Some Thoughts on the Stop the Hate Campaign

Some Thoughts on the Stop the Hate Campaign
The rise in hate crimes throughout California and across the United States has created widespread calls for action, with funding provided for this series by the California State Library under the statewide Stop the Hate initiative.

By Alexia Baca Morgan

I am a 65-year-old Hispanic female from Albuquerque, N.M., who lives in Fresno. In my childhood, which took place in the 1960s and 1970s, my family and many Black and Brown families were supportive of the Jews and Blacks. The reason was the historical context.

We had Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for a role model. My father, although the son of a widow, volunteered to go to World War II as a 17-year-old. As children, our parents told us that they wanted to let us know what was going on in the country. They took us to the Deep South where we saw the riots. They took us to the hot spots in the Bay Area and Los Angeles for observation.

My childhood bookends: in my first semester of the first grade, President John Kennedy was assassinated, whereas in my senior year of high school President Richard Nixon resigned.

I came from an informed family and community; we were actively encouraged to support Jewish and Black people. To prepare me for the first grade, my mother said, “You’re going to go to school and they are going to tell you, ‘don’t play with those children over there, cause they’re Black as midnight.’ You tell them, ‘I’m a quarter to 12 myself, and I most certainly will play with those children.’”

We had people come to the door asking us to sign a petition to keep a Black family out of the neighborhood. I observed my mother say, “The only way I’m going to sign that petition is if it’s a letter of congratulations because they had to work twice as hard as me to get into the neighborhood and three times as hard as you.” 

I had role modeling both as a Hispanic and as a Catholic to stand up. We supported the New Mexico Lobos basketball team. My parents, family and community stood up against the Brigham Young University team with our fists raised proudly. This took place right at the basketball games in response to their racism. It took, as my dad said, the church, the community and the family.

Now things are different. People who are younger than me did not live through the 1960s and 1970s. My cousin Louise Baca pointed out that as baby boomer cousins, all 40 of us did not seem like we were from the same generation.

She pointed out that the cousins born after 1960 were not the same as the cousins born before 1960. They did not live through the assassinations or the civil rights issues with the same consciousness that we had. They did not have our dedication because they did not live it.

I think a big part of misunderstanding and hatefulness is because of different experiences. They did not have friends march in the Bataan death march as my dad did. They did not stand up for Black children in elementary school as my mother did.

Fast forward to California in the 2010s, and I’m watching a film with the Progressive Democrats of America that included Jewish people in the United States calling out Israeli Jews for their treatment of Palestinians. Sometimes within the same Jewish family, some are supporting Israel and some Palestine.

Stopping the hate also requires knowing the timeframe one was born in and the timeframes other people were born in. For me, American Jewish people standing up against the policies of Israel was unheard of when I was a child.

Rather than dismissing a person who disagrees with you wholly, it is important to understand why people think differently than you do.

Another way to look at stopping the hate is that we are distorting time. Another recent example that might seem innocuous was on a Steve Colbert monologue where he told the joke that while searching Joe Biden’s home there were notes from back in the 1970s.

He said an open handwritten note said “Be-bop-baluba she’s my baby.” The difficulty was that the song was from the 1950s, not the 1970s. For those of us who lived through it, the 1950s were very different from the 1970s. You might just say that it was a joke, yet the distortion of time can be a big part of hate culture.

If we are meant to believe that nothing that bad was going on, for example, for Black and Brown people and that they are just playing the system to get into school easier or we should be treated better and that white lives matter too, then we are not seeing the realities of an uneven playing field that was apparent in the 1960s and 1970s.

The way we see ourselves can be distorted. My 34-year-old daughter and I were talking about time, and I told her that there was a song called “Louie Louie” that horrified our parents. I even asked my principal what was so terrifying about the song.

My daughter looked up the song on Google and found that it referred to Robert F. Kennedy, who was the U.S. attorney general at the time. The song was referred to the FBI for investigation, but it concluded there weren’t any pornographic lyrics.

This seemed absolutely crazy and so repressed to me. But younger people would have to understand that I grew up in a repressed time.

It is important in the Stop the Hate campaign that we stop warring against each other and try to understand where the other person is coming from and where their individual differences such as age, gender, race and even birth order lead them.

One project that I liked is people can visit a library and instead of reading books several people can be sitting. One person might be Hispanic, one gay and another straight and you can go up to that person and ask questions, period.

Also, to stop the hate we have to understand that the idea of faith, family and friends has expanded in the 21st century. People are more mobile, don’t necessarily live with their families or go to church with them, and we don’t often have the same group of people living around them for many years.

When I worked for the State of California, a Hispanic woman told me that she hadn’t talked to a Black woman before working with her and she was surprised how similar their cultures were.

We have to be more open to healing and celebrating the differences that backgrounds bring. We need to be able to listen to each other and not rush to judgment. Finally, we need to be able to listen to people different from ourselves who might be able to teach us something that we don’t yet know. It is fortunate that we have Google, Wikipedia, YouTube and the like because we can utilize them to find out not only about other people but also a lot more about ourselves.


Alexia Baca Morgan is a good friend, family member and community member. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice and works hard to be a better person, with partial success.

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