The American Hate


Imagine a group of people sitting around in a living room talking about the new boy in school. They say that he is stupid and ugly. In reality though, they have never met the boy. They only think these thoughts because he is black. In conversation, someone gets the idea that they should dress up like the Ku Klux Klan and go get this nigger. They cut up sheets and go over to this new boys house. When they get there, they ring the door bell and the boy answers; then they beat him up. After all is said and done, the boy is left on the doorstep bleeding to death.
That kind of violence is happening all over America. Its not just limited to African Americans. Asian Americans, homosexuals, and Jews are just some of the groups that are also being victimized. All of these incidences are classified as hate crimes. These are crimes committed against individuals because of their race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation (Jost 1). Bias-related violence and harassment has been and still continues to be a problem. Education is the solution needed to change the learned behavior.
African Americans have been discriminated against since the 1300s, when they were brought over from Africa to be used as slaves in Europe. They were then brought to the Americas for the same reason in 1619. This was the beginning of many years of oppression. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, African Americans had their first chance to be free. On January first, 1863, president Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This did not free all
the African Americans though, just the slaves in the states fighting against the federal government. In 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was adopted, all the slaves were freed. Three thousand two hundred black men, women, and children were killed by lynchings, burnings, or other violence between 1889-1919 ( Jost 7 ).
At the end of World War II, Americans increased concern over racial discrimination once again. In the south, segregation laws separated the races in public schools and prevented African Americans from entering restaurants, theaters, and other public places reserved only for whites. Then the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, stating that all citizens had equal rights. During this time the civil rights movement flourished. In 1990 the Hate Crimes Statistics Act showed that blacks remained the most frequent target of bias-motivated crimes ( Jost 8 ). This proves that at the present time African Americans are still discriminated against.
Like the African Americans, Asian Americans have been victims of consistent discrimination. In the late nineteenth century, Chinese workers came to America to help build railroads. The Chinese workers were openly resented during this time. When Chinese immigration was cut off in 1882, America concentrated their anti-Asian feeling toward the Filipinos. In the 1920s and 1930s Asians were not allowed to own land, go to public schools, and could not inter-racially marry. During the 1960s discrimination towards Asian Americans fell, but in the 1980s it flared up once again. For example: In June
1982, Vincint Chin, a 27 year old Chinese-American, was fatally beaten with a baseball bat outside a Detroit bar by two white automobile factory workers. They called him a Jap and blamed him for the loss of jobs in the auto industry ( Birnbaum 8 ). This is just one example of how brutal and misdirected hate crimes can be.
The newest group to hit the discrimination spotlight are homosexuals. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force states that attacks on homosexuals have increased by 172 percent over the past five years ( Birnbaum 31 ). This is a new chapter in American history. Hopefully, society can stop the urges of hate crimes against gays before it reaches epidemic proportions. If we address the roots of discrimination and hate crimes, maybe society as a whole can stop the cycle of violence before it gets worse.
Prejudice is a learned thing. A person is not born hating a specific group of people. Researchers say such negative behavior is learned from parents, friends, or society in general ( Buschbaum 8 ). America promotes discrimination indirectly. On television children see white cartoons, white angels and white heroes. These images influence the childs mind to