Hate in America
THE NEW AGENDAS OF HATE IN AMERICA
The agendas of the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacists and other fringe groups continue, but these groups are no longer the menace they once were. The usual suspects that generated hate have diminished in numbers and activities. The present purveyors of hate are much more subtle, less identifiable, and even at times, unaware of their nefarious roles.
The agenda for preventing a realignment of economic and political power
This agenda has initiated extensive and highly charged rebuttals to African American demands for reparations. The arguments against reparations are based partly on the fear that the total bill for reparations will be staggering. If the reparations are staggering, then it will demonstrate the extent of the denial of economic power to the African American community. The financial arrangement provides a "hidden" argument against reparations--the transfer of funds to the African American community will realign the financial and power structures of the country.
A great number of African American communities still suffer from discrimination. A retreat in commitment by groups that previously lent support to the African American plight has slowed the process to amend the persecution. The lack of commitment serves to promote an agenda that makes the African American communities responsible for their fate. If the African Americans in the ghettos across the United States could lift themselves out of their impoverishment and social isolation, they would. They can't. The depth of their persecution deprived them of the legal mechanisms, financial support and cultural identity to counter the deprivations previously forced upon them. The mid-20th century laws have been too little and too late. The Civil Rights Laws protected against future persecutions. They did not change the past history of persecution or contradict the appeal for reparations. The Supreme Court 1954 decision ruled "Separate and Equal" to have been illegal and the Civil Rights Act of 1963 admitted that African Americans had been denied an equitable share in the country's wealth. The laws support the African American population's petition for centuries of persecution and economic denial.
The agenda of thought control
In the economic, international, political, and social arenas, Americas groups contend for support from others. As the economic pie grows more slowly, the groups contend more ferociously. Thought control has become a primary agenda. Effective thought control, or propaganda, is mostly achieved in media which have huge audiences.
Unfortunately, Hollywood, often regarded as a liberal and politically-correct force in America, has shown that it has an agenda of thought control. Hollywood isn't monolithic. Most of its writers, producers and directors strive to entertain without manipulating the mind. Nevertheless, a segment of Hollywood has abused its charter and propagandized for political, social and economic purposes. This propaganda has included manipulation of history and facts and has produced hateful images of groups who cannot easily respond to the vicious attacks. Often, the propaganda is subtle, containing insertions of remarks or images that favor a cause or intend to purposefully arouse contempt for those in disfavor. Whether intentional or not, Hollywood has its agendas, and these agendas have perpetuated stereotypes that manipulate thought and generate hatred.
From D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation in 1914 to Selznick's Gone With the Wind in 1939, Hollywood portrayed African Americans as simple-minded, grotesque and rapacious. In Hollywood portrayals, Chinese have been inscrutable, Germans have been heel-clicking martinets, Italians have been simple-minded and Mafia, Latins have been lovers, Vietnamese have been "geeks" and Arabs have been sinister thieves. More recently, Hollywood has portrayed the Arabs as terrorists and greedy oil sheiks.
The motion picture industry became aware of its stereotyping and endeavored to be more careful in its portrayals of ethnic groups. Many post World War II films counter prejudiced images and attack bigotry. However, even these films have aroused suspicion. From V. J. Jerome's The Negro in Hollywood Films:
Home of the Brave, Lost Boundaries, Pinky (in which Jeanne Crain, a white actress played Pinky), Intruder in the Dust must be labeled clearly. Taken together, they constitute a new cycle of films that seem to arm, but actually attempt to disarm, the Negro people's movement; that seem to promote the Negro-and-white alliance, but actually attempt to set divisions between Negro and white. They are films that, in the guise of "dignity," introduce a New Stereotype--a continuation of the Uncle Tom tradition, in "modern" dress, while retaining the old stereotypes. They are films that attempt to split the Negro people's solidarity with promises of "rewards" from the "best" whites--"justice" and "positions" for light-skinned, in distinction from dark-skinned, Negroes; "respectability" and "social station" for Negro middle-class professionals, in distinction from working-class Negroes.
