Here’s How We Can Combat the Rise in Hate Speech Since Tuesday

The marathon presidential election season that many of us wished would have ended on November 8th rages on in the form of protests, social media arguments, media coverage of every breath politicians make, and most discouraging of all, hate speech, hate crimes, and outward expressions of bigotry and vitriol by pro-Trump advocates as well as anti-Trumpers.

To many, this is not surprising at all.  A nation that was already divided has fractured even further and there seems no end in sight.  There have been reported physical attacks on both sides as well as countless displays of ignorance directed toward the marginalized groups in this country who’ve been pushed to isolation in direct contradiction to the supposed “melting pot” we were all taught our country was while in school.

I think the outward displays of bigotry inside schools are what disgust me the most.  Our children, often too young or uninformed to know any better, are seemingly echoing the bigoted views of their parents by handing out deportation notices, writing racist graffiti and attacking classmates across the country.

So what can we do?

First, we need to start with attacking ignorance with education.  This starts with parents and should continue in schools.  But as stated, sometimes ignorance starts with poor parenting and carries into schools through their kids.  As parents and/or teachers, we can do the best we can with our own kids and hope they make the right decisions when they’re outside our reach.

Beyond that, those of us who want to fight back against hate need to make ourselves available as champions of tolerance, love and safety.  After the Brexit vote, the UK went through something very similar.  They documented a rise in hate crimes, especially against immigrants.  As a result, many residents wore a simple peaceful symbol to show others they were an ally who would help if needed.

A safety pin. And it helped, especially in public areas where a hate-filled person was on the attack, physically or verbally.

IMG_0082It’s not a glamorous response and won’t turn a lot of heads. But this gesture can help real people get through dangerous situations.  Wearing a safety pin tells potential victims of hate crimes that you’re a safe person to sit next to on the bus or train.  It tells people you will stick up for someone who is a victim of a hate-filled rant or attack by standing between them and their attacker. It tells victims that you will help them get to a safe place or alert the authorities if needed. Wearing a safety pin shows attackers that whoever they’re singling out has allies.  Their attack will not be allowed without a response.

Starting today, I will be wearing a safety pin anytime I leave the house.  Those of us who preach tolerance need to put action behind our words and there is no better time than the present.  Now more than ever, we need to prove that love trumps hate and stand together in solidarity against ignorance and bigotry.  I urge all of the readers at SecularVoices to do the same.  A hate-filled America is not one I want to live in or raise my children in.  Anything we can do to win this battle must be done right now.

Thanks to Keith Lowell Jensen (@keithlowell) for making me aware of the safety pin movement.

Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

View all posts by Kevin Davis →

60 thoughts on “Here’s How We Can Combat the Rise in Hate Speech Since Tuesday

  1. This is great to see. I think a lot of people are feeling kind of lost and powerless right now. I know I am.

    It feels like the battles we have to start fighting are so huge that there’s no way one person can make a difference. Having a small way to start makes it seem just a bit more possible.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. The only way to make a difference is one person, then one more, and another. etc. I just try to remind myself that he did NOT win the majority of votes. Most of us do not think nor feel the way he, and his supporters, do.

      1. Some of his supporters probably don’t feel that way either. I suspect they were too emotionally wrapped up in the rallies to think it through.

  2. If we had a real media, Trump would be asked to condemn the racist incidents which have occurred since his election. He would also be asked to condemn the White Supremacists and alt-righters who have expressed joy at his election and have used it as a way to advance their causes. His words during his campaign helped to fuel the racist incidents that we’re seeing now.

    While wearing a safety pin is a good gesture, it will take Trump speaking out against racists and addressing his racist supporters to make any real difference. Right now, they feel that they have an ally to their cause in the White House.

    1. Trump can’t condemn the racist, misogynistic attacks his followers have perpetrated. He’s much too busy condemning those who are protesting his presidency. THEY’RE the true thugs in his delusion.

      1. I’ve never seen such a thin skinned person. How the hell is he going to deal with foreign leaders who criticize him? He’s like a spoiled child.

        1. ” How the hell is he going to deal with foreign leaders who criticize him?”

          With several hundred megatons, I fear.

