SPLC: Teaching Tolerance

The 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.


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