In Michigan, the fight isn’t over statues, but immigrants

John Austin

John Austin directs the Michigan Economic Center and is former president of the Michigan State Board of Education.

Earlier this month, we as a nation bore witness to one of the most intense displays of racially motivated terror most of us can recall. We watched as white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, Va., spouting hateful rhetoric, clashing with counter-protesters and killing a young woman. These events, along with renewed debates over removal of Confederate statues tend to concentrate the nation’s racial divides and discussion on the South. But this is a mistake.

The alleged Charlottesville killer traveled from Maumee, Ohio. Michiganders from a group calling itself the “Detroit Right Wings” were visible at the rally, parading an altered logo of the Detroit Red Wings, leading the hockey team to disavow them.

The reality is that the sharpest black-white racial divides and most intense segregation in the country are in the older industrial-city regions of Michigan and the upper Midwest. And the most intense reaction of fear to today’s immigrants of color has come from our own communities, fears Donald Trump preyed on as our states helped elect him president. 

Four of the 25 most segregated metropolitan areas in the country are in Michigan, and 15 of those are in Rust Belt states.

Incredibly, we are only now beginning to fully acknowledge and understand why this is so. New books like Richard Rothstein’s “The Color of Law” detail the truth that has always been there to see: Federal home loan and GI Bill policies built and enforced segregated neighborhoods in and around the northern cities. School construction and attendance rules followed and enforced strict segregation. Urban renewal and highway building destroyed black communities and aided white flight.

The 50-year anniversary of the Detroit riots also helped many more to see the event as those in the black community lived it – as a rebellion, a scream for an end to racial injustice and discrimination. And while Detroit erupted in flames, Flint and Saginaw, Benton Harbor and Muskegon all followed the same arc of development, without the gunfire: White professionals and factory worker families fled the cities for suburban enclaves, small towns and rural hinterlands.

And now playing into Michigan’s racially charged landscape is the role of the immigrant.  As factories closed in our once-thriving Michigan manufacturing towns, and our children left for greener pastures, the new people coming to Michigan and Midwest communities have been immigrants, Immigrants that today are largely people of color. More likely to hail from India, Mexico, El Salvador, Iraq, Somalia, and Pakistan than Poland, Ireland, Italy, Germany or the Netherlands.

Michigan desperately needs these immigrants. Fact: Michigan was the only state to lose population from 2000-2010, and would still be losing population today if not for a 25 percent increase in legal immigrants. Fact: All the growth in Macomb County’s population has come from people of color, led by a 34 percent increase in African-Americans, a 27 percent increase in Asians, a 14 percent increase in Latino populations, and a 12 percent increase in non-native citizens. And even though Michigan’s immigrants are twice as likely to be highly educated, and much more likely to start a business that employs other Michiganders than folks born here, demagogues like President Trump call them murderers, rapists and job-killers, purposefully fanning fears of “the other.”

Our fears of our fellow man are revealed in the stark patterns of racial and ethnic residency patterns in Metro Detroit. The city of Detroit’s population is over 80 percent African American, while its surrounding suburbs are, in the main, mostly white. Maps of Flint, Saginaw, and other communities reveal similarly stark racial borders.

Our racial divides color everything we do or try to do in Michigan. We see a boiling resentment in communities where control of schools and government are taken by Lansing from people of color. We don’t take a burgeoning water crisis in Flint seriously until it’s too late, because leaders don’t or won’t hear its people. We can’t pass a desperately needed Detroit regional transit system in part because leaders don’t or won’t help constituents overcome fears of “outsiders” overrunning their communities.

We must acknowledge that our strict racial divides did not arise organically. Intentional actions brought us here, and only intentional and purposeful actions can get us to a different and better place. There are embers of hope and action that must be fanned to flames. Some, like Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, are willing to candidly name the problem – as he did when explicating Detroit’s racial history at the Mackinac Island Policy Conference. Gov. Rick Snyder remains a strong holdout among anti-immigrant Republican leaders. Dearborn officials may take down a statue of that city’s notoriously racist former Mayor Orville Hubbard – that gazes over a now 50 percent Arab-American community. Fifteen Michigan mayors, city councils and county commissions, and a dozen Michigan regional chambers of commerce have taken formal actions to welcome immigrants.

