You've got to be carefully taught


There has been a recent spate of hateful incidents in Nassau County and elsewhere that make it clear that we still have a long way to go to teach ignorant adults and youths that racism, homophobia, sexism, bullying and all other forms of intolerance are offensive and unacceptable, and definitely not funny.

In February, an 18-year-old Cedarhurst yeshiva student, of all people, was charged with felony criminal mischief as a hate crime for scrawling anti-Semitic graffiti on advertisements on the Cedarhurst train station platforms on at least eight occasions.

On April 15, also in Cedarhurst, someone who is still at large spray-painted a swastika on a resident’s fence.

Last week, at St. Anthony’s, a Catholic high school in South Huntington, in Suffolk County, two seniors were expelled for bringing a Confederate flag to an intramural European handball game at the school, and two sophomores were expelled for posting pictures of themselves in blackface on social media.

White supremacist and former Ku Klux Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller, 73, allegedly killed a 14-year-old Eagle Scout and his 69-year-old grandfather, a doctor, at a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kan., on April 13, and then drove to a Jewish retirement home and killed a 53-year-old woman who was there visiting her mother.

USA Today reported that even Frank Ancona, imperial wizard of the KKK, condemned what Miller did. “It was an act of hate,” Ancona said. It is an evil act, indeed, that earns the Klan’s condemnation.

Miller shouted “Heil Hitler!” after he was arrested.

Where does this hate come from?

When teens turn malicious, we can blame it on adolescent stupidity, immaturity or a failure by their parents or educators to teach them about tolerance. And it must be said that schools on the South Shore have fine character-education programs that focus on the importance of mutual respect and the dignity of all, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, religious affiliation, national origin or ethnicity.

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