Friday, October 14, 2016
Hate and Prejudice Part 1
Statistics[ The New York Times, September 18, 2016} gathered from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino were that Hate Crimes against US Muslims are at its highest level since after 9/11. Explanations given include recent terrorist attacks in Europe and in the United States and the political vitriol from Donald Trump as causes. One can argue that there are certainly statistical correlations between these events, but correlations do not prove cause-and-effect. One hate attacker [former Marine in a drunken rampage fired a high-powered rifle, four times into the mosque next door of his Connecticut home] reportedly said “I hate Islam.” Another [she poured liquid on a Muslim woman after berating Islam] said,” I am going to vote for Mr. Trump, so he can send you all back where you came from.” These are just two examples that support the two explanations given for the increase in Hate Crimes. Webster’s dictionary defines hate as “to regard with a strong or passionate dislike; detest.” Synonym’s include loathe; despise; abhor; etc. Turning to A Dictionary of Psychology. “Hate is a sentiment or emotional attitude involving, according to Shand, the whole gamut of primary emotions, but with anger and often fear predominating.” There has been much research, beginning in the 1920s, in psychology, studying personal biases like prejudice. And A Dictionary of Psychology defines prejudice “an attitude, usually with an emotional colouring, hostile to, or in favor of actions or objects of a certain kind, certain persons, and certain doctrines.” Initially, the research on prejudice, looked at American and European race theories that attempted to prove White Superiority. Articles concluded that studies taken altogether seemed to indicate the mental superiority of the white race. The research perspectives changed in the 30s and 40s with progress in civil rights, challenges to colonialism and a growing concern about anti-Semitism .Those early theories were clearly debunked by subsequent research. Today, discrimination still exists in our country based on racial disparities in healthcare and higher death rates among minorities from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and HIV infection; Hispanics and blacks spend an average of over $3000 more than whites to locate and buy the same house and often receive harsher criminal sentences than whites for the same offense; women earn an average of $.76 for every male dollar and; the US Justice Department study found that handicap access provisions for disabled people were violated in 98% of the housing developments investigated.