Other communities have taken creative and purposeful actions to blur lines of race and ethnicity, and reverse trends of segregation and segmentation.

In Michigan we must do more than lament what happened in Charlottesville. If we are to overcome our legacy as one state that gave the world President Trump, and change the biases that compelled many people to vote for him, we must come together as human beings across divides of race and class. It starts by looking inward. Racism isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s on us.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

About The Author

John Austin

A guest author for Bridge Magazine.

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Comments

Kevin Grand
Fri, 08/25/2017 - 12:48pm

I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Austin's hypothesis.

Charlottesville happened because you had two very vocal fringe groups who do not play well with others (especially with each other), seeking attention.

And much like with a petulant child who doesn't get their way, they will throw a temper tantrum until YOU DO pay attention to them. Or in the case of Charlottesville, proceed to beat the stuffing out of the other side so that they can post video and images in order to gain even more media attention for their side.

The best solution here isn't to look for a red herring like Mr. Austin is doing, but to give each side essentially a "time out" by not giving them any attention whatsoever.

Antifa wants to protest? Stay home or go out and see a movie.

The National Policy Institute wants make a public speech about their particular worldview? Ditto.

Take the spotlight away from these groups and they're not going to get very much traction which will eventually cause them to lose their staying power.

Peter
Sat, 08/26/2017 - 7:31pm

Too bad you didn't read past the first two paragraphs. This article was about Michigan.

Kevin Grand
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 5:38am

Who said that I didn't, Peter?

It also spoke of very vocal minorities who are taking issues to the Nth degree in order to engender wider public support for their position.

If the "strict racial divides" are such a problem as Mr. Austin is making it out to be, multiple events around town this month alone (which includes some of those serving alcohol) would've easily backed up his position by the sheer number of altercations between groups attending them.

Just a few examples off of the top of my head: The Woodward Dream Cruise, Selfridge's Air Show, Gibraltar Trade Center final weekend and even walking around Metro Beach all had people from different backgrounds attending.

Have you seen any images or video on places like Instagram, YouTube or Facebook to back up Mr. Austin's assertion from those locations?

I'm going to venture a guess and say "No".

If the results of Mr. Austin's hypothesis cannot be replicated, his premise is false.

It's just that simple.

Bernadette
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 9:14am

Why does this article upset you so if there is no truth to it?

Kevin Grand
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 1:07pm

Hmmmm, so walking around town ( I haven't even factored in my travels around and outside of Michigan) and not seeing anything representative of the narrative that Mr. Austin (and obviously you, Bernadette) are attempting to convey to everyone as being fact, is somehow making me upset?

I guess that if you want to include a general frustration with people who should be acting far more smarter than they really are by promoting false theories...I'll give you that.

However, if you don't like it when someone is pointing out that the "emperor is wearing no clothes", you're definitely in the wrong place.

Bernadette
Tue, 08/29/2017 - 9:08am

Kevin,

Who do you see as the emperor? Your comments always seem to be very
"narrow minded" and yet you accuse others of the same. It may help you to look up "denial".

Kevin Grand
Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:31am

That's a very good question, Bernadette.

I see the steady line of people who mindlessly & incessantly parrot the mantra that most people are still prejudiced in their day-to-day lives (despite the fact that observational evidence disproves that notion), collectively in that "emperor" role. If you want to see the logical conclusion where that line of reasoning will lead...look no further than what has been happening in Berkley all summer long.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-berkeley-protests-20170827-s...

And if you want to bring up "denial", would you care to directly answer the examples that I had cited above if it were REALLY happening as widespread as proponents of this failed hypothesis would like everyone to believe?

Was there some "suppressed" TV report about what happened on Woodward that I missed? I didn't see anything of the sort while I was there. Did the media spike the story relating to something that occurred in Mt. Clemens? I didn't see anything while I was there either.

You're obviously an adherent of this flawed belief. Please share with us what the local media failed to report.

duane
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 5:52pm

Bernadette,
The upsetting things about this article is that Mr. Austin is so quick to define our society by the relatively few in at the extreme edges of political ideas. That he can only see those that are violent and not see those promoting such as the media that center all their coverage on those committing the violence while ignoring those that are embracing our Constitutional ideals of freedom and equal opportunity.

