Hate breeds more hate. Until it overwhelms us and becomes who we are, or at least what others expect us to be.
One bad apple spoils the whole bunch. And until more people stand up and say, “Enough is enough, it has to end here,” we will never squash it for good.
And what is that hate? Racism.
With the heel of our boot and the sweat of our brow, our nation attempted to stomp out racism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and ’60s. We progressed as a people. We were, and are, better for it.
The greatest lesson learned during the movement? It made us realize it’s not OK to act like someone is lesser of a person just because the color of their skin is different than ours.
Is racism making an ugly return to the national spotlight? Did it ever leave? We’re not sure. But one thing we do know is that when political leaders make it OK to hate, it’s like others are getting the proverbial nod they can join in.
We are better than hate, and we are certainly better than what’s transpired in the recent weeks and months leading up to the Tony Imbronone letter.
By now, many have read the letter and the hate it stands for. Imbronone addressed it to East Valley NAACP President Roy Tatem Jr. after the organization announced a boycott of Prescott.
It featured lines like, “You’re going to boycott Prescott? That’s good news! That means we will be seeing fewer Democrats [and] fewer (racial epithet) and that means less crime and less stink!”
And, “It’s only brainless (edited out)-suckers like Greg Mengarelli who are going to line up to kiss your stinking black (edited out).”
The hate just oozes from its pages, and no doubt made many people feel like they needed a shower afterward.
Recent politics, however, including the last election cycle at the state and national levels, have contributed to the problem of hate being an acceptable point of view.
Our own Arizona Rep. David Stringer and his “there aren’t enough white kids to go around” comment sparked controversy in June, then his stance in November stating assimilation doesn’t work with African Americans and other racial groups, “because they don’t melt in, they don’t blend in, they always look different,” didn’t fix the problem he created.
Calls for his resignation by members of the Prescott City Council, among other politicians and officials, were honorable. And when the council met with the NAACP on race last week, it was another impressive step in the right direction of squashing hate.
But what may be the most surprising act of hate, and those who have vehemently defended Stringer’s comments should pay attention, is the fact that Stringer himself has yet to condemn Imbronone’s thoughts in the letter.
If Stringer’s comments in recent months were taken out of context, or the media largely twisted his words, or is carefully picking out comments in order to make a point, wouldn’t Stringer come forward immediately and condemn Imbronone and all he stands for?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
Perhaps being silent isn’t the best route when it comes to racism, for any of us, because the hate will only continue to grow.