Hate Speech on the Rise – PBS39.org

Posted By on November 3, 2020

WEISSPORT, Pa. (WLVT) - Karla Nappi brought her son to the Weissport playground and found swastikas and KKK symbols carved and spray-painted into the equipment.

You dont want your kids to see these symbols and get used to seeing them and think its normal because its not, and thats why I think they need to be removed right away. Because if kids keep seeing them on a daily basis then theyre just going to think its status quo," says Nappi.

The vandalism has been removed by the borough, but no one was caught.

Shira Goodman is regional director at the Anti-Defamation League.

For many years, up until about 2013, we were seeing a decrease in anti-Semitic incidents across the country. And since about 2013, or 2014, theres been a steady increase. This year we recorded the most ever, Pennsylvania was the second-highest that we ever recorded, and Pennsylvania was fifth in the nation," says Goodman.

A sign along Route 61 in Schuylkill County concerned another area mother. It advertises a website, nowhiteguilt.org.

Its really unfortunate because my child, we come by here often, and he has asked me what does that mean. We had to explain to him that its racist and its not OK, and all I could think of is how many other kids are seeing that," says the mother who didn't want her full name published.

Police say this is covered by the First Amendment. Still, they urge the public to report incidents of hate so they can have accurate statistics. The Heritage Affairs Section of the Pennsylvania State Police trains troopers on implicit bias and responding to hate crimes. Recently, it expanded.

Goodman says the Anti-Defamation League supports the First Amendment, and that the best way to combat hate speech is with more anti-hate speech and education.

"Look, everybody has innate bias, and we have to own that and recognize it and then we can combat it in the way that we behave," Goodman says. "Hate is very much learned though, so it can be unlearned. We are not born hating.

Officials say they believe hate is under-reported, and they encourage anyone who sees hate in their community to contact state police or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Coalition.

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Hate Speech on the Rise - PBS39.org

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