Ten Ways to Stop Hate
1. ACT...Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance -- by the haters, the public and, worse, the victim. Decency must be exercised, too. If it isn't, ate invariably persists.
2. UNITE...Call a friend or co-worker. Organize a group of allies from churches, schools, clubs and other civic sources. Create a diverse coalition. Include children, police and the media. Gather ideas from everyone and get everyone involved.
3. SUPPORT THE VICTIMS...Hate-crime victims are especially vulnerable, fearful and alone. Let them know you care. Support them with people they feel comfortable with. If you are a victim, report every incident and ask for help.
4. DO YOUR HOMEWORK...Determine if a hate group is involved, and research its symbols and agenda. Seek advice from anti-hate organizations. Accurate information can then be spread to the community.
5. CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE...Do NOT attend a hate rally. Find another outlet for anger and frustration and people's desire to do something. Hold a unity rally or parade. Find a new hook, like a "hate-free zone."
6. SPEAK UP...You, too, have First Amendment rights. Hate must be exposed and denounced. Buy an ad. Help news organizations achieve balance and depth. Do not debate hate mongers in conflict-driven talkshows.
7. LOBBY LEADERS...Pursue politicians, business and community leaders to take a stand against hate. Early action creates a positive reputation for the community, while unanswered hate will eventually be bad for business.
8. LOOK LONG RANGE...Create a "bias response" team. Hold annual events, such as a parade or culture fair, to celebrate your community's diversity and harmony. Build something the community needs. Build a web site.
9. TEACH TOLERANCE...Bias is learned early, usually at home. But children from different cultures can be influenced by school programs and curricula. Sponsor an "I have a dream" contest. Target youth who may be tempted by skinheads or other hate groups.
10. DIG DEEPER...Look into issues that divide: economic inequality, immigration, homosexuality. Work against discrimination in housing, employment, education. Look inside yourself for prejudices and stereotypes.
The Important Step Is to BEGIN...
TOLERANCE, fundamentally, is a personal decision. It comes from an attitude that is learnable and embraceable, a belief that every other person on earth is a treasure. We each have the power to change our attitude to overcome our ignorance and fears, and to influence our children, our peers and our community. It begins with "me."
We all grow up with prejudices. It takes effort to see them as clearly as others do. Human rights experts recommend starting with our speech and thought patterns. Am I quick to label "rednecks" or "liberals"? Do I tell gay jokes? Am I careless with gender descriptions?
Here are some more questions you might ask yourself:
How wide is my circle of friends/ How diverse is my holiday card list? How integrated is my neighborhood? Why is that? Do I belong to private clubs that exclude? Do I take economic segregation and environmental racism for granted? How often am I in the minority? Do I have the courage to tell a friend not to tell a sexist joke in my presence? How can I go out of my way to know people who appear different?
There are many good books, films and workshops to guide you in self-examination. Reading histories of the civil rights movement and other cultures is a good start.
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