Modern Hollywood is careless, presenting complicated issues in films that cannot be fairly discussed in a commercial medium. By its carelessness, the movie industry remains accused of having agendas, and using these agendas to mislead the public. Institutions and groups that have often been stereotyped receive unfavorable treatment from Hollywood. Many Catholic and Southern people consider Hollywood portrayals insensitive to them.
Thomas Doherty, a professor of Film Studies at Brandeis University, summarized his feelings of Hollywood's portrayals of Catholics in an article in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, Oct. 12, 1999: Today, for at least some filmmakers, Catholicism is less a religion than a ready-made sound stage for horror-films; and conspiracy thrillers, a creepy cult devoted to blood-soaked rituals, child sexual abuse and the greatest perversion of all in contemporary American culture, celibacy." The Last Temptation of Christ, Dogma and Quills are several films that have angered Catholics.
Southerners have expressed dismay at Hollywood's use of them to portray bigoted individuals. Southerners remain victims of the backlash to previous discriminatory practices against African Americans. Even in films that don't have a southern background, the sinister and evil person is often portrayed as a Southerner. Quentin Tarantinos film "Pulp Fiction" takes place in California. Tarantino inserts into the criminal elements of the California setting a group of Southern rednecks who run a gun shop where they proudly display a Confederate battle flag. The cinematic characterization of Southerners has disturbed Thomas Franklin Harris Jr., a libertarian activist in Alabama who is currently the online editor for the Decatur, Alabama Decatur Daily. In a column, From Against the South, Franklin Harris aired his opinions of Hollywood's attitude towards Southern people.
For the most part, Hollywood persists in promoting the fiction that the states of the former Confederacy are stuck in a time warp, somewhere between 1865 and 1968. How many films produced in the last 20 years and set in the South can you name that dont have race relations at their core? Even a brilliant film like Joel and Ethan Coens "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" cant avoid dredging up the Klan.
Historian Richard Lawson notes that constantly portraying Southerners as bigots subtly disguises the bigotry endemic in other parts of America: "Since the 1960s, race relations in the South have been far better than in the North. Even during the worst of the Civil Rights Era, the South never had riots to match those of Los Angeles, Detroit or Chicago."
The war on terrorism has sensitized characterizations of Arab people in Hollywood films. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) protested against the film Rules of Engagement, which it described as "probably the most vicious anti-Arab racist film ever made by a major Hollywood Studio." American Muslims and Arabs also protested against "The Siege," a mixed portrayal of Arab-Americans as both victims and perpetrators. The Siege followed more than a dozen films and made-for-television movies produced in the 1980s and '90s that featured murderous Muslim fanatics, among them "Executive Decision," "True Lies," "Voyage of Terror" and "Terrorist on Trial."
The popular film, The Raiders of the Lost Ark, made in 1981, is an example of prejuduced descriptions of Arabs. In this adventure film, which takes place during the1930s, most Egyptians are portrayed as buffoons and, for some unfathomable reason, under control of Nazis who are searching for the Ark of the Tabernacle. The hero easily shoots a sword wielding Egyptian who postures for a marketplace audience and threatens the hero with the sword--showing how even simple western technology can thwart Arab ignorance. The depiction of Egyptians laboring for Nazi masters manipulatively links the Egyptians with Nazis.
Hollywood turns the Bible, fiction and myth into history, subverts great civilizations such as the Egyptian, portraying it as a crew of slave drivers, and rewrites history as stories--Nixon and JFK are only fictionalized versions of important moments of history. One problem--a great number of earlier Hollywood films exist on video with biased and hateful images that shape minds that support chauvinistic and discriminatory actions.
