Justice

This Student's Defense of These Neighborhood Signs is Excellent

May 1st 2017

By:
Kyle Jaeger

"Hate Has No Home Here" may seem like an uncontroversial message that doesn't need to be defended. But when the time came to stick up for those words, seventh grader Luke Macannuco was ready.

sign

It all started when local resident John Natale submitted a letter to the editor to the Winchester Star questioning neighbors who put signs bearing the "Hate Has No Home Here" message. Natale said the sentiment "is totally uncalled for because it says that Winchester has a hate problem."

In response, clarified the purpose of the signs, and answered questions Natale had listed in his letter.

"Mr. Natale is incorrectly assuming that the owners of the sign are finding it necessary to state that there is no hate in their home," Luke wrote. "But, as the American flag depicted on the sign signifies, the posters are referencing the entire U.S.A., a country that does not tolerate hate in spite of its current leadership."

In response to the questions Natale included in his original letter, here's what Luke had to say:

1. Question: “Who are the haters that you, the sign owner, are referring to?” Answer: Bigots who are trying to take away protections for transgender students, deport refugees and build a very expensive wall to keep illegal immigrants out (which is completely pointless and not helping your cause, but I digress).

2. Question: “What, or whom, do the haters hate?” Answer: Perfectly innocent human beings who happen to be different from the haters.

3. Question: “What is the evidence that there is significant hate in our community?” Answer: Me getting called homosexual slurs by students and adults alike.

4. Question: “Obviously, you are so morally superior that you may declare everyone who disagrees with you a hater (side note: this first part is a statement, not a question). Where, when, and how did you become the Lord High Decider of Morality?” Answer: Never. We just put a lawn sign down. Calm down, dude.

hate

Luke's point that the signs are directed at hate nationally, rather than locally, is pertinent.

The Southern Poverty Law Center found that hate groups — defined by the SPLC as any group whose ideology considers another group of human beings as lesser but doesn't necessarily commit hate crimes — are on the rise, climbing from 892 hate groups in 2015 to 917 last year.

The number of anti-Muslim hate groups tripled during that time span, from 34 to 101 in just one year. Mark Potok, an expert in extremism at the SPLC, told ATTN: in an earlier interview that this trend is due to a combination of terrorist attacks committed by Islamic extremists and President Donald Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric.

President-Trump-waving

From a policy perspective, Luke pointed to several administrative actions that he described as hateful and thus warrant the signage. Those policies include Trump's proposed travel ban, which would bar immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries and put an indefinite hold on the U.S. refugee program, as well as his pledge to construct a "very expensive wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border in a questionable effort to deter illegal immigration.

“Mr. Natale, if you’re going to ask us to do you a favor and take the signs down, do humanity a favor and take down your Trump signs," Luke wrote.