teaching tolerance project was established by the Southern Poverty
Law Center in 1991. It is a part of an educational series meant
to fight hate crimes and to educate people, adults and children
alike about hate crimes.
The early 1990s was a period of growth for hate groups especially
among the youth. The Center recognized that something needed to
be done and the best way to do it was education. No matter what
the courts and laws do to punish the youth, it can not change
their vantage point and their attitude. The youth will do the
time but when they come out, they still feel the same.
Statistics show that people who commit hate crimes like Tiger
Knowles were "social misfits." In an insecure and intimidating
society, such youths find security and comfort in the presence
of hate groups like the Klan. They are not people much different
from you and I. As a child, one found comfort and security in
the arms of our parents. But when one grows up and reaches that
adolescent age, one can not run to the arms of one's parents for
comfort. You can't close your eyes and hope it goes away. Today
in high schools across America, kids get picked on everyday for
many reasons ranging from style of clothing to race and sexuality.
Whatever the reason, it causes insecurity among the people being
teased. Many students can go home and live about their lives without
caring too much. However, many others will seek shelter from the
hurt inside. The hurt and hate is real. Hatred of others comes
from hurt. That's why it's critical to reach out to the kids before
that hurt transforms into hatred. Teaching Tolerance is that kind
of program that reaches out to the youth to educate them about
tolerance and harmony in a society.
Statistics show that nearly a half of all the hate crimes committed
in the United States are committed by people under the age of
21. And this statistic is rising. Four out of ten people say they
support racial conflicts and or incidents deep down inside. It's
happened before. The annoying kid in the class got beat up and
under your breath, you whisper "he deserved it." Crimes in the
schools are rising. Kids are bringing in weapons for many reasons.
The bully brings them in to intimidate while the other brings
it in for protection. And the statistics show that every fifth
student in America carries a weapon in high school.
Something must be done to reach the youth. Some of the hate crimes
committed today by adults are heinous and even just as sickening.
But many of those people cannot be reached. However, if you can
not reach the youth, the future generation then perhaps you can
make a better America for tomorrow.
Using money from funs and donors, the teaching tolerance program
has conducted analysis on hate crimes and the people who committed
the crimes. From their analysis, they develop tactics to prevent
and deal with hate crimes whether they happen in the school or
in the community. There are guides which you can receive by writing
to the Southern Poverty Law Center at the following address. One
of the great things about this program is that almost everything
is free. If you choose to write to the center, you will receive
the information free of charge, even free of postage. We wrote
and were sent all their brochures and pamphlets on combating hate
in the community and hate in the school.