American Hate: Lessons from Survivors

This lesson raises awareness of hate crimes and their impact through survivor testimonials included in American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, edited by Arjun Singh Sethi (The New Press, 2018).

Hate crimes and hate groups are increasing, including in schools. According to the FBI, there were 7,175 hate crimes in 2017, representing a 17 percent increase from 2016. While this statistic is alarming, the real number of hate crimes in 2017 was closer to 250,000.

Through a mystery activity, participants investigate why hate crimes are underreported and undercounted. Participants create an intervention project based on the recommendations of survivors. As a result, they learn about the positive role that activism can have in their lives and the lives of others.

This lesson is included in the “Islamophobia: a people’s history teaching guide” because Muslims are one of many groups who have experienced an increase in hate crimes. Anti-Muslim hate groups grew from five in 2010 to 114 in 2017. Anti-Muslim assaults rose significantly between 2015 and 2016, exceeding the number of assaults reported in the year after the 9/11 attacks. Bullying of students of color, including Muslims, is increasing. In this lesson, participants learn who else is being targeted in the rising nationalist tide and what they can do about it.


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See photos from a memorial to honor the victims and survivors of a deadly 2017 knife attack aboard a MAX train at the Hollywood station in Northeast Portland. Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Rick Best were fatally stabbed after intervening when a man hurled slurs at two teenage girls. A third man, Micah Fletcher, was seriously injured. The story of the girls targeted in the attack, Destiny Mangum and Walia Mohamed, is highlighted in this lesson. Credit: Photographs courtesy of Ursula Wolfe-Rocca.



Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2019 |

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