percentage doesn’t sound good. The actual number sounds worse.
In 2017 — the year of incidents in Charlottesville, Va., and Gainesville, Fla., and the year that white nationalist Richard Spencer’s event organizer sued schools like Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State over planned speeches despite the universities’ stated safety concerns — there were 7,175 reported hate crimes. That was 1,054 more than 2016, or almost three more hate crimes every day.
The community group has been troubled by vandalism and other incidents over the last year, including hate speech directed at a Jewish business owner in the aftermath of a gunman murdering 11 congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
On Jan. 28, they will partner with the FBI to have a safety meeting to talk about hate crimes and hate groups and how what is happening in the area compares to what is happening elsewhere.
Unfortunately, we know what is happening elsewhere.
We know that people hate each other because of skin color and nationality. They hate each other because of the God they worship or the one they don’t. They hate each other because of who they love or simply who they are.
What we need to know is how we can live together, side by side, without all that hatred bubbling over. We need to know how to find tolerance and how to spread it around.