With fervored excitement, I tore open the single letter I found waiting for me in my CT mailbox. I was shocked and disappointed when instead of a helpful or useful insight I found a leaflet entitled “Anti-semitism found.” It was a grim reminder of how old feelings of hate continue to penetrate our society.
The bigoted and highly inaccurate eight page essay included accusations against not only Jews, but basically anyone who was not a straight Protestant white American male of Anglo-Saxon descent.
Being that I am not Protestant, not male and not of Anglo-Saxon descent I personally found the piece offensive. However, my strongest feelings were that of deep sadness that this type of ignorance still is openly propagated and tolerated. I thought the American society today was supposed to be one of tolerance and enlightenment.
Just this week, the Anti-Defamation League reported the use of video games uploaded to Yahoo.com sites to propagate white power. The games consisted of popular video game heroes fighting against villains portrayed as racial, religious, ethnic and sexual minorities.
These same people have been attacked in recent events here on campus. Defamation of signs and verbal attacks are the warning signs of people who hide a deep hatred inside of them.
Regardless of how the hatred is spread, the message it sends was started by a single person.
There are a multitude of people on this campus who are not only tolerant of differences, but embrace them with open arms. They are a part of the multitude of cultural programs on campus that do an excellent job of organizing events to educate others. They are also the people who conscienciously attend these events.
But hate is still here in individuals’ minds and hearts.
Whether it is a family member, a Web site, a mass-mailed letter or someone who you know only in name, it is your responsibility to work towards stopping the hate. Each of us is touched by the ignorance that breeds hatred by people we do not know or who we are afraid to speak up to.
Organizations can only do so much to educate and try to prevent it from spreading. Presentations on diversity are not effective if the people who see them are already on the bandwagon. They are only effective when individuals work to reach those who are ignorant and hateful.
When you hear someone make a derogatory comment, tell them you don’t appreciate it or invite them to come to a cultural event with you. Who knows, maybe you will prevent them from spreading their hate to someone else.
Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org