Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The roots of bigotry

The estimable Kynn Bartlett of Shock and Awe has written a terrific column for The Californian that tackles the sticky issues raised by the recent rise of the specter of white supremacism among high-schoolers in the San Diego area and elsewhere:
Is 'City of hate' back?

Significantly, Kynn points out that the bigotry is not merely relegated to matters of race:
The roots of intolerance grow deep in our community. It`s not always just about race. Lake Elsinore Unified School District Superintendent Sharron Lindsay said that students with disabilities and gay students have been targets of hate.

"Anyone who is different in any way," she told The Californian recently.

Schools can`t deal effectively with this kind of intolerance, because it doesn`t actually come from the schools. It only manifests there.

Hatred begins in the home. The evils of racism, homophobia, disdain for people with disabilities, and hatred for those who are different need to be fought throughout the community, not just in the high schools.

These kinds of problems don`t grow in a vacuum. The attitudes of intolerance which dominate our community led directly to events such as the Temescal Canyon fights as well as hate crimes on a Murrieta campus.

Kynn goes on to point out that the Lake Elsinore area has an unfortunate history of real bigotry deep in its roots.

The reality is that nearly every locale in America has similar roots. And the problems of bigotry are, as a result, extremely difficult to eliminate.

Conservatives often react in horror to attempts to stamp it out -- mostly by labeling it "identity politics" -- by pretending that racism and other kinds of pernicious bigotry are part of our distant past. But, as Faulkner famously put it: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

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