Hate incidents are not accepted in the classroom or in the workplace. So why is it being accepted by our community members and leaders? If the safety of our children is a priority, why support organized hate activities with social media posts and printed flyers? Is this the type of behavior you want to model for the children in our community?
Per the State of California Attorney General website, “A hate incident is an action or behavior motivated by hate but legally protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. Examples of hate incidents include name-calling, insults, distributing hate material in public places, and displaying hate material on your own property” based or perceived on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, or mental disability.
Furthermore the California Attorney General website states, “The U.S. Constitution allows hate speech as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If a hate incident starts to threaten a person or property, it may become a hate crime. A hate crime is a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by the victim’s real or perceived protected social group. The law protects against many classes of hate crimes.”
In the era of social media, hate incidents continued to be left unchecked locally on all platforms such as Facebook, WeChat, Nextdoor, TikTok, and many more. The recent Project Homekey fiasco has stirred up many emotional responses to the detriment of our community. Discounting one’s opinion based on an accent, nationality, or poor language skills is a hate incident. Denying the Homeless the opportunity to be housed based on their mental illness is a hate incident as well. Whether you are an Opponent or Proponent of the Homekey Project — and both sides have compelling reasons — have the courage to denounce the hate speech of your own supporters and spend the time to educate others with understanding.
The next time an opinion is presented with a poor accent or poor grammar, take a moment and ask for clarification. If racist or discriminatory remarks are made, educate the individual and give them the opportunity to reframe their opinion. Cultural Competency is achieved through open and honest discourse. We all could do our part to be better role models for our children.
The means do not justify the end if our community continues to turn a blind eye to hate incidents. We recently witnessed our country elect a President that will unite with compassion. We need more than self-reflection in our community. We need practical collaborative unity.