A sociological view of hate in America

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Recent events highlight what we have been saying about this country more and more recently: there is an acceptance and/or tolerance of hate in society.

In the past week alone, one man sent pipe bombs to critics of President Trump, and another man attacked a synagogue and killed 11 people. In fact, the Pittsburgh shooter, as the Washington Post reported, said, “I just want to kill Jews.”

Now, people would look at these, and other events, and say that there is a hate culture in America.

One common definition of culture is the values, norms and practices that a group holds true, so when people say there is a hate culture in America, what they are technically saying is that as a society, we are violent and tolerate and encourage violence. 

I do not believe this is true.

That is not to say that I think there is no hate and violent practices or ideals at all — there clearly are. 

What I mean is that as a whole, this country would be more in favor of peace and acceptance, rather than promoting violence and hate.

The recent attacks, as well as others that have happened since Trump’s emergence as a presidential candidate and through his term, are what I believe to be the emergence of a subculture: the ‘hate’ culture.

Hate cultures are nothing new, and, if we wanted to do research and count them all, there are probably a billion in America. There can be hate cultures toward a race, or you and others could simply hate your favorite sports team’s rival.

Either way, a group of people hold true the practices and norms of something, even if it just means you and your buddies burn a Cubs jersey every time they play.

But when I say this hate culture is emerging, I do not mean that it is new and up-and-coming, I mean that it is presenting itself more, it is more active.

This hate culture, which I will call a counterculture because it goes against the dominant or prevalent norms and ideals of the people, is just gaining momentum and steam because of Trump.

Again, this is nothing new.

It happens all the time.

You are scared to go against the popular trend because your opinion is unpopular, but when others start to voice their same opinion, you now feel that you can share it too.

Applying this to Trump, he has blatantly said and expressed in the past discontention toward certain people, for example Muslims with the travel bans. Or, when he says that Mexicans are taking our jobs and doing all the crimes.

There were people who definitely shared these views, but when a half-black man is in office, you are not likely to share your hate ideals to the wider populous. And that is not to say hate crimes did not happen when President Obama was in office.

But now that someone has gotten to the Oval Office with these radical views, anyone with them, and extreme enough to do so, now feels like they can act on them and express them more freely.

Stories from the Washington Post, the NAACP and USA Today will back me up in saying that hate crimes have increased since Trump took office. A Washington Post story from March 23 mentions three men conspired to bomb a mosque and building in Kansas that housed many Somali Muslim refugees.

Even looking at cases beyond just race, there seems to be a strong rejection of and criticism toward the feminist movement. The acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community also has taken a lot of criticism and hate.

Lastly, political party lines seem to be divided more than ever. 

And yet, this counterculture is still thriving.

Personally, I do not think even Democrats winning a majority of races coming up will help.

I think that Trump being out of office is the only way for this counterculture to take a hit. Because as long as he is in office, and he continues to spout slanders against people and ethnic groups, the mob will follow.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].