Separate but Equal

Griffin Rites

Since the early 1900’s we have been characterized by our ever-changing diverse population known as a melting pot.

The term was popularized in the 1977 “School House Rock”. Some time in the last 15 years the metaphor has been referred to as a salad bowl, because despite how many religions, cultures and ethnicities America is home to, none have “melted” into one another; they only exist in unison.

The FBI defines a hate group as “an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, nation, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other designated sector of society.”
Hate crimes are a common occurrence within our nation, and have become more evident in mainstream media.

According to the Washington Post, the FBI’s most recent annual hate crime analysis revealed that there were 5,928 hate crimes last year.

However, the Southern Poverty Law Center claims that there are over 250,000 hate crimes every year, but almost all of them go unreported.

The students in the North Kansas City School District know the meaning of “hate crime” all too well. Last year, a Staley High School student was ran over by a man driving an SUV, and his legs were severed. After the incident, he was rushed to Children’s Mercy Hospital where he died later that day. In the following weeks, students from Staley High School began a group known as “Stop the Hate”.

Recently, transgender teen Landon Patterson, was voted homecoming queen at Oak Park High School. When the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka heard this, they immediately announced they would be protesting the school as a whole. On Thursday, Oct. 1, Westboro showed up to the school and protested.

Westboro did not commit a hate crime against Oak Park or against Landon, however, they did commit a hateful act. They are one of 784 hate groups in America, and Landon, who is only 17, did not deserve to be shamed for being her true self.

Even if America has hundreds of hate groups, we have a united community that never fails at coming together when the time is right.

Our state, our city, our community knows what hate crimes are all about, and we know how to come together when other people need support.