American Hate: Survivors Speak Out

American Hate: Survivors Speak Out

A moving and timely collection of testimonials from people impacted by hate speech and hate crimes before and after the 2016 presidential electionIn American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, Arjun Singh Sethi, a community activist and civil rights lawyer, chronicles the stories of individuals affected by hate. In a series of powerful, unfiltered testimonials, survivors tell thei...

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Title:American Hate: Survivors Speak Out
Author:Arjun Singh Sethi
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Edition Language:English

American Hate: Survivors Speak Out Reviews

  • David Wineberg

    American Hate tries not to be totally about Donald Trump, but it’s difficult. Trump sets the tone for the nation. He has validated hate in the USA, expressing it often himself, and promulgating executive orders to entrench it in American society. He is far worse than a bad example; he is causing significant increases in incidents of hate and intolerance across the country, from women in general to immigrant children in particular.

    Arjun Singh Sethi collected stories from across the country, and r

    American Hate tries not to be totally about Donald Trump, but it’s difficult. Trump sets the tone for the nation. He has validated hate in the USA, expressing it often himself, and promulgating executive orders to entrench it in American society. He is far worse than a bad example; he is causing significant increases in incidents of hate and intolerance across the country, from women in general to immigrant children in particular.

    Arjun Singh Sethi collected stories from across the country, and reconstituted them as chapters. Jews, Natives, the disabled, Muslims, and more. They are not lurid reporting; they are the view from the victims’ side: innocent bystanders, unintended consequences, legal and medical fallout. And very often, enduring PTSD. The stories are self-explanatory, hurtful, shameful and revolting. Sethi warns early on that “The promises of equality under the law and freedom from harm are often the most enduring and dangerous illusions of American life.”

    In the chapter on bullying, we learn that parents have the ability to block efforts to lessen it. In this case, a Sikh gave children lectures on his religion, to demystify it, to help reduce the bullying of a Sikh student at his California school. But parents removed their children from those lectures on the basis of religious freedom – the freedom to close minds to any but their own religion. They don’t even want to hear about it. The bullying is not their problem.

    In a chapter on anti-Semitism, we learn that social media are used to rally the stormtroops to harass and threaten Jews at will, with voicemail gunshots, threats, spam, editorials and marches. All that is necessary is for someone to be Jewish in the USA.

    For a trans man, there is a double whammy, as he is wheelchair-bound. “White supremacists now act with impunity, and think they have license to hurt others,” he says. He has given up identifying as trans. Dealing with disability is enough of a burden when confronting hate.

    Incredibly, hate crimes rarely result in convictions because of the requirement that hate be the sole motivation for the crime. If someone has an ongoing complaint, the murders he commits may not be hate crimes in the United States. It is so pointless that 17% of law enforcement agencies didn’t bother to report a single hate crime for the five years up to 2014. In 2016, 88% reported no hate crimes at all.

    In one particularly sickening story, a family in Tulsa was all but destroyed by a man who moved next door. He ran over the mother, got out on bail, and shot the eldest son who was talking to her on the phone from their front porch. They had called the police, but when the gunman, who had been shooting inside the house, did not answer, the police simply left. The family’s offense? They are Lebanese, in Tulsa for decades.

    Hate has been normalized. Boys and men are parroting the president, Sethi says. One in six girls now complains of being groped in school.

    It might be like a scene from a bad medieval movie, but more than 800 churches find they must provide sanctuary to those hiding from ICE. The mayor of Berkeley leaks word of its plans so immigrants can hide. The governor of California has tried to pardon immigrants in advance. That is what has become of “freedom” and the state of hatred. Clearly, the government is not about to help, since it is the cause.

    Sethi says we need a new kind of support group, a hate victims support group, where they can heal together, and the community can understand what is happening. Because it is not just the individuals who are affected by these incidents. Whole communities become disoriented and fearful after a shooting or a stabbing. The work of one lone hater has far reaching and long lingering effects. This goes beyond the big, national protest groups which organize marches, petitions and lawsuits. At the human level, there is gratuitous destruction of families, communities and lives.

    The Conclusion of American Hate is 25 pages of resources and hope. There is all kinds of activity battling hate. Sethi says it must come from the bottom up, but I disagree. As long as the leadership of the country signals it is desirable to discriminate, things will continue to deteriorate. The day Donald Trump hugs a Palestinian immigrant, the whole world will change.

    David Wineberg

  • Jade

    Sometimes I try to put myself into the position of the person who doesn’t see the extent to which white supremacy is embedded into the US past and present, and if this current administration has anything to do with it, well into the future. I try to see what they see, or don’t see, and it makes me feel slightly helpless, as how can we prove to these people that they are continuing to allow hate to be perpetuated through their society, just by not seeing it happen right in front of their noses. M

    Sometimes I try to put myself into the position of the person who doesn’t see the extent to which white supremacy is embedded into the US past and present, and if this current administration has anything to do with it, well into the future. I try to see what they see, or don’t see, and it makes me feel slightly helpless, as how can we prove to these people that they are continuing to allow hate to be perpetuated through their society, just by not seeing it happen right in front of their noses. Maybe, just maybe, if they read this book they would have a better idea of why silence is complicity.

