Letter: Hate speech has consequences

I felt compelled to respond to some of the letters to the editor in your paper.

According to M.W., “Racism - a belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” Racism is not just reserved for the Black community but for Black, Indigenous, Asian Pacific, Latino, or other people of color. When words are used against those communities, they are used to demean and dehumanize an entire population of people. It targets a specific group of people because of their race. It is absolute racism. It can be hate speech.

Sadly, we see more using hate speech decry their First Amendment right at the same time they trample the rights of others to feel safe in their own communities.

Words matter. We can’t unsee the video of the 65-year-old Asian woman in NYC who was kicked to the ground and dealt multiple blows to her head. We cannot unlearn of the eight people murdered at a FedEx facility, including Sikh and South Asian women, or of Chinese women born and raised in the United States attacked as responsible for COVID-19. Racism undeniably impacts women of all races, but specifically women of color. One has only to turn on the nightly news to see yet another story of violence against women. Hate speech is not OK. It has consequences.

Gary Lang is a sponsor of many activities and events in the area. Systemic racism includes taking money from an entity of power and influence that conveys such malice to people of color. Another definition of racism – “the systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another.”

People have choices. They can support those activities and organizations that endorse racism, when accepting sponsorship or they can spend their hard-earned dollars at events and businesses that promote the well-being and safety of all in our community.

Finally, one gentleman suggested that people are getting insulted too easily. He felt “we should just ignore them, and they will go away.” No, we won’t. We cannot acknowledge this as acceptable behavior.

Anna Gifford

President, McHenry County Chapter of the National Organization for Women