Many Americans are justifiably horrified by the tragic event that took place at the AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The media and the pundits as well as politicians are not asking the right questions. Some are calling what happened a problem of evil, some are calling what happened a problem of gun violence or of terrorism. They are all missing the point, our problem is a problem of hate in America. The question that we need to ask ourselves is why do we hate and how do we deal with it to make our society a more civil society?
Man’s inhumanity to man has existed forever. Slavery is an excellent example of our inhumanity to our fellow man or woman. We treat our animals better than how many slaves were treated. The world has seen far too many wars, during which barbaric acts of unspeakable atrocities took place. Genocide has a sordid history of ethnic cleansing to the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the most horrific of them all the mass murder of Jews, Gypsies and others during World War II.
The enslavement of Africans and the treatment of Native Americans as well the internment of Japanese Americans are a part of our history in the United States. Lynchings were a method used to maintain white power in the southern states of America for years.
How do we end this seemingly endless cycle of hate is the key to ending the continuing saga of man’s inhumanity to man in the United States? Parents teach their children from one generation to another to hate people who are different. Being different could be the color of ones skin, their race, their country of origin, their sexual orientation, or if they are disabled, or their sex.
The magic questions on how to deal with the basic issue at hand, hate, includes the following questions: What do we do with recognized hate groups such as the KKK? What do we do with parents who teach hate to their children and what do we do with children at schools who are recognized by their teachers and others as exhibiting signs of hate and hateful actions?
We do have a Constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of association. But does freedom stop at the door when someone advocates the use of violence against a race of people, or a religion or persons of a certain national origin, or sexual orientation?
What I believe is necessary in these troubled times is to finally decide to take affirmative action against hate groups. If you are a member of a recognized hate group should society allow you to be armed and dangerous? The FBI does monitor hate groups. If you advocate on a groups website getting rid of people of color, or describe in detail how to build a bomb, shouldn’t we shut them down, shut their web sites down and take their guns away?
I do not pretend to know all of the answers. What I would say is that we need to have this discussion, a discussion on how to deal with the problem of hate in America. How many more churches or schools with a killing field need to take place before we say enough is enough?