    American Hate is a collection of testimonials from people who have been affected by prejudice, racism, hate, mainly around and after the 2016 election. Arjun Singh Sethi has collected stories from a variety of voices: undocumented people, POC, disabled, transgender, queer, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, and so on, and lets them tell their stories in their own words. Some of these stories made national headlines, others you may never have heard about before, but they all must be heard, and they are all extremely shocking, and may also be triggering for many.

    Arjun Singh Sethi provides an excellent foreword and afterword with information on how we can make positive change with resistance and our voices and actions, as well as how we can be allies, and/or protect ourselves, depending on our situation. We are currently in a country where white supremacy, oppression, and hatred are the main course for those in power, and while they feed on these evils, more and more people are suffering in private and in public from their legacy. These are the testimonials that need a spotlight on them, and need to be shoved in people’s faces until they understand that dismissal and non-reaction to hatred is a huge part of the problem.

    We must never let these voices be silenced. Thanks to The New Press and Netgalley for the advance copy of this book!

  • Ben Truong

    is a collection of testimonials collected and written by Arjun Singh Sethi and chronicles the stories of individuals affected by hate – particularly in racism. It is a collection of thirteen testimonials, which frankly is thirteen too many.

    For the most part, I rather liked most of the contributions in this anthology and as a person of color and immigrant, I related to each and every one of these testimonials. Fortunately, my experiences with hate and racism wer

    is a collection of testimonials collected and written by Arjun Singh Sethi and chronicles the stories of individuals affected by hate – particularly in racism. It is a collection of thirteen testimonials, which frankly is thirteen too many.

    For the most part, I rather liked most of the contributions in this anthology and as a person of color and immigrant, I related to each and every one of these testimonials. Fortunately, my experiences with hate and racism were not so vile or terrifying, but it could have been.

    This book is a series of powerful, unfiltered testimonials, survivors tell their stories in their own words and describe how with the current administration have intensified the bullying, discrimination, and even violence towards them and their communities. Hate has always been around – mostly hidden and done in secret, but with the current administration – it seems that they are embolden and not so hidden anymore.

    Diversity is the strength of this collection, which includes the Indigenous, Black, Arab, Latinx, South Asians, South-East Asian, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, the Undocumented, refugee, transgender, queer, and people with disabilities both physical and psychological. It shows the cruelty that humanity could possess. However, in the final pages of the book, there is a sentiment of hope – a hope for the future – a hope for change – hope.

    All in all,

    is a wonderfully written book of testimonials of horrific experience dealing with racism and hate that is still prevalent in the world today.

  • Roger Smitter

    There is little surprise that the opening pages of this book focus on Donald Trump’s position about immigrants coming in the US. Sethi gives us some insights about how to deal with anti-immigration theme.

    On page 3, Sethi tells us that Trump has “emboldened, empowered, enabled, facilitated and legitimized the very worst of America: racism, xenophobia, Islamaophiopia, sexism, anti-Semitism,homophobia,transphobia,ableism, and anti-immigrant hostility.” The author holds nothing back in his claim ab

    There is little surprise that the opening pages of this book focus on Donald Trump’s position about immigrants coming in the US. Sethi gives us some insights about how to deal with anti-immigration theme.

    On page 3, Sethi tells us that Trump has “emboldened, empowered, enabled, facilitated and legitimized the very worst of America: racism, xenophobia, Islamaophiopia, sexism, anti-Semitism,homophobia,transphobia,ableism, and anti-immigrant hostility.” The author holds nothing back in his claim about the President: “He is a racist and an sexist, and his ideologies are white supremacy and greed.” (P. 3). “Now that he is President, he is exercising the worst form of the bully pulpit.” (P. 5)

    Having made this powerful claim, Sethi gives us 13 chapters from persons who have experienced anti-immigratation attacks. Most are immigrants. While all of the 13 chapters are worthy of our attention, a few stand out like a red flag.

    Syrian Asmara Albukaie lived in Boise, ID, a place with some welcoming people and many who want her gone from the community.

    Jeannette Vizguerra is bold in telling us whe is undocumented AND works as a prominent activist in her community.

    Tanya Gersh finds some words of humor in her experience as a wedding planner in rural Montana.

    Khalid Abu Dawas tells us about his activisism for Palestinians in the US.

    There’s some irony that the last chapter when we learn about the injustice experienced by Native Americans.

    The chapters are diverse in details and mode of argument. Each chapter works as a case study of what is wrong and what should be done.

    I can imagine this book in upper level undergraduate courses that focus on sociology, psychology, and anthropology. I can also see it becoming useful in book clubs.

