March 24th, 2014

There is No Place for Hate

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Groovy Green Livin No Place for Hate

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?

 

18 Responses to “There is No Place for Hate”

  1. This makes me so mad, upset, and ill. I’m so sorry for the impact it is having on your family, Lori.

  2. I am so sad reading this. Sadly was a teacher I see this sometimes. I am so sorry this has happened to you .
    May you use it as a stepping stone to step over and past it.

  3. Ugh this is so sad, it’s hard to believe this is happening in 2014. Thanks for writing about this really important topic. I’ve had to have similar conversations with my nieces about anti-gay stuff they are hearing in their hometown. Lots of work to do….
    Lindsay recently posted..Organic egg shortage – what can we do?My Profile

  4. Hey Cathy, It’s just upsetting that this stuff still happens. I grew up in Wisconsin and never experienced any form of discrimination. You just never know where it will hit. The response of the community has been fabulous.

  5. Thanks Kathy. I’m really viewing this as an opportunity to have some great family discussions. I don’t think we can change people-especially adults- but we can educate our children and teach them the power of acceptance.

  6. I think that’s what bothers me the most Lindsay. Why haven’t we as a culture learned from the past? Maybe we have and there’s just a small group who were left in the dust. That’s what I’m choosing to believe!

  7. Thanks Lori, our lives move so quickly, that we sometimes forget to look and see that blind hatred still exists even in communities that we wouldn’t expect it to be…this happens everywhere..So, we need to teach our children, and remind them, that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, and is not the norm, but the exception..that as with injustice to our earth or our neighbors, we need to speak out for the truth and for justice. Thanks for writing about this and reminding us all that this is still a fact of life in many communities..

  8. It is always good to be reminded thank you Lori! It is good to hear your community is handling this so positively and not pointing fingers but dealing with it. What a great picture your son drew!=)
    sommer @greenmom recently posted..Spring into BalanceMy Profile

  9. You summed it up so well Harriet. Sometimes we do need to take the time we all understand and know how to deal with the true colors of the world.

  10. Thanks Sommer. I love that picture too. Completely unsolicited-he just drew it from his heart 🙂

  11. Hate is all around us. If people would stop and see how much energy hate consumers versus being tolerate, they would stop hating. We all need to step into the shoes of our neighbor. Being different enriches the world.

  12. Yours is a cautionary tale for all families and all communities. No, there is no place for hate. In-depth scriptural studies for Christians would reveal a rich, shared cultural heritage with the Jewish faith despite some theological differences, not a reason to forget “love thy neighbor.”

  13. Lori, I am so grateful that you took the time to write about this on your blog. If I haven’t already shared this with you, you should check out this post by my friend Heather in Arles, France — elections there right now are having terrifying results. http://lostinarles.blogspot.com/2014/03/contrasts-in-provence.html#comment-form

  14. […] what happens in France matters to us all was brought home today, when I saw this post by another friend, Lori Alper. Lori, who lives one town away from me, writes about anti-Semitic […]

  15. Hello Lori. I am so grateful to Judith for sending me here (and for her link above – thanks Judith!). I so appreciated your thoughtfulness and the tone of this piece. But, as I wrote to Judith, I am sorry that we have that in common this week. There is so much hatred in France right now. Anti-semitism, homophobia and I have witnessed terrible racism as my companion is of half-Morrocan descent.

    It is so truly helpful to be reminded, as you do here, that there are options and that each of us can make a difference…

  16. Heather I’m so grateful as well that we’ve connected through Judith. I’ve been so sad reading about the situation in France. I’m very sorry that you are going through this. Thankfully we’re in a position to talk about the hatred and bring much needed awareness to the issue. Sending much love and acceptance to your country right now.

  17. Thank you for writing about this. Some of us assume these incidents no longer exist and that we are growing more tolerant rather than less. It may be true in some circles or appear to be true, but we will only make real progress if we speak of these things, and model an open mind and respect for our children.

  18. I agree teaching our children how to deal with situations in a way that they are comfortable with but helps change the tone of what is happening is the best we can do. Unfortunately, if every other parent is not doing this it is hard. I think that while what is happening in your community is anti-Semitic your points apply for all situations our kids are put in where they feel like they are not accepted for whatever reason.

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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