Sunday, February 22, 2004


If you publish things on the Web, you are sure to get email about it. And that is a good thing – one of the best features of the Web is instant feedback. As with anything in life, some people agree, and some people disagree.

Some people violently disagree. For example, here's a portion of an email I received a couple months ago:"With the wheat comes some chaff," as they say, and I have learned a great deal from the wheat. Probably the only thing to do with the chaff is to ignore it.

I received some chaff this past week that caught my attention for some reason. Here is a portion of that email:And:The timing of the email meshes with the national debate on gay marriage, and the fact that the Nazi party held a demonstration in Raleigh this week. According to this article, "About 35 people calling themselves America's Nazi party called Jews, blacks and homosexuals the ruin of America during a rally at the old state Capitol in Raleigh." Hatred seems to be on the rise.

The obvious question is, "Will humans ever transcend hatred?" When you look at the bi-directional mayhem between Israel and Palestine, the Sunni vs. Shiite animosity in Iraq, the Christian vs. Muslim friction in France, etc. you could easily come to the conclusion that it may never end. Still, it is nice to dream of the death of racism.

When the "I am a racist" mail arrived, I ended up sending this response:Racism starts as a superstition applied to a group of people. This superstition then morphs into hatred. The hatred leads to words and actions. People dealt with through hatred often reciprocate in kind. Hatred breeds hatred, in other words, and you end up with a mess because of the reverberation.

Is it possible to change the mind of a racist? Is it possible to eliminate racism by talking to racists one at a time? I think so. At least in the U.S., through the efforts of millions of people, things are much better than they once were. There is still a long way to go. It cannot hurt to keep trying.

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