          1. Up to a point. If he is insulted by leader of a well respected European leader, for example, and decides that he wants to nuke that country’s capitol, I don’t think they would go along with THAT. Then again….

          2. We will see. I don’t expect him to nuke Europeans but I can’t say what he would do if the Middle East flares up.

          3. No, as the democrats did when they were in power, the party will split. Maybe not completely, but Republicans don’t walk in step with each other. There’s fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, alt-right, etc. That will come out now.

    2. This is serious, not an attempt to “gotcha” or win some debating point. What is the essential definition of White Supremacist? How much can a person endorse his own group — whether race or religion or whatever — without being accused of being against and unfair to anyone not in his group? If there were an NAAWP, would it automatically be a hateful bigoted nazi racist group?

      1. White people don’t need endorsing, because we hold almost all of the power. Does it threaten you to admit that black lives matter, too?

        1. I don’t understand why you bothered to respond. Essentially, my post asked for a definition of White Supremacist. You contributed nothing in that connection. Your answer to my secondary question was that white people don’t need endorsing. Is that the same as saying that white people should not be endorsed, even by white people, and that someone venturing a favorable comment about whites is out of order? You avoid direct answer to my question about a hypothetical NAAWP. You committed a serious macro-aggression in your last sentence when you said black lives matter, too. The people who do your thinking for you, don’t want that “too” on there; they want you to say black lives matter. Period. That “too” could cause people think that maybe Jeremy Mardis’ life mattered. Why do you think that I don’t consider that black lives matter? If your post had been made by a reasonable person, I’d be offended.

          1. I thought it did add something to the discussion, even though I agree that it did not answer the question. I will answer it though.
            White supremacist is essentially someone who feels that as a Caucassian they are superior to those of different genetic lineages. Of course this demonstrates an apparent ignorance of genetic lineages as humans are made up of 3 basic genetic backgrounds, Caucosoid, Negroloid, and Mongoloid (roughly speaking) and even those who claim to be purely Caucosoid in biological lineage most likely carry some Negroloid and/or Mongoloid chromosomal influences.
            Furthermore, all human lineage traces back to a mutated form of another primate that likely primarily occupied the African continent prior to spreading out and forming into sub-races.
            I think that the main difficulty is, at least in part, addressed in Albionic American’s post. (Though I admit I am not sure I understand the complete indication of what was being said). Humans seem to have an inherent need to feel superior to other humans. Trump cashed in on that. Hatred of other humans seems to promulgate when one is afraid of another sub-group, particularly if one feels inferior to that group and is driven to be superior to that group. Some individuals appear incapable of working with other humans on equal ground and insist that one group must be superior to the other.
            I tend to think that is a false dichotomy, but it may be true/factual in some regard.

          2. I’ve seen forms of this position that vary depending on who’s presenting the argument. For example, are all Caucasians “white”? What is the race, and identity, of “colored people”? Are Hispanics white or colored? How about Arabs? Some arguments call all Caucasians white; some narrow “white” down to Northern European only.
            Another factor that makes communication on the subject difficult is the tendency to modify word meanings without letting the correspondent know of the new meanings. In this case, the word “hate”. It used to be that hate meant intense dislike, with insinuation that negative action might follow. Nowadays, if you disagree with someone, they might accuse you of hating them. It’s love or hate. There is no room for tolerance or indifference.
            If in fact a person does feel superior to others, it doesn’t follow that they hate the others. In the real world, most people probably feel superior to someone, for some reason. So long as they take no offensive action against the other, what’s the problem? Suppose your own best talent is singing. If you hear a singer on tv and quietly think to yourself that you’re a better singer than he is, that doesn’t constitute hate, nor an act that society should try to obliterate.
            There is a big, big difference between feeling superior and feeling supreme. I am a better ball player than my friend Clyde, who has no legs. This doesn’t mean I’m the best ball player in the world.
            The sore point comes when someone says something like “Detroit was a better place when it was run by Republican whites than it is now, run by Democrat blacks.” Such statements are vexing and inflammatory. Should such statements be forbidden, and punished? Is it possible to learn something from such statements? Are such statements hateful, or objective declarations of fact?
            A person may think that those who cheer Trump are a crowd of racists, and that may be true. Why are the (mostly non-Northern European) people who cheered Hillary not considered racists and racist sympathizers?

