I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to a lot of things, especially what I write about. If I set out to do a story, article or blog, as I have been doing for Indivisible Berks, I usually stick to it no matter how difficult the research may be. Yes, occasionally my research goes nowhere and rather than write a personal opinion piece, I scrap the idea. Then there is this blog, which was going to be about the increase in hate since 2016.
Condensed, the blog would have included the fact that the Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, has several articles about the increase in hate in recent years. If you want to know more click here. You might also find the SPLC’s hate map very informative. For that click here.
I learned there were once, and may still be, organizations involved with programs like “No Place for Hate,” or “Unity Walks.” I tried to contact representatives from some of the organizations that had been involved in these, and had no luck hearing back from anyone. You might think they’ve all disbanded because their work was done. But is it? I mean, look at the hate map again. In fact, zero in on Pennsylvania, which was in sixth place when this map was last updated. I mean Texas is first, which is understandable when you consider . . . how big the state is. I bet you thought I was going to say something inappropriate like Texas has more rednecks. Come on now, isn’t that Pennsylvania?Georgia is higher up than PA. What do you make of that? White supremacists love peaches. Or, could it be that there are supposed to be people there who are still fighting the Civil War. Come on folks, pick up a history book and learn that the Civil War is over! California has more, though I can’t think of anything that might signify why hate groups thrive there. Is it the weather? New York has more, but I think many of those groups think they are in PA. Those northern regions all look pretty much alike. And the KKK or Arian Nation does have a problem distinguishing one from another. Then there is Florida. Who’d of thought. Watch out for those white headed senior citizens. Maybe they get the ones from PA and NY because they can’t stand the cold anymore. By the way, I can say that since I’m both white headed and a senior citizen.
I believe I may have gotten a little off track. Probably because I’m telling you what I am not going to write about. Let’s see. I was talking about my inability to get anyone from the “No Place for Hate,” or the “Unity Walk,” to talk to me. The numbers I found were old. And even their web sites are down, so no sense me giving you their links. I only wish we could say they aren’t needed anymore. But they are. You can forge your own path starting with the PA Hate Map.
If I were to write the blog about hate increasing, I would tell you that my research also led me to some of the web sites of various hate groups. And the articles that talk about how they recruit members.
Would you want spend a fun day at a family friendly picnic and some kind of fun looking festival? If you search you will find one near you. (Shrug) Well, maybe near you. When you go there you find some really nice people who seem to share your values. They talk a lot about values and about family. Seems like that is a high priority to them. Same as you. You learn they have meetings and other events you might be interested in. If you are a person who feels the longing to belong, and enjoy the company of like-minded people, you might just join their group.
Have we talked about the Frog in the Frying Pan? That is one of the ways they get members. You are the frog. They are the heat. One minute you’re just lying back in lukewarm water relaxing; then the next you’re on the menu. Frog legs anyone?
These groups obviously know how to recruit. They are thriving. So what do we do? It looks almost hopeless.
Well, after I stopped crying because this blog had hit a dead end, I looked at some other things that might still be ways to keep the love alive. Yes, love alive. It sounds much better than “Kill the Hate!”
Unless they are gone, which seems to happen a lot lately, the US Department of Justice has been providing training for people about hate crime prevention. You can find out more - unless you have my luck - by clicking here. You can also look into an organization called “Not in Our Town,” for information on how others communities have gotten hate groups to leave. Click Here.
If you like social media - or even if you don’t - you might want to take a look at this Facebook Page. More in Common The page is the result of the TV stories with the same name. It shows that we can learn to work together toward harmony. That harmony can be learning to live with the people who are members of hate groups.
However, if members of those groups burn one cross, or put a swastika on a place of worship, or ever try to preach hate to your children. . . Well, running them out of town will be what you and your community will have in common. Just remember, it can be done peacefully. I especially suggest this because some members of hate groups carry much bigger weapons.
I wish I could have written that blog. I think it would have been great. However, most of all, I hope you took some of my comments with a little tongue in cheek. I meant no offense to anyone.
posted by Pam Garlick