NAACP director: Elected officials should penalize racist language
As federal prosecutors look at possible hate crime charges for the 18-year-old suspect in the Buffalo supermarket mass shooting, the local chapter of the NAACP is demanding further action.
Wilbur Aldridge, the Mid-Hudson and Westchester regional director, says the outpour of condolences for the victims is not enough.
"People are really extremely angry, annoyed and hurt,” he says. “Saying ‘we won't tolerate this’ has become such a cliche."
Aldridge says this is why he's demanding efforts to follow the dialogue.
"Put in some preventative measures and educate people so that people understand that how you're feeling is not something that you necessarily can express,” he says.
This call comes as authorities allege the suspect wrote a 180-page hateful rant of race and links to the "great replacement" theory, which is a conspiracy that people of color are "replacing" white voters as part of a political plan.
Aldridge is calling on elected officials — from the local, state to national levels — to put a penalty on racist language.
"Yes, I believe in freedom of speech. I don't believe in hate speech that's going to create and provide an atmosphere to be assaulting other people in any way," says Aldridge.
The call for pertinent preventive measures resonates with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, LGBTQ people and Jewish communities who find themselves in a similar situation.
"On the issue of securing our community and making the investments necessary to do so, on the issues of educating against hate, on the issues of taking as many measures as we can to combat hate in conjunction with law enforcement on all levels, our community is united,” Ari Rosenblum, the CEO of the Jewish Federation and Foundation of Rockland County.
Advocates are calling for communities to contact elected officials and urge them to put more in place as many pin their hopes on more than just talks, thoughts and prayers, but action.