          3. Those that cheer Clinton may very well be racist or racist sympathizers. I honestly don’t know.
            What tends to be established from basic analysis and scientific record is, subsequent to the development of what is considered Homo saipens sapiensis, three separate genetic lineages became arise despite all having a common group of ancestors. From what has been deduced from human genomic studies, no one is really purely Caucasoid, Negroloid, or Mongoloid. Some lineages just have more genetics of one than another. To give you an idea, I read somewhere that NFL players that are legally listed as “black,” regardless of skin tone, have an average of 30% European Caucasoid heritage and many that are considered “white” had no more than 65% Caucasoid heritage. So while a man may be “black” on the outside he might be genetically largely “white” and while a man might be “white” on the outside, genetically he may be mainly “black.”
            With regard to the “feeling superior,” I don’t mean by way of a particular skill. I mean to the point where someone has a tribalistic “us vs them” mentality and starts to dehumanize others.
            Trump demonstrated to me that he feels superior to women to the point of dehumanizing them. Make sense?

          4. Your comment details the fact that the concept of race is arbitrary and ultimately of little practical value. My previous point that there is no objective definition of the “race” of Latinos and Arabs and others, agrees with that. If we require a separation by group, it would be more useful to separate by culture.
            I was raised by nonchalant and unsophisticated parents who didn’t bother to install in me the nice social gestures. I don’t set a table with the silver in the right place, I don’t hold my fork correctly. When someone says “How are you?” I answer but I don’t reciprocate the question, because I really think the routine is pointless. I have survived nicely. My point is that if someone more genteel should criticize me, I have options. I can melt like a wronged snowflake. I can feel dissatisfied with my own social shortcomings, maybe resolving to learn better. I can ignore them. I can accuse them of hating and dehumanizing me.
            What does it mean, precisely, to dehumanize? Does it mean to treat like an animal? If the genteel nitpicker calls me a pig, that’s sort of dehumanizing. Does it do any harm? Not unless I want it to. If I try really hard, I can convince myself that the name-caller has hurt me.
            Regarding Trump (or anyone) grabbing someone, it can reasonably be seen as an assault. Because of the sexual nature of humans, a male grabbing a woman’s genitalia is (unfortunately, one might opine) a very human act. However, it’s still out of order, and should be regarded as much of an assault as an unsolicited punch in the face.
            It’s quite reasonable to take a dim view of Trump’s acts and words. One reason I don’t get upset about it is that practically every politician in USA is a fraud who feels superior to the masses. Trump isn’t alone in this. My evidence for this statement is that if politicians didn’t feel superior, some one (Bernie Sanders, maybe?) would have introduced legislation placing congressional pensions under social security. Since we’re all equal, peasants retire with a modest social security check, plus whatever else they’ve arranged for themselves. Retired congressmen are supported in relative luxury at the expense of taxpayers. Makes me feel inferior.
            Rambling. Bye..

        1. Most dictionaries will tell you that to endorse means to affirm, support, approve. Is there something wrong with affirming and supporting one’s own group? As for privilege, it’s a nonsensical concept manufactured by people who are confident their puppets won’t think things through. Mr. Obama, who is not white, is in a position to flaunt and overrule the laws of the land (immigration law) and has done so. I have no such potential. Which of us is privileged? The last time I checked the form 990 filed by the non-white Mr. Sharpton, the IRS was carrying him for a balance of over $800,000 taxes owed. Could I run up a tab of $800,000 tax without having IRS come at me? Where’s my privilege? Justice is erratic and unpredictable. At a given time, there are whites who are in positions of advantage. There are non-whites who are in positions of advantage. There are whites and non-whites who are in subordinate positions. To assume that advantage of privilege is inherently tied to race is to live in one’s own fantasy, not in the real world.

          1. If you can’t see that White people are heavily privileged in the US then I have nothing to say to you. It’s not my job to educate you about racism and privilege.

            And by the way, its President Obama. You may have hated him but he was our President for 8 years and I am one of the millions who love him and will miss him when he’s gone.

