Why should we care about hate?

Harassment, bias, and hate incidents happen everywhere. Some are high-profile incidents, such as the murders of Matthew Shepard; many more are just as horrific but fail to be reported or to garner as much media attention. Many more bias incidents begin on a smaller scale: vandalism or graffiti written on a bulletin board, threats, racist/sexist/homophobic or otherwise offensive humor, or injury. All too often, we become desensitized to these “smaller” transgressions based on the lack of trust of authority, fear of further attacks or the hurt and humiliation that is involved with not being believed or being told that the act was “random “ or “harmless.” However, these often seen “little incidents” tend to build into much larger concerns, creating a hostile climate for the people they target and the larger community. These incidents negatively affect individual’s ability to grow, flourish, learn or even carry out everyday functions easily. These incidents can harm the quality of life for everyone.

If we don’t have an accurate record of harassment, and bias incidents on our campus, we won’t know how to most effectively address it. Addressing these issues become every community member’s responsibility.

How can we prevent hate/bias incidents?

Awareness is an important first step in addressing acts of hate or bias. Knowing what constitutes a hate/bias incident, the frequency of which they are occurring and the nature of the incidents can assist in knowing how to best respond to the victims, perpetrators, and the larger community.

Taking an active role is also important. If you think that someone you know has experienced a hate or bias incident, encourage her or him to report it. It you think that someone you know has perpetrated a hate or bias incident, it is your responsibility to report that person. If you hear someone joking about hate-based or bias-based actions, even if you think that person would never commit an act, challenge her or him. Hate and bias are never funny, and such jokes are deeply threatening to people who might be victimized by such actions.

Engage in opportunities to build community and learn about other members of the Macalester community. When we care about the people around us we are more likely to want to engage in behaviors that support our fellow community members’ well-being. Through relationships with others we can learn more about our cultural differences, experiences, and histories and minimize the potential to hurt others, even unintentionally., a project run by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has a variety of tools and resources on their website for students, faculty and administrators at

Adapted from the Whitman College website: