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Fight Hate and Promote Tolerance

10/19/2001:   Somewhere in America, someone commits a hate crime every hour. Despite major progress in outlawing discrimination and supporting integration, stereotypes and unequal treatment persist. Bias and prejudice remain against groups and individuals because of race, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and other issues. Hate groups often exploit the Internet to spread their ideas to others rapidly and broadly.

Recent events have challenged many personal assumptions—and unfortunately hateful incidents have increased—but we have all been forced to examine the consequences of individuals, families, communities, and groups that do not promote understanding and tolerance.

Teach Tolerance has a helpful website (www.tolerance.org) that builds on a more positive view: "When hate flares up, good erupts." The website includes pages such as Tolerance Watch (hate and tolerance in the news), 10 Ways to Fight Hate, self-tests to discover one’s own levels of tolerance and hidden prejudices, and Dig Deeper (to explore hidden feelings and hidden history).

The goal of nurturing open-minded, empathetic children in a diverse world is a challenging one. Resources are provided at "For Parents: Tolerance at Home" (www.tolerance.org/tol_at_home), including a Caregivers Forum chat room and Planet Tolerance for children. "For Kids" has illustrated stories for children. "For Teachers" suggests numerous Show-and-Tell topic areas.

The "101 Tools for Tolerance" is a comprehensive list of ideas—things to do, to think about, and to remember for yourself, your home, school, workplace, and community—as well as suggestions of ways to share ideas with others.

As the website points out, "Even one person, acting from conscience, can neutralize bigotry. A group of people can create a moral barrier to hate."

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