            I hope Trump destroys this country –especially for the rubes and racists who voted for him. They deserve whatever happens under his administration.

          2. No, no. Trump destroying the country is bad, especially for those of us who live in it and will have to pick up the pieces in four years when he’s gone.

          3. Unfortunately his hurting this country will hurt innocent people. What I really hope for is that given how many legal battles Trump has on his plate he remains unable to get anything done. Having the crown but being unable to the territory (while still losing the popularity) may be the best of situation. If we could make it so that he only harms himself it would be great. That is not what will happen.

    3. I doubt that he will. Racists support him. If a crowd of racists will cheer him on he will say whatever they want him to say. Popularity is like a drug to Trump and he is likely addicted to it.

    4. If you had real media you would have known that Trump was going to win. Those of us who followed the alternative media and not the mainstream media knew he was going to win. No shock for us, but joyous celebrations.

      FYI, telling certain minority groups that there will be no more free handouts, that they are going to have to get off their lazy ass and work for a living just like everyone else, is not racist, its common sense, something brainwashed liberals have very little of.

  3. What can we do to combat the rise in hate speech? Like your shirt says, we can start by being rational. We should resist the urge to silence or punish speech we don’t like. This merely drives it underground. We must clearly distinguish between speech and action, encouraging more speech and drawing the line at criminal acts. As you suggest, education is a critical long-term solution.

    1. “As you suggest, education is a critical long-term solution.”

      I agree, but in the short term, reason is not going to be enough. Our fellow citizens may remain rational as individuals talking to people they know, but as a group, they are becoming an angry mob: a stampede of emotion bent on destruction of what they fear.

      When dealing with individuals we know, we can attempt to reason.

      When dealing with strangers or with groups, we’re going to have to work against the narrative that makes them victims and everyone else predators. We’re going to have to model ourselves after the black Americans who have learned to respectfully speak the truth to the police, even as they are being judged by the color of their skin. The women we’ve seen on video who calmly narrate the deaths of their boyfriends/brothers/sons, but who are documenting the crimes for the public? That’s going to have to be us.

    2. Either there is a key into their psyche or there is not.

      If there is not, little can be done.

      If there is a key, find it, refine it and use it.

      As an example, clearly this is a group with no core morals and which prefers comforting lies to uncomfortable truths, even if it means supporting the most vile of leaders..

  4. Talk about not understanding the real message of the Trump Revolution.

    Here, let an older man explain it to you, son: The model for “Modernity” that came out of the Enlightenment has entered a crisis because it conflicts with man’s nature and it doesn’t work. We can’t paper over this fact any more, and the Alt Right has emerged as a response to this crisis by pointing out the reasons for Modernity’s failure:

    “Social progress” can’t happen because man’s nature doesn’t mysteriously change in The Current Year. For example, feminism didn’t work a thousand years ago; it doesn’t work now; and it won’t work a thousand years hence.

    We have inequality, hierarchy and patriarchy because of this obdurate reality, and not because some mean white men hold power and enforce arbitrary rules.

    And you can’t make this tragedy of the human condition go away through politics, wishful thinking or ideology.

    In other words, the Alt Right has rejected our elites’ childish utopianism and embraced the perennial wisdom of man, because that wisdom incorporates reason about the nature of reality. In this election the adherents to the Alt-Right’s world view who supported Trump have sounded more like the experienced, responsible adults in the country than the people who supported the progressives’ fantasy world represented by Mrs. Clinton. The fact that so many of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters have had public panic attacks in response to the early victories of the Trump Revolution shows that they understand their untenable position on some level. It usually upsets people when they have to confront the fact that they have based their lives on a lie that they can no longer sustain, even to themselves.

    1. Well said and beautifully written. What amazes me is that the liberals with all their supposed higher education qualifications, cannot understand these simple facts of reality.
      A clear sign that the liberals are totally brainwashed.

  5. I definitely think Trump cashed in on the idea that he could make his constituents hate her more. Unfortunately I think he comes from the camp of people that think that makes him popular “by default.”
    If we had the Cambridge voting system I think he would be in for a big fucking surprise as I don’t think that kind of campaigning would work. You would have to make your constituents hate ALL OF the other candidates more.

