November 11, 1997 in City

Education Important In Fighting Hate Crimes

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Tolerance of other groups and cultures is not enough as the nation tries to fight hate crimes, Gonzaga University students and faculty said Monday.

“We tolerate root canals,” said Bob Bartlett, university director of cultural affairs. “We don’t embrace them. We don’t celebrate them. What we’re talking about today is to move beyond tolerance.”

Gathering after the White House Conference on Hate Crime, a panel of students and instructors urged education and peaceful confrontation to fight the crimes.

“It’s fine to say we must educate the kids,” said Karen Boone of Spokane. “I think it’s time we begin to educate the adults.”

Adults, she said, are usually responsible for hate crimes.

This spring, Boone received hate mail after her letter on sensitivity to ethnic diversity was published in The Spokesman-Review.

Students urged Gonzaga to make courses in diversity part of the university’s core curriculum, and to strengthen its commitment to affirmative action. They suggested expanding the definition of hate crime to include such things as date rape and abuse of the elderly.

Racist speech or behavior should be confronted, but the people responsible shouldn’t necessarily be shunned, students said. Instead, they should be cultivated as friends who can be persuaded to a new way of thinking.

“Reconciliation is possible only when issues are confronted face-to-face,” Bartlett said.

, DataTimes MEMO: See 2 related stories under the headlines:

1. Fighting hate

2. Mood hopeful after Clinton conference

See 2 related stories under the headlines: 1. Fighting hate 2. Mood hopeful after Clinton conference


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