Hatred, Bigotry, and Prejudice: Definitions, Causes & Solutions

Hatred, Bigotry, and Prejudice: Definitions, Causes & Solutions

Hatred, Bigotry, and Prejudice: Definitions, Causes & Solutions

Hatred, Bigotry, and Prejudice: Definitions, Causes & Solutions


The kidnaping and beating death of a gay University of Wyoming student; the dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Texas, by advocates of "white pride" -- these two isolated incidents of violent crime occurred in 1998, not 1898, and are painful reminders that bigotry and prejudice stubbornly remain well entrenched in American culture.

What, in today's seemingly enlightened society, compels a bigot? How do prejudice and hatred emerge, and sometimes lead to such horrific violence? What can be done to overcome this subversive social undercurrent?

Updated and augmented with new essays on crimes against religious groups, gay bashing, and current court cases, this is a concise and relevant collection of essays that pinpoints the definitions, origins, and outcomes of intolerance in America.


Dallas, TX: Three men ran up to two gay men eating in a park and began beating them. During the attack, the assailants called the victims "queers" and "fags." One of the victims, who was of Asian descent, also was called antiAsian slurs. After the beating, the perpetrators stood the victims up against a wall and shot them "execution style," killing one of the men and wounding the other.

Springfield, Missouri: Members of the Ku Klux Klan harassed and threatened a gay male couple after one of the men testified in support of a proposed local hate crimes ordinance. Robed Klan members regularly paraded outside their home, smashed the windows of their car, threw eggs and tomatoes at their house, and drove trucks through their yard, tearing up the lawn. The gay men finally moved to another town.

James Byrd. Matthew Shepard. Barnett Slepian. The names of these three men became common coin in America at the end of 1998. These men were murder victims, and their deaths became poignant reminders that hatred, along with the cruelty and barbarism that accompany it, remain integral to America's democratic culture. James Byrd was a forty-nine-year-old black man who lived in Jasper, Texas. Three white men -- John William King, Shawn Allen Berry, and Lawrence Russel Brewer -- are charged with Byrd's murder. King, Berry, and Brewer allegedly chained Byrd to the back of a pickup truck and dragged him behind the truck until his body came apart. Jasper County District Attorney, Guy . . .

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