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People attend a candlelight vigil at a makeshift memorial honouring victims of a m0ass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Image Credit: AFP

These are tense times in communities across the United States. The ties that bind the multi-ethnic fabric of that nation are being stretched, relationships between people of diverse backgrounds now under strain. Sadly too, in the recent tragic events in El Paso, where most of the 21 victims of a mass shooting there were from the Hispanic community, the perpetrator cited race and white supremacy as his motivation for his evil deeds.

More and more, given the principles of free speech that are prevalent in the US, social media allows for the caustic words and inflammatory thoughts of racial supremacy to be given oxygen. And just as a fire grows on the feed of oxygen, the flames of white supremacy are spreading like wildfire, burning multi-ethnic communities such as El Paso and beyond.

From the earliest days of the founding of the US, from its humble beginnings as 13 separate states, the New World of America has also offered the hope of a new beginning, a land of possibilities, a place where the persecuted could start anew, forge new ties, build stronger and more diverse communities. And while the Founding Fathers of the US crafted their Constitution that all men are created equal, that seems to be an element that has been forgotten by those who peddle the falsehoods of race and supremacy, the language of division and hate.

Yes, the principle of free speech is enshrined in the US Constitution too, but that gives no one the right to believe that they are superior and to disseminate hate on social media or on internet sites. Simply put, there is a duty to respect the diverse social makeup of the US.

One of the great strengths of the US is its diversity, its different peoples from different backgrounds, of different colour and creed, sharing a common goal in making America the best that it can be. That is not the same as making America great again, for that has hardly even been in doubt. That common goal is sharing an American dream, one where anyone, regardless of background or socio-economic status can reach their full potential through hard work and commitment to their community – multi-ethnic community.

There have always been hatemongers, merchants of malice who believe in vile theories and the superiority of their colour or creed. The sad reality is the history of the 1930s and 1940s reminds us of the dangers of such thinking, of allowing these repugnant thoughts to become mainstream. Now, with easy access to the internet, where ideas can spread through half-truths and manipulation, these hatemongers have new outlets to disseminate their venom.

Now is the time for all good men (and women) to speak out and discredit this hatred once and for all.