Mr. Austin makes no mention of the millions of Americans that practice none of what he is saying and how that has been true for generations. Mr. Austin seems to have his vision of a just State and condemning all of us for not achieving it without ever telling us what his vision is or how we might achieve it.

This article leaves the impression of someone trying to show how much more holy is on the topic than anyone else can be [or at least as any other 'white' male can be].

This article is a disservice to all of those who have set up this country to be freedom for all, all of those who have sacrifice to move this country to freedom for all, and for all those who are doing what they can to make the future a freedom for all.

I am always upset and disappointed when people can only see and promote the exceptions that don't reflect the overwhelming rest of the population.

Rather than just condemn our State and society and culture, I think Mr. Austin could have been more productive if he had offer innovative ways to change what he sees as so bad, or he at least could have asked for innovative ideas from others so a broad cross-section of readers could see if they there are things they could use in moving things along.

Bernadette
Thu, 08/31/2017 - 12:49pm

Duane,

Blah, blah, blah.

I find you always have a lot to say and act like what you say is truth, when it is not. You are part of the problem. You already have this figured out in your own mind, and that is truth. When you look at the fact that MI has 4 of the 25 most racially divided (segregated) county's in the country, there was intentional action that did this, and it will take intentional action to undo this.

Maybe if you would listen more and speak less you would broaden your world.

duane
Thu, 08/31/2017 - 3:17pm

Bernadette,

Rather than dismiss what I am saying, why not ask specific questions to challenge what I am say, offer particular examples to show the flaws in what I say, ask what experiences I have that leads me to say what I say?

The way people learn best is by engaging in a conversation that makes them think about what they say and believe by having to address specific questions about what they believe, by having to explain why they are believing and saying what they do. You seemed to be so confident in knowing what you know that you are unwilling to have a conversation and possibly seeing a different perspective, that my cause you to think about things in a slightly different way. If you only think the numbers based on where people live defines racial prejudice, you fail to recognize that within ethnic groups, there are prejudices. If you won't have a conversation here, then please read Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Sowell. Mr. Gladwell in one of his books even describes how in Jamaica where his mother was born and raise there was prejudice related to skin tone even though all we of the same ethnicity.

You ask the questions and I will answer them honestly and openly. I believe the better ideas, than any had, come out over conversations of people with differing perspectives.

NPearl
Tue, 08/29/2017 - 7:23pm

Bernadette, I agree. I've found that to be identified as a racist is akin for some, to be identified with the devil. They don't mind being racist, just don't make them have to deal with their own
prejudices.

duane
Thu, 08/31/2017 - 5:26pm

NPearl,

The other reason that calling someone a 'racist' is that the word has become over worked and nothing more than a political speech filler. The same as a politician calling some one they oppose a 'nazi.'

If you want to change things we need to stop calling names and start listening, start having conversation about prejudice not just one type against certain people. We need to be talking about actions not individuals, we need to describe what is being done and how it can change, what the impact of actions are and what results we want.
The question is whether you are willing to deal with all prejudices or do simply believe there is only one prejudice to be dealt with? I see each prejudice as being a barrier to the individual, carrying the prejudice, to having the quality of life they can have.

Rich
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 1:49am

I believe the fight in Michigan is not over immigrants, but rather illegal immigrants. Most of the ink in the press goes toward those who have lived here umpteen years and are now being deported by ICE, who are only enforcing a judicial ruling that was unjustly delayed by a former president. Most have nothing against those that go through all the proper channels to receive their paperwork. These people are accepted and now run businesses that benefit us daily. The illegals mainly stay in the shadows of society, contribute little, and expect to enjoy all the benefits that we give to those legal residents who are in need.