  • Ruby

    "We cannot flatten our diverse experiences and singular struggles in America and strip away their uniqueness. But we can learn from one another, understand what we have in common, build solidarity across our communities. We combat hate by understanding the history and many manifestations of white supremacy. This single ideology is responsible for some of the greatest tragedies in modern history, and much of what we see and feel today is just its latest incarnation."

    "Speaking out is the most basi

    "We cannot flatten our diverse experiences and singular struggles in America and strip away their uniqueness. But we can learn from one another, understand what we have in common, build solidarity across our communities. We combat hate by understanding the history and many manifestations of white supremacy. This single ideology is responsible for some of the greatest tragedies in modern history, and much of what we see and feel today is just its latest incarnation."

    "Speaking out is the most basic and vital form of resistance."

    "A lot of Americans have never traveled outside the U.S. They've never visited a Muslim country, had a Muslim friend, or met a refugee. Americans need to know and hear our stories, and put themselves in our shoes. Their ancestors probably came here for a better life, too. How would they feel if they were targeted because of their race or faith?"

    "From our inception, we always recognized that our liberation was tied to others'. This country was founded on the genocide of indigenous communities and the slavery of black people. Our liberation required their liberation, too. That's why we've been quick to join struggles like Black Lives Matter and the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline."

    "The same foes, just a different face. We never had any illusions about Obama or any of his predecessors. There's a larger system, divorced from presidents and even political parties, that disenfranchises and targets us."

    "I don't think a leader alone can make a person do something. But a leader can exploit a person's inner fears and beliefs and make it more likely for that person to act on those fears and beliefs."

    "I can't control what America thinks, but I can work to reform the community right in front of me. Every day is an opportunity. A chance to write, create, and build. We have so much agency in our communities. Write a poem, provide a platform, convene a meeting. Do the little things."

    "It's the determination to carry on. Our existence is resistance against colonialism and the false system that seeks to separate us from ourselves, each other, Mother Earth, and Wakantanka (the Great Mystery)."

    "There is no elixir to cure bigotry and hate in America because it runs so deep in our history, and individuals and communities experience it very differently. But I observed commonalities among survivors and their communities that should inform our analysis going forward."

    "It is often said that conservatives define bigotry in terms of intention, and liberals define it in terms of impact. That may at times be a fair distinction, but it has collapsed under the Trump administration."

    "There us no moral equivalence between racism and inclusion, or misogyny and equality, but we are still capable of radical empathy."

    "Over the years there have been those who have instilled in me a love for words. This affection has little to do with advocacy or persuasion. It is about art and the beauty of writing. It is about seeking shelter in words when you cannot find it elsewhere. I am grateful to everyone who has fostered and nurtured this love."

  • Katie

    Hate seeks to silence so it is all the more important to hear these voices of survivors of hate crimes in the USA. History is being written now and we need to face these stories head on and try to make a bridge of understanding between people. As diverse as the authors of these stories are, they all have the common experience of dealing with the increased hatred and bigotry of Americans. We, as readers, have the power to hear them and stand up to say that this is not this is not acceptable and t

    Hate seeks to silence so it is all the more important to hear these voices of survivors of hate crimes in the USA. History is being written now and we need to face these stories head on and try to make a bridge of understanding between people. As diverse as the authors of these stories are, they all have the common experience of dealing with the increased hatred and bigotry of Americans. We, as readers, have the power to hear them and stand up to say that this is not this is not acceptable and this is not the US that we want to have.

    I am reviewing an electronic ARC copy of this book through NetGalley.

  • Jeff

    Highly political, this book records the horrendous accounts of hate experienced by people from many different backgrounds. There are many references to the escalation of fear and hate in 'Trump's America'. Our system is failing. These stories needed to be told and HEARD. Hate in America is one of the biggest sins against humanity. American Hate personalizes the stories we hear almost daily in the news and makes them human-- unforgettable.

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an ho

    Highly political, this book records the horrendous accounts of hate experienced by people from many different backgrounds. There are many references to the escalation of fear and hate in 'Trump's America'. Our system is failing. These stories needed to be told and HEARD. Hate in America is one of the biggest sins against humanity. American Hate personalizes the stories we hear almost daily in the news and makes them human-- unforgettable.

    I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  • Mike

    The strength of this book is in the stories it tells of individuals who have been targets of hate. It is only through these stories that we get a sense of these people’s lives, their lives experience and how the incidents of hate affected them. Too often the narrative focuses on concepts, such as community organizing, intersectionality, etc. I felt as if the writers were reciting from bullet pointed power points in trying to convey the need to fight against hate. A little more real life in their

    The strength of this book is in the stories it tells of individuals who have been targets of hate. It is only through these stories that we get a sense of these people’s lives, their lives experience and how the incidents of hate affected them. Too often the narrative focuses on concepts, such as community organizing, intersectionality, etc. I felt as if the writers were reciting from bullet pointed power points in trying to convey the need to fight against hate. A little more real life in their stories would have been welcome by this reader.

  • Martha Toll

    My review for NPR

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