This article is an excerpt from
V. M. GOPAUL
On 2018, November 28, CNN published an article titled “On America’s State of Hate.” Reporters Simon Mallory and Sara Sidner started the expose with the premise that, in 2008, the election of President Obama had caused the venom of hatred to be released by certain groups but not by all Americans. To prove their point, the writers list many incidents and stats from the last ten years:
- The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates there were 250,000 hate crime victimizations a year between 2004 and 2015.
- The article lists some of the unarmed black men killed, often by police officers, between 2012 and 2016, namely, Trayvon Martin (2012), Michael Brown (2014), Laquan McDonald (2014), Tamir Rice (2014), Walter Scott (2015), and Alton Sterling (2016).
- On 2015, June 17, a gunman massacred nine people praying at a predominantly black church in South Carolina.
- On 2016, July 9, a black man murdered five cops in Dallas.
- On 2018, October 27, a gunman stormed into a synagogue, killing 11 worshipers and declaring “all Jews must die,” the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.
- Besides the blacks and Jews, incidents of racism against Latinos, Muslims, and other minorities are on the rise.
These incidences of violence show how hatred is overtaking love. It is also a land where social discourse has been diminished to shouting; no one is listening. A power grab is the ultimate pursuit in the battle of tribal ideology. Seemingly, the divide is so vast that any appearance of justice is rotten at the core. The decline of a great nation is echoed in all corners. Where is the hope?
Steven Pinker, the author of Enlightenment Now, has a different verdict on the world in which we live. A review of this book stated, “Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom that play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.”
If we look around with discerning eyes, we can see a lot of good happening all around us. In many cases, bad behavior invokes goodness in us. Progress happens, though at small incremental steps, when society seems to be in chaos. But an enlightened soul sees an opportunity and reacts in a positive way. Corey Fleischer is a great example of how to make our world a better place to live.
On his way to work one day, Corey noticed a swastika spray-painted on a street corner. This sight bothered him so much that he changed the appointment to see his client for his power-washing company in Montreal and returned to the offending graffiti. As he erased the sign of hatred with the force of the spray, Corey was embraced by euphoria. “This feeling came over me that I’ve been searching for my whole life. Now I needed that feeling again.”
Proud of his Jewish heritage and able to remove the anti-Semitic symbol, Corey committed to erasing graffiti promoting all kinds of hate, including messages of homophobia, Islamophobia, and slander against visible minorities. What’s in his heart comes out easily. He said, “It’s about being a good person. Forget stereotypes, forget about religion, and forget about putting people into groups. It’s about being a good person and about doing the right thing.”
His work has garnered international attention, and he gets requests for help every day from places all over the world. If Fleischer can’t physically get to your location, he’ll arrange for someone else to help out. If you’d like to help you can contact him at https://www.facebook.com/ErasingHate/ and @Erasinghate on Instagram
We all want to do good—whether it’s for ourselves or our loved ones, the planet, or society at large. No matter how big or small, good deeds carry a double punch—we make a positive impact, and we feel great at the same time. Honoring that happy ripple effect in sixty different countries is International Good Deeds Day. Set for April 10, 2016, it is a yearly celebration of doing good around the world. The website (goodnet.org) lists fifty-two ideas to make a positive change to the world around you. Here are ten of them:
1. Let your first check of the year be to charity.
2. Help a friend in need.
3. Volunteer for an hour at an organization of your choice.
4. Save electricity by unplugging your devices when not in use.
5. Buy a gift for your mother or grandmother—just because.
6. Allow a fellow driver to merge into your lane.
7. Write a thank-you note to someone who won’t expect it.
8. Find unneeded items in your house and donate them to a charitable organization.
9. Plant a tree.
10. Think of something you do well and use your talent to benefit others—for example performing magic tricks at a children’s hospital or playing music at a nursing home.
In the Baha’i Faith it is said, “The betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds and commendable and seemly conduct.”