DJ
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 8:42am

Good article except for your anti-president comments. He is our president and instead of the constant bashing why don't you try working with him and his administration. President Trump did not invent this problem. Slavery and discrimination is a human problem that spans all of human history and has touched men and women from ever race and religion in the world. Why do so many emigrate to the U.S.? Our problems unfortunately stem from human nature and we need to focus on the root cause and stop the political ranting. As an independent voter I have grown weary of our politicians and media, and people like you, for arguing your points in a way that does nothing but inflame the situation. I heard it for 8 years when President Obama was in office and now I hear it everyday from the other side. I voted for President Trump hoping he would turn the system on its head. That's exactly what he has done. Both the Republican and democratic parties are in chaos from what I see. You are incapable of working together. You both were incapable of producing good candidates for the presdency. Of all the great leaders in American all you could put forth was Trump and Clinton? Moreover, both parties now are actually two and it's causing all kind of disorganization. We have the Trump party, the Republicans, the Democrats and the left wing Democratic Party. The only hope that I see is the reasonable ones somewhere in the middle at the top of the bell curve. Let's start using language that acknowledges our problems and choose words that lead to civilized debate and unity of effort. President Trump is our elected leader. Let's work with him and his administration as long as he is in office. If you don't like him, then find me a candidate from one of the parties I can actually vote for thinking they are what's best for ALL of the UNITED States of America.

Rick
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 3:20pm

There is no 'working with him' (Trump). Even his own party can't work with him. He's a racist and doesn't respect women so he's ruled out working with many of our citizen right off the bat.

Being crazy and poorly informed doesn't help either. I guess you're fine with more pollution, no respect for laws and not working with any other country in the world.

Clark
Mon, 08/28/2017 - 2:59pm

Rick,
Make sure you reserve your seat on the Hiliary train so that you can endure the Obama legacy with the rest of the closed minded left wing conspirators.

NPearl
Tue, 08/29/2017 - 7:25pm

Rick, you spoke the truth. Did we work with our previous President?

Bernadette
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 9:12am

Thank you Mr. Austen for this powerful article. The one line I find to be most powerful was:

"We must acknowledge that our strict racial divides did not arise organically. Intentional actions brought us here, and only intentional and purposeful actions can get us to a different and better place. There are embers of hope and action that must be fanned to flames. "

It is no surprise the first commenters deny the reality of this issue. I have lived in the Detroit area my entire life, read the history of Michigan, the United States, slavery, Jim Crow, and recently visited the Holocaust Museum and the African American Museum in DC and know how true what you are saying is. I can only believe these commenters continue to deny their white privilege.

Mike
Mon, 08/28/2017 - 6:03pm

And Bernadette, thank you for your wise response. Commenters here would be wise to peruse MLK, Jr's novel, "Where do we go from here : chaos or community?"

Matt
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 9:17am

Another word salad expertly prepared by a chef who has spent his entire career in the educational and think tank ivory towers. This featuring liberally applied dressing of il-logic and hyperbole with a side of specially selected histronics and served with a fillet of red herring heavily coated with falsehood, all guaranteeing that you will leave your table just as clueless and misinformed as before you wasted your time reading it.

Rick
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 3:21pm

What a great comment - full of facts, informative and insightful. A true Trumper.

Michigan Observer
Sun, 08/27/2017 - 5:19pm

This is overheated and badly thought out. Mr. Austin says, "Earlier this month, we as a nation bore witness to one of the most intense displays of racially motivated terror most of us can recall." Not remotely true. You may recall a young, white racist killing nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church. That was racial terrorism. The far right rally in Charlottesville was not an act of terrorism; it was an exercise of their First Amendment rights. Yes, what they had to say was reprehensible and offensive, but that does not vitiate their free speech rights. Of course, the view of the modern left is that if you offend me, I have the right to use force against you. Such a doctrine would make it possible for anyone to prevent anyone else from saying anything they disagree with. Something that occurs on too many college campuses.

He says it is a mistake to allow the events in Charlottesville to focus our attention on the south, pointing out that "The alleged Charlottesville killer traveled from Maumee, Ohio. " He failed to note that that individual was a recent transplant from Kentucky.

His statement "We must acknowledge that our strict racial divides did not arise organically. Intentional actions brought us here, and only intentional and purposeful actions can get us to a different and better place. " is only partially correct. It is absolutely true that intentional actions on the part of the government played a very large role in creating current housing patterns, but organic change, individual's actions, played a substantial role. As he points out, "White professionals and factory worker families fled the cities for suburban enclaves, small towns and rural hinterlands."

