SPECIAL REPORT: Hate hits home for mid-Missourians

Dr. Larry Brown explains more on white nationalism and the science behind hit. (File)

Incidents across the country have sparked passionate protests from all kinds of groups. Symbols like the confederate flag, swastika and others have started controversial conversations about hate. Whether it's a protest, a public display or in private, hate has been part of the country's past and continues to be prominent in the present.

The Department of Justice defines hate crimes as those committed against all different groups of people -- based on race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

Community leaders who identify as victims of hate said it is prevalent in their everyday life.

"Hate is when you don't treat people the way you expect to be treated," said Howard Hutton. He is a volunteer with the Center Project, a resource center in Columbia for people in the LGBTQ+ community.

Center Project board member Maria Butauski said, "I think lots of things when I hear 'hate in our state'." She added, "The first thing that comes to mind is hate surrounding a variety of different backgrounds."

Dr. Larry Brown is a retired professor from the University of Missouri. Dr. Brown studies white nationalism. He said various forms of hate show themselves in Missouri.

"There are numerous Patriot, Militia, Common Law, Organic Constitutionalists, Anti-Immigration, Border Protectors, and assorted other extreme libertarian individuals or anti-government groups scattered across the state," he said.

Various religious groups and civil rights activists are just some of the many who fall victim to hate in modern society.

"It's like a cancer, so to say," Rabbi Avraham Lapine said. "When you have a few people who hate, and the more people brush it under the carpet, and they don't do anything about it, it grows and grows and grows."

Rev. Cassandra Gould is the pastor at Quinn Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. She said hate said is the absence of love.

"Hate is that which targets someone or something else," she said. "Hate is evil."

Several groups face adversity, though. Among the most passionate protests making headlines have pitted white nationalists against many of those groups.

Dr. Brown said based on his own research and information from the Southern Poverty Law Center he believes there are at least 20 groups that he would put into the general category of "hate" groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has come under fire for its characterization of some of these groups.

Dr. Brown added hate comes in many forms. He said it can start with ethnic pride and can turn violent, or even deadly.

"It's that tricky place where you cross from pride, or defending one's identity over into trying to eliminate someone else's identity," Brown added.

Brown said these groups have always existed and probably always will.

"Sociologically and biologically speaking we are one race," he explained. "Some of the hate groups want to try to pull us back to a time when we didn't know that."

But Rev. Gould remained optimistic for the future.

"It is up to ordinary citizens to reclaim our power," Gould said. "We are better together than we are divided."

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