    1. It had nothing to do with hate but with common sense. America is broken thanks to crazy liberal politics since Kennedy. 20 trillion dollars in debt, that’s 60 000 dollars per American, 240k for a family of four.
      Trump is the only possible candidate to put America right, Clinton would only have made America worse, much worse cos she is an idiot.

      1. That makes absolutely no sense at all. Republicans have had control of both houses on Congress and the White House several times since Kennedy. Did the debt go down significantly during those times?
        I am not saying that I am not opened to the idea, but stated so one sided like that. How will you feel if Trump does nothing to put it right or even makes it worse? I suspect that you will blame it on liberals even when they object to the measures that cause the problems.
        And by the way, despite being a crook I thought Nixon did a lot of good for our country. I am opened to the idea that Trump may do the same, but I still think he is a con man (maybe it is because he is a con man that he will do good).
        Or are you still butthurt over Nixon? Oh and that “I am the only one who can fix America” chant at Trump rallies may have worked for you but made me very suspicious of him. I think Paul Ryan would be able to help this country too.

          1. The point I was making is that if the debt was really the result of Democratic rule like he claims (particularly under Kennedy, which is stupid as it had been around since just after WWII), then with Republicans in power they should have gotten it paid off. One would think the idea of being fiscally conservative would have meant they do something about debt. And it’s not like they did not have the means given that there was pure Republican power numerous times since Kennedy.
            You make an excellent point though. If Democrats had done such a horrible job with the debt, why did it drop so low under Bill Clinton? And for that matter, was that at a time when all houses were controlled by Democrats? Is that what the Republican administration was so afraid of under Hillary Clinton’s rule? Going back to a balanced budget and attributing it to a woman?

          2. > One would think the idea of being fiscally conservative would have meant they do something about debt.

            They did. They refused to reauthorize PAYGO and spent 3 (or 5) trillion dollars on foolish wars. They spent so much they tanked the economy.

          3. Fair enough, but technically accurate given what I said. Doing “something” about a situation can include contributing to making it worse.

      2. Jimmy Carter never started a war. When he left office, the US was the biggest creditor nation on Earth. After the incompetent Reagan took power, the US became the biggest debtor nation on Earth.

  6. I think they are in for a rude awakening. Their jobs, even if there are more of them, will still go to brown people and “white culture” will still get diminished.
    You can even see their kicking and screaming on this very message board. No culture lasts forever.

    1. I think most of those jobs are gone forever, being done by robotics. People can promise to bring them back, but that isn’t going to happen.

    2. A lot of those jobs are gone forever for a variety of reasons. One of them is that, for example, there are manufacturing jobs open in the US but they require skilled workers and we have a skills gap. Another is that some industries have been in decline worldwide, so it’s not like those jobs are being exported, either.

      1. A skills gap because workers need to be paid while in training or don’t want to get additional training or both perhaps?

        1. Both. There’s resistance to it even when the companies say they’ll pay prospective workers while they’re being trained. Admitting that your skills aren’t up to snuff and that you’re not good enough “as is” is scary for a lot of people. Others are scared they won’t make it through the training, but don’t want to face up to that, so won’t even try.

        2. If the pay was enough . . . look at how many think they can be Hollywood stars or sports ‘heroes’.

          And yet many electricians can earn over $100,000 a year with some overtime.

    3. Even if they keep their jobs . . . .

      “Americans want to vote for something and for someone,” Scott Walker told the roaring crowd in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “So tonight, let me tell you what I’m for. I’m for reform, growth, safety. I’m for transferring power from Washington into the hands of hard working tax payers in all states across the country, that’s real reform.”

      Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed the new state budget into law on Sunday with a last-minute change that strips the words “living wage” from state laws and replaces it with “minimum wage.”

      The change means minimum-wage Wisconsin workers will earn nearly $6,000 per year less than what the Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates is a living wage in the state. And they will have no recourse, according to the Center for American Progress.

      1. Sounds typical. The conservative not giving a dann about the workers’ wages since they are basically slaves anyway. Of course now many of them are Caucasian and are slaves voluntarily (basically because they don’t know any better).

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