And that flight was't necessarily motivated by a high level of racism. The late economist
(and nuclear strategist) Thomas Schelling created a small computer simulation called "Life" that consisted of squares like a checker board. Starting from a random distribution of two ethnic groups, and stipulating a very low level of ethnic animus on the part of each individual, he found that individual's moves, obeying a few simple rules, eventually resulted in a high degree of segregation.

But he is very much mistaken when he says, "and only intentional and purposeful actions can get us to a different and better place. Consider that he says, "Fact: All the growth in Macomb County’s population has come from people of color, led by a 34 percent increase in African-Americans, a 27 percent increase in Asians, a 14 percent increase in Latino populations, and a 12 percent increase in non-native citizens." That did not result from " intentional and purposeful actions " on the part of the government. And just yesterday, I was reading an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal by a former reporter for that paper. He contacted a lot of people he had interviewed years ago when he covered the south, and reported a sea change in that region. Yes, there are still die hard racists, but their influence has sharply declined. Change does occur without "intentional and purposeful actions."

He is quite right when he says that we need immigrants, particularly highly skilled and educated immigrants. It has been estimated that, as a country, we lack enough highly educated and talented people to develop the innovations we need to create the vigorous economic growth we need to provide adequate prosperity for more of our citizens.

No doubt there was " a boiling resentment in communities where control of schools and government are taken by Lansing from people of color." That's unfortunate. But those takeovers were necessitated by the inability of their citizens to manage their municipalities. As far as I can recollect, all of those communities (and there were at least two white communities among them) are doing much better today.

And while it is deeply regrettable that Donald Trump is President, I still prefer him to Hillary Clinton. And it is not proper, or legitimate for Mr. Austin to attribute all of his support to base motives.

But of course, for Mr. Austin to have acknowledged the above would have deprived him of an opportunity to preach to the heathen.

Ann Farnell
Mon, 08/28/2017 - 2:31am

Wow! What a thought provoking article from Mr. Austin. Thank you.

When I was 13, growing up on the Nortwest side of Detroit, I witnessed a life changing event which actually traumatized my childhood. A black family had the nerve to move in to what wasn't exactly my neighborhood, but close enough. People I knew turned into a mob of hundreds, throwing rocks and hurling every racial epithet imaginable. I took refuge in a police car, but then the police were being carried to the squad cars bleeding. I don't recall gunfire, but everything was being thrown: bats, eggs, tomatoes, rocks, stones. Then the mob turned on itself. Fists were flying. It was very like Charlottesville without the signs. Charlottsville brought it all back. It wasn't exact, but close enough.
I appreciate many of the thoughtful observations from Michigan Observer , DL and Bernadette. I don't like at all glib attempts to deflect the existence of this rotten streak in America's and Michigan's history. It does no justice to those who are always the butt of racial animus to insist that most of us aren't that way. Those on the receiving end, it seems to me, had to develop very sharp antennae to make that distiction themselves and not be guilty of doing the same back. That argument fails to advance problem solving at all.

Likewise, the notion that because the president is our elected leader, despite acknowledging that the legitimacy of that election is under investigation, demands that we accept faithfully what is the most chaotic administration of my long life, is, frankly, as crazy as the President is thought to be by a vast number of people. I have worked in the mental health field my whole career, and he looks, sounds and acts certifiable to me and there's time for that proof too. Charlottsville certainly proved whose side he is on and if you missed it...it's the Confederacy. Really odd for a guy who puts so much stock in winning, not to mention the leader of the USA.
Do you Trumpers just blow off his long history of racism, not to mention his abuse of Mexican laborers? Not to mention his abuse of women? Not to mention his abuse of everybody within range? Everybody is against him, he whines. The media. His party. The Democrats. Jeff Sessions, James Comey. Everybody but the White Nationalists and David Duke. The White Nationalists were in the White House! On staff! Mercifully, only one known one is left. How do you just ignore this and then diss Mr. Austin's article as irrelevant, passee.? Did it not strike you that Trump's8 year Birther Movement against Obama, aided and abetted by Joe Arpaio, who he just pardoned, a man charged with abuse of power and illegal profiling....did it not enter your minds that this is racism and scapegoatism personified?