An agenda of co-opting
The Middle-East conflict and war on terrorism have produced agendas that attempt to co-opt persons into a specific warring camp. The agendas are drawing Americans into bigoted and scheming actions that provoke division, conflict and violence. These agendas are transforming the war on terrorism into a war against the Moslem people. They are manipulating a conflict in Israel/Palestine into a conflict between the Arab and Jewish peoples, arousing suspicions that the manipulation is purposeful. The Radical fundamentalists of several persuasions and partisans of Middle East countries have taken the criminal actions of the conflict and terrorism and attached them wholesale to religions and nationalities.
The war against Al-Qaeda and its terrorism in the United States are legitimate battles against evil forces that are attempting to destroy the United States and its people. Criticisms and actions against nations and institutions that knowingly support terrorism against U.S. citizens, directly or indirectly, are legitimate responses if based on facts and logic. However, the war against Al-Qaeda's terrorism has become an open-ended "war on terrorism," in which terrorism becomes crudely defined and allows bigotry to define it. Prejudice is being used to manipulate opinions and steer the direction of Middle East policies.
One example:Criticisms of Saudi Arabia and its extreme religion are legitimate, as long as the criticisms use facts and logic. Using criticism of Saudi Arabia to slander all of Islam, the billion Muslims and the many Arab nations generates hate. Only a minority of Moslems are Radical Fundamentalists. Practically all Arab countries are troubled by the Radical Fundamentalism in their midst.
As another example, criticisms and actions against Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people are legitimate if based on facts and logic. Using criticisms of Israel to slander the Jewish people, many of whom are not partisan to Israel's oppressive actions, generates hatred against Jews. This recent hateful agenda has precipitated actions that rarely occurred against Jews in American history. They include murder of a talk-show host and selective killing of children at a Hebrew school.
Al-Qaeda benefits from hatred against innocent Arabs and Moslems. It gains sympathy and new adherents to its cause. Israeli extremism benefits from hatred against innocent Jews. It gains sympathy and new adherents to its cause. The hatreds circulate en mass throughout America by pyramids of e-mails, by syndicated columnists and on American campuses.
Circulated e-mails that report on international events, use reliable information, and express thoughtful opinions are legitimate expressions of facts and opinions. Use of "chain letter" e-mails to circulate propaganda and generate hate for political purposes is a recent phenomenon; a powerful method to manipulate public opinion.
Web sites exist that generate hate against peoples of all persuasions. The permanent web sites are similar to permanent media, readers come to them. Their messages of hate can be identified, made public and refuted. Internet readers can be made aware of the biased reporting of web sites. The unique use of e-mails in chain letters to proffer agendas by distorted information are random and broadcast to unwary persons. These messages come to the readers and cannot be easily refuted without generating other hateful e-mails. The messages tend to promote a political agenda by transferring unsavory actions by a small group to an indictment of an entire group. Those circulating the e-mails might honestly feel they are only circulating truths as they know them. Nevertheless, the attacks can be hateful and prejudiced. Some examples of using misleading information in e-mails to shape public opinion.
Islamic violence is not addressed only towards Israel. It is against Hindus, Christians, animists and women.
The Palestinian struggle is an affront against the dignity and existence of non Muslims living in peace in what they consider the Muslim world.
Jews stayed home from work at the World Trade Center on September 11.
Some syndicated columnists who favor Israel often promote dissension between Christians or Jews and Islam. Although many widely circulated columnists have been accused of unfairly attacking Israel, none of them have exhibited intolerance of Jews. Some examples:
As Christmas approaches, American Christians might take note of the intolerance here (in Jerusalem). Their sacred shrines--and some belonging to Judaism--are under threat from the Islamofascists of the Palestinian Authority.
There are 1 billion Muslims in the world, but not one authoritative Muslim organization anywhere has condemned Islamic terror generally..All have come out in favor of Palestinian terror against Jews.
Isolated cases of hatred against Jews are emerging and growing. Most of these attacks have been confined to campus demonstrations. Demonstrations against Israel have contained offensive remarks against Jews, such as:Hitler was right! Death to the Jews!
