There is no place for hate. Ever.
This isn’t your typical ‘green living’ story so I wasn’t sure there was a space for it on Groovy Green Livin. But there is.
Green living encompasses so much. The umbrella is huge and in my opinion welcoming to all, regardless of where we fall on our green path. The journey isn’t only about finding ways to avoid toxins in the products we consume and use, it’s also about acceptance, community and ongoing discussion about how we can make the world a better place.
This is a story of anti-semitism. A story of hate. A story of bullying. And it’s happening in my backyard.
The sad truth is this story could be happening anywhere and probably is happening everywhere. At times hate crimes fly under the radar and other times they’re placed in the public eye.
Although this particular series of events is directed at Jewish people, it’s not only about anti-semitism. This is bigger than that. This is about all forms of discrimination and intolerance and what we can do to prevent it.
Over the past few months there has been a wave of antisemitic events in our small Boston suburb. School officials discovered multiple examples of intolerant and hateful behaviors, specifically in the form of anti-semitic graffiti – swastikas and the words “Kill the Jews”.
After these initial occurrences more anti-semitic events followed.
According to our Superintendent:
Over the past several weeks, we learned of several incidents involving some of our youngest students at ….the elementary schools. Some children played a game that had anti-Semitic content, another talked about destroying a peer’s country because she was Jewish, a third involved withholding a snack because the friend didn’t believe in Jesus Christ, and a fourth involved the accusation that Jews had killed Jesus Christ. The first incident came to our attention because the parents of one of the children playing the game called the school to alert it to what their child had reported.
Coming from the mouths of six and seven year olds, who may not even fully understand their meaning, clearly these words echo adult conversations that are overheard.
Thankfully our community is fantastic and jumped on this in so many positive ways, demonstrating that there’s no place for hate of any kind.
Why am I sharing this story of hate?
I’m not naive. I know there are bad eggs out there and there always will be. It just takes one. I guess I’m just surprised that this is happening in my backyard, which happens to be just outside a large metropolitan area filled with diversity. It’s a wake-up call. A reminder that bullying, racism and discrimination can happen anywhere.
I’m sharing this because I strongly believe we all have an obligation to promote and teach acceptance. We have the power to create an environment at home, work and in the schools that encourages compassion, understanding and acceptance of differences. And I know that there are many more good eggs than bad.
The discussion starts at home.
- Your kids are listening. I know mine are, even if they pretend not to hear. They are sponges and absorb conversations that they shouldn’t. So be careful. Children can easily misinterpret something.
- Promote acceptance. Have positive discussions with your children, coworkers and family about acceptance.
- Be prepared. Role play. Ask your children what they would do in certain situations.
- Encourage comparative religion courses in the schools and participate in celebrations of differences.
- Empower children to take a stance against any form of bullying.
- Welcome the fact that we live in an increasingly diverse society
My youngest reminded me with a picture he drew that people are all different, yet they can still get along. Let’s work on this….together.
Have you or your community been the target of a hate crime, racism, bullying or discrimination? How was it dealt with?