The CBE speaks out against hatred and violence in our nation

I spent last weekend, like many of you, glued to social media in disbelief of the Nazi inspired and White supremacy infused Alt right demonstrations in Charlottesville. The imagines of hate and anger are seared in my memory. One of my friends who was not raised in the United States asked me about the American Civil War which he correctly assumed was one of the causes of this hate. I told him that I was taught in school that the American Civil War ended slavery and as the result my people became free, became citizens and got the vote (males only). What I wasn’t taught was that the Confederates never accepted defeat in 1865 and were let off the hook by sympathetic white Northerners who realized that they didn’t want millions of former Black slaves within their midst.

The result is that the winner (Union) allowed the losers to romanticize their defeat as the “Lost Cause of the Confederacy” and, erected hundreds of monuments to traitors, re-enslaved Blacks through Jim Crow laws and convinced millions of white Americans that they won the Civil War by losing it. The Confederates were treated as family members who temporarily lost their way and were readmitted back into the Union with a light slap on the hand. The reality is that Jeff Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and company were (and still are) traitors to the United States of America, its constitution, and its government; these men should have gone to trial and faced these charges. They did not and that historic vacuum has been filled with fictitious history, racist fantasies, bold lies, and other assorted nonsense born of ignorance, arrogance, and hatred .

So fast forward 150 years and we have people who are still fighting the Civil War; people willing to terrorize, frighten and in some cases murder racial, sexual, other minorities, and our progressive allies, at times with the consent and participation by those who are suppose to protect us. The messages of hate, bigotry, intolerance and prejudice must be confronted where ever and whenever they show their ugly face. The KKK, Nazis and those who embrace violence and hate should be outlawed in this country. This is not about freedom of speech but rather freedom to hate.

There are many organizations who are standing together to Resist hate and violence by Alt Right groups (groups whose true name is White Supremacy, Nazis, and KKK). One such organization is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery, Alabama. The SPLC is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be fully realized in America. The SPLC (along with the brilliant and courageous Anti-Defamation League) also monitors and complies a list of hate organizations that operate throughout the United States.

The SPLC recently published a guide called Ten Ways to Fight Hate. This is one of the most powerful tools that I have seen in a long time. Please use this as a tool to fight hate in your community:

1. ACT

Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don’t, hate persists.

2. JOIN FORCES

Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups. 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. if you’re a victim, report every incident — in detail — and ask for help. If you learn about a hate crime victim in your community, show support. Let victims know you care. Surround them with comfort and protection.

4. SPEAK UP

Hate must be exposed and denounced. Help news organizations achieve balance and depth.

Do not debate hate group members in conflict-driven forums. Instead, speak up in ways that draw attention away from hate, toward unity.

5. EDUCATE YOURSELF

An informed campaign improves its effectiveness. Determine if a hate group is involved, and research its symbols and agenda. Understand the difference between a hate crime and a bias incident.

6. CREATE AN ALTERNATIVE

Do not attend a hate rally. Find another outlet for anger and frustration and for people’s desire to do something. Hold a unity rally or parade to draw media attention away from hate.

7. PRESSURE LEADERS

Elected officials and other community leaders can be important allies. But some must overcome reluctance — and others, their own biases — before they’re able to take a stand.

8. STAY ENGAGED

Promote acceptance and address bias before another hate crime can occur. Expand your comfort zone by reaching out to people outside your own groups.

9. TEACH ACCEPTANCE

Promote acceptance and address bias before another hate crime can occur. Expand your comfort zone by reaching out to people outside your own groups.

10. DIG DEEPER

Promote acceptance and address bias before another hate crime can occur. Expand your comfort zone by reaching out to people outside your own groups.

Download a copy of Ten Ways To Fight Hate by visiting the SPLC website for more details. Join with the Center for Black Equity and partners to fight hate!

Earl Fowlkes, President/CEO
Center for Black Equity

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