The Globe and Mail reported on a demonstration at San Francisco University. In their report they quoted Prof. Zoloth, chair of the university's Jewish Studies Program:
..pro-Palestinian groups on campus held an anti-Israel rally on the university's Malcolm X Plaza. "They called for a one-state solution," she says. "An imam gave a very anti-Semitic speech. He told Jews they should go back to Germany, because 'they know how to hook you up.' " Nine hundred people marched across campus chanting slogans and waving banners. The rally was advertised by flyers posted all over campus. They featured a picture of a baby and the caption "Palestinian Children Meat -- Slaughtered According to Jewish Rites under American Licence."
The Christian Coalition
Many of the Christian denominations, such as the Episcopalians and Catholics, exhibit a fair-minded approach to the Middle East situation and refrain from criticizing Jews and Moslems in their actions. The Christian Coalition feeds the flames of the Middle East struggle by its highly publicized and one-sided support of Israel. Some of their leaders have made comments that can be interpreted as turning the Middle East struggle between Israelis and Palestinians into a battleground between Christianity and Islam.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the Koran "provides ample evidence that Islam encourages violence in order to win converts and to reach the ultimate goal of an Islamic world."
Rev. Jerry Falwell, on MSNBC television program HARDBALL, piloted by Chris Matthews, stated: "Mohammed was a terrorist," and "The Jews own all of Israel. There is no Palestine."
Extremist supporters of Israel
An argument is circulating that Israel is a Zionist State, that Zionism embodies all Jews and therefore any criticism of Israel or Zionism is a criticism of Jews and is anti-Semitic.
This illogical thinking has the intention of smothering negative attitudes and opinions against the state of Israel by directly labeling them with the adjective anti-Semitic. By arbitrarily identifying all Jews with the state of Israel and associating all Jews with oppressive actions, this canard promotes hatred of Jews and anti-Semitism. The use of anti-Semitism to silence opponents is a new form of McCarthyism. On campuses across America, educators are being accused of anti-Semitism due to their criticism of Israel's tactics. The Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum has organized a Campus Watchsite to monitor professors and universities for pro-Arab, anti-Israel bias. The site names schools and specific professors.
The intent to make the Middle East struggle a war between Jews and Moslems is the most bigoted and scheming action for provoking division, conflict and violence in America.
The New Agendas of Hate
The new hatred in America has its roots in new agendas. The new agendas are promoted by groups of various political, economic, and social persuasions. From Northerners and Southerners, from liberals and conservatives, from Democrats and Republicans, agendas have emerged that generate hate.
The agenda that makes the poor responsible for their fate relieves those who control America's economic and social life from addressing the continued discriminations. When the White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs) dominated American institutions, it was fashionable to support Rights movements that challenged WASP power. After WASP power decreased and dissipated to other groups, the groups that obtained their share of power lost their impetus for equitably spreading power to all of America's "melting pot." Instead, groups battle for support from struggling minorities, while subtly attempting to control minority destiny and limit its access to power.
Media control steers agendas to favor those who benefit from the agendas. By conspiratorial reinforcement from several sources, the media establishes targets for inflammatory descriptions. The thought control is not limited to Hollywood, but appears in broadcast media, including original cable television programs and network television.
The Middle East conflict and war on terrorism have stimulated agendas that take advantage of the national fears that conflict and terrorism provoke. Bigoted groups have used the conflict and fears to attack their antagonists and attempt to persuade the American public to support their hateful agendas. These extremist groups pursue their agendas with a solitary mission--"align the American public with our cause."
New agendas, derived from terrorist actions and Middle-East struggles, are involving Americans in hate-filled polemics and actions that are defining battlegrounds, polarizing communities, and leading to widespread destruction. Truth and reality don't guide these agendas. The minds are closed and the actions are open. Unlike previous agendas that affected only a sector of American society, no American is safe from the attacks of these new hateful agendas. The agendas twist thought and paralyze honest action. The purveyors of agendas that generate hate drive themselves into a self-doubting question--"Why do they hate us?"
january 1, 2003
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