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Editorials

Hate Comes to Our Home

By The Crimson Editorial Board
This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

A few weeks ago, members of a neo-Nazi group came to Cambridge, where they threatened and intimidated local residents right in the heart of our campus. Donning masks and apparel touting NSC-131, a white supremacist organization based in New England, the individuals disrupted an anarchist book fair at the Democracy Center. The NSC-131’s jarring and alarming march should really be a wakeup call to a frightening movement that has been gaining momentum across the country.

This incident is part of a larger alarming trend of increased white supremacist and antisemitic activity in the U.S., which we condemn wholeheartedly. Hate against any group has no place in our discourse, and we unequivocally denounce all neo-Nazi hate groups, including NSC-131.

Though NSC-131’s presence is shocking and upsetting, it would be irresponsible to allow impending occurrences like these to continue surprising us. NSC-131 is only one organization within a broader movement for white power, which has swelled over the past several years under the Trump administration, which culminated in the Jan. 6th riots. Since Donald Trump’s departure from office, white supremacist hatred has continued, and Trump’s announcement that he will pursue a third bid for the presidency will only add fuel to the fire. Shootings against marginalized groups — like the racist rampage in Buffalo and the recent homophobic massacre in Colorado — are unlikely to cease soon.

In particular, hate crimes against the Jewish people have been rising around the globe. From Pittsburgh to Poway, Jewish communities have found themselves under attack in recent years, and Jews remain the most tormented religious group in the U.S. This uptick in attacks is merely a manifestation of a millennia-old phenomenon of hatred directed at the Jewish people — from the blood libel of the Middle Ages to the Pogroms in Europe, and from the persecution of Soviet Russia to the white supremacy during the Holocaust and today. The hatred we saw in Cambridge is nothing new.

Boston is no exception to this trend. During last summer’s Fourth of July weekend, the white-supremacist group Patriot Front marched the Freedom Trail with signage reading “Reclaim America.” In another instance, unidentified members allegedly attacked a Black passerby in Boston. That same summer, NSC-131 targeted a Boston drag-queen’s “story hour.” These are but a few examples of what is certainly a proliferation of white supremacy in Boston.

Hatred is not easily combated. We can more tangibly focus on its impacts: threats to the safety of the community. NSC-131’s activity took place just outside of Quincy House, and members of the group were caught “lunging and shouting” at people across the street. Though this threat was not directly targeted at students, it still raises concerns about campus safety. To ensure a safer campus, Harvard should ensure security forces are equipped to handle potential attacks on campus. This does not mean increasing police presence, as we have opined in the past, but directing some sort of pared-down security team to protect Harvard’s students.

Another way to combat hate is by improving Holocaust education across the country, which will help Americans understand the harmful potential consequences of white supremacist rhetoric. Though 19 states require public school Holocaust education curriculum, the remaining 31 states do not. One 2020 survey revealed the distressing reality that while most adults know what the Holocaust was and when it happened, only 45 percent of respondents could state the correct number of victims. Accurate, comprehensive Holocaust education can inform individuals about the dangers associated with hatred and discrimination, and is crucial in combatting prejudice and acts of hate. Higher standards for Holocaust education must be achieved to ensure that people adequately understand the history and truth of the Holocaust.

We are saddened to see hateful groups come to the place that we call home, but we can no longer treat these events like one-off incidents. White supremacy is still marching across our country and we must be ready to fight it. Although hate has come to our home, it is our duty to make sure it finds no home here.

This staff editorial solely represents the majority view of The Crimson Editorial Board. It is the product of discussions at regular Editorial Board meetings. In order to ensure the impartiality of our journalism, Crimson editors who choose to opine and vote at these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on similar topics.

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