Over the past few weeks, months, years, and even decades, the world at large has seemed to have thought that some forms of hate were on the downward trend. Like so many threats, they thrive when those who are most threatened take rest. In industry layman terms it is often referred to as resting on your laurels. The past half-century of progress on many fronts could be the reason why now more than ever hate is on the rise again in the United States. Since the dawn of the slave trade in the western hemisphere the persecution of people has been rooted in commerce. Small steps had been being made since President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925, the first to use the term “affirmative action”. In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was the first tool created to defend and guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Why would there need to be more laws to protect everyone all ready? Because they weren’t working for everyone the 200 years before when the Constitution was written.
In 1961 President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. In 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In 1968 Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. The 1970’s followed with a number of political assassinations extremist from all ends began to take action against those who opposed their views. The 80’s continued with additional more tactical assassinations of religious figures, journalists, radio hosts, musicians, etc. So much violence spread all across the country from coast to coast that people became accustomed to it, even desensitized.
So many different motives behind these assassinations. There are so many factors involved in what held back civil rights and spurred the retaliation of racists, white supremacists, and other extremist groups. Even with the growth in extreme violence against those trying to make strides for progress. Minorities grew in wealth and stature, involvement in sports, business, and other industries flourished. And then somehow as if in retaliation, hate groups began to grow at an alarming rate according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. From 1999 to 2009 the number of documented hate groups more than doubled from 457 to 932. Steady growth continued until 2011 to 1018 groups, followed by a sharp reduction down to 784 in 2014 during President Barack Obama’s administration as if these types of groups ran out of gas or went underground only to begin a resurgence to 917 in the most recent reporting of 2016. Now overt hate has returned to the forefront of our nation stronger, louder, and now empowered by social media and emboldened by a political and socioeconomic environment that again pits groups against each other deriving inspiration from commerce. Be it the loss or export of jobs, the increase in non-European immigrant populations, or any other factor that can be tied to economics.
While many of those who thought that the struggle for equality and civil rights would coast on continued improvement over time, the divisions have grown between the haves and the have not. Those on the far right and the far left have grown in means and desperation to make their case known. Those same people find it increasingly unbearable to live in a nation growing in the direction that ours is growing now. The scales are being tipped in a direction that is unhealthy for our country in the long-term. The minor battles have already begun to be fought in Ferguson, Chicago, Charlottesville, and other less known places. These events may very well ignite a time that rest in our not so distant past where the tools, techniques, and practices of terrorists in far away lands will begin to be used against fellow citizens. We must not let this tear or nation apart again. Fuck racism!