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Say No to Hate: Randy Blazak

The most important problem is the denial of the problem. Most white people have been lulled into the myth of a “post-racial” America. Research on implicit bias and the persistence of numerous forms of institutional racism, including in the criminal justice system, demonstrate the reality of racism in 2018. A much greater threat than hate crimes and organized white supremacists is our inability to address core issues like white privilege and internalized white supremacy. We cannot progress until we have that honest reckoning. Atlanta paints itself as the city “too busy to hate,” but it’s been too busy to do the real work to begin to heal the very old wounds of its racist history.

Randy Blazak earned his PhD from Emory University in 1995 after an extensive field study of racist skinheads. He is currently a sociology professor in Portland, Oregon and chair of the Coalition Against Hate Crime. He has published widely on the topic of hate crime and has been doing global work in the field of countering violent extremism. His website is www.randyblazak.com

Say No To Hate 1

Randy Blazak: The most important problem is the denial of the problem. Most white people have been lulled into the myth of a “post-racial” America. Research on implicit bias and the persistence of numerous forms of institutional racism, including in the criminal justice system, demonstrate the reality of racism in 2018. A much greater threat than hate crimes and organized white supremacists is our inability to address core issues like white privilege and internalized white supremacy. We cannot progress until we have that honest reckoning. Atlanta paints itself as the city “too busy to hate,” but it’s been too busy to do the real work to begin to heal the very old wounds of its racist history.

Say No To Hate 2

Randy Blazak: Racism is not just a guy marching around with a swastika armband. It’s found in healthcare disparities and urban development plans. What happened to the people who lived in Techwood Homes or East Atlanta before the redevelopment projects? There are two things that must be done to address these problems. The first is there has to be political leadership, including from local communities, to have these hard conversations in public settings so white people can learn the many ways racism traumatizes and disadvantages people of color. These things need to be said and they need to be heard. The second is the city has to make equity an action plan. Underrepresented people have to be invited to the table to have a role in the decisions that affect their communities. This includes recent immigrant populations. Those with power have to have a very real plan for what racial reparations might look like as a policy of making up for the tax that people of color pay every day for existing as a non-white person.

Say No To Hate 3

Randy Blazak: Activism is always important in holding the powerful accountable. In the 1960s, it was crucial in forcing the dismantling of Jim Crow laws, and it can play a role now in preventing leaders from pretending the complex work of racial justice is “done” or from rolling back progress that has been won.

Say No To Hate 4

Randy Blazak: Like any communication form, social media is both helpful and harmful. It can rally people fairly quickly and add to the knowledge base on complex issues, much of which, in the past, was locked away from the general public. It can also be a massive source of misinformation, as well as give people the illusion of activism when all they did was “like” a post or sign an online petition. It’s still people in the streets or in a room together that forces real change.

Say No To Hate 5

Randy Blazak: Tony Paris.

Say No To Hate 6

Randy Blazak: The best action is the Not in Our Town response. The first part is to stand up to all forms of bigotry, wherever it appears. That includes off-handed comments about “those people” or “that part of town.” Bigotry is much more covert these days. The second part is to make sure members of marginalized communities feel safe, heard, and included. The third is, when hate crimes and incidents appear, the community has to speak with one voice, especially people who are not members of the targeted group. They have to say that they stand with the targets of hate and not the perpetrators. I may be a straight, white male, but I stand with the victims. Finally, the hardest work is reaching out to the hatemongers and finding a way to rescue them from their hate.




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