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Our View: Don't let bigotry fester


April 15, 2014

Three people were killed in Overland Park on Sunday when a self-proclaimed white supremacist opened fire at a Jewish Community Center and a Jewish retirement complex.

As it turned out, former Ku Klux Klan leader, got everything wrong and ended up killing three Christians.

The assault was an attack on all of us and all that we hope America stands for. It is another reminder that hate has no place in our society.

Bigotry of any sort can grow into something as hateful and as awful as the tragedy in Kansas Sunday.

As much as we would like to think otherwise, groups such as the Nazi party and the Klan are alive and well.

While we are all repulsed and sickened by the crude nature and violence of the bigotry expressed by Frazier Glenn Cross after he allegedly shot the victims Sunday, how many of us have let milder forms of racism expressed by friends or co-workers go unanswered.

Far too often, we roll our eyes and grit our teeth while someone expresses a snide remarks about blacks, Native Americans, gays, fundamentalist Christians or Jews. Speaking up loudly against bigotry of this nature is the only option. Silence is acquiescence. We shouldn’t feel awkward in objecting to racist or tasteless comments. Those who make such comments should be made to feel awkard.

In Montana, a federal judge recently sent dozens of racist emails to many, many people. The ugly process apparently went on for a long time before one disgusted but courageous recipient forwarded one of the emails to a reporter who wrote a news story that prompted the judge’s early retirement. There have been incidences of very public racist comments against President Obama and other minority political leaders — comments not aimed at their political beliefs, but at their ethnicity.

By letting these comments go unchallenged, we are all letting stand an atmosphere in which hatred can fester.

By exposing such hatred to the sunlight, we can help disinfect our society from the bigotry that can grow into the kind of violence we saw on Sunday.


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