Please, let's be honest here. Don't excuse your vote by then scapegoating Hillary Clinton, who was fully prepared to lead and is not a racist. Those two qualities alone should have been enough to beat a man with no record of public service and a long record of unsuccessful businesses, racism, a known con man with mob ties who has cheated anyone he could including his three wives and is under investigation by the Justice Department, the Senate and The House within four months of taking office.

Mary
Mon, 08/28/2017 - 2:11pm

I taught in a predominantly all white school district. Could count on one hand the number of minorities in my classes over a 35 yr. period. Believe me when I say prejudice against the "other" is alive and well.

duane
Mon, 08/28/2017 - 9:31pm

Mary,
I suspect your observations are true in any school.
Think about the kids of Asian descent in the late 40s and 50s, what do think the attitudes were? In your experience was there ever any prejudice within your classrooms, within the school, between students based on the difference in academic success? In my youth there were prejudice between the athletes and none athletes, between the 'geeks' [today's term] and the academically less successful students, there were prejudices between where students lived, there were innumerable prejudices and yet as the students moved on and gain more understanding those prejudices went away, at least they did at the school reunions I attended.

Prejudice is a natural condition based on the unknown, lack of interaction, and thus the reliance on what others say. If a person's source of information is the news media, what do they hear about? If it is only, KKK, altright, 'Pigs in a blanket', 'Black lives matter', what do you think that tells them about what they don't know?
Do you believe that prejudice is only true of 'white' toward 'black'? Hasn't it be true of 'white' toward 'white' such as how the Irish were treated, how the 'Hunkies' in Detroit, in Dearborn, were treated? Could it be in 'black' communities of 'black' toward 'black'?

Your experience is something that occurs in every setting, but it can be drastically changed by the personal experiences. I expect that everyone of us has been the target of prejudice and have had our own prejudices, but what we need to focus on first is do we act them out on an individual case by case basis or is it simply a mental shorthand we use until we meet someone and interact with them. We need to recognize our biases and overcome them by not letting them enter into our actions.

A glaring example of prejudice happened during the last election when one Presidential candidate condemned all those who supported their opponent as 'deplorables', that was a public display of that candidate's prejudice and it showed so much about the individual. The reality of it was that half the country condoned that prejudice and the other half reveled in being the target of that prejudice. That prejudice has played out on a national scale since the election night with none describing it for what it is, emotionally driven prejudice, and none condemning it for how it is stifling our society like all other prejudices that condemns and belittles the target of the prejudice.

We need to do more than speak out against certain prejudices, we need to speak out against all prejudices that try to segment out society for emotional reasons. We each need to look for opportunities to work with those that are the target or the source of the prejudices, and do it with the focus on getting results together rather than trying to justify the prejudice.

Cheryl Farmer MD
Tue, 08/29/2017 - 9:58pm

I encourage everyone to read Arc of Justice, the true story of a black physician in Detroit nearly 100 years ago whose move into an all white neighborhood triggered mob violence that nearly killed him. Incredibly, this led to him, his family and friends being put on trial for their lives! The lead attorney in his defense was Clarence Darrow! It's a movie-worthy, compelling story. You will be surprised and saddened, as I was, how little has changed since then.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:38am

The gentleman's name was Dr. Ossian Sweet.

And he is precisely why Michigan had very restrictive gun laws over the course of most of the last century.

On a related note, I found it amusing to see the awkward reaction on the faces of local democrats when that troubling detail is mentioned to them while they are trying to defend upholding those very same "common sense" laws.

They can't have it both ways.

Ann Farnell
Wed, 08/30/2017 - 11:52pm

Kevin Grand, I think you misread faces. I can't figure out what you are talking about. Regulating guns is perfectly constitutional in either century. And that is never more likely to gain necessity with Republicans than when Blacks are openly carrying, or defending themselves like Sweet did. I refer you to California under Reagan and The Black Panther period.

Christian
Fri, 09/01/2017 - 2:30am

Until we start charging those who incorrectly judge citizens as an 'ists or 'gots with hate crimes, there will be no justice. When you hatefully label a people with something they're not, you lose all credibility with them.