The History Of Hate

The complex history of antisemitism and racial prejudice.


An image of Benito Mussolini and Blackshirt youth.

“Hitler was a genius orator” Many would assume this to be the words of a Nazi. They would be wrong as it was statement from late “king of pop” Michael Jackson released in 2009. 

This raises the question: how has antisemitism cemented such a nuanced and yet noxious role in American history and culture?

Recently the GlenOak Social Justice club visited the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood, Ohio. During the tour members got to learn about the roots of antisemitism and the Holocaust.

Despite this extracurricular opportunity, most students do not have a chance to learn about hate and its true implications on the world.

Wealthy and influential people have the ability to good for humanity, but also the chance to spread misinformation.

From 1920-22 four volumes of antisemitic booklets were released named The International Jew. These were released by the famous American industrialist Henry Ford. 

The first issue of the set, The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem has 20 chapters. The eighth is titled “Does a Definite Jewish World Program Exist?”

Irrational beliefs that Jews control the world have existed for over a century now with the fabricated antisemitic book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion helping to popularize the “International Jewish Conspiracy” 

This book was published in Russia in 1903, and was read to German schoolchildren as fact after the Nazi’s came to power in 1933. The book is an example of black propaganda, meaning it is intended to give off the impression it was created by who it is trying to discredit. 

The book continues to unfortunately spread and is used by neofascist and other hate groups as a genuine document, such as followers of QAnon.

Since the middle ages discrimination and mistrust of Jews has been seen. According to the Anti-Defemation League “ It was alleged that Jews had horns and tails and engaged in ritual murder of Christians.”

The ADL also said “Jews were forbidden to marry Christians, were prohibited from holding positions in government and were prevented from appearing as witnesses against Christians in court.” 

However, mysticism and oppression pale in comparison to the violence Jewish people have suffered throughout history.

In late 18th century Russia up to the holocaust Jews have been pogromed out of their countries and forced to relocate. 

According to The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum “The perpetrators of pogroms organized locally, sometimes with government and police encouragement. They raped and murdered their Jewish victims and looted their property.” 

Hate is more real and dangerous than many think, and has a deep history in the United States. An example of this is the hate group the Ku Klux Klan that’s had three reformations since its inception in 1865. 

In 1924, there were believed to be over 1.5 million Klansmen, a large factor of this statistic was the historical film The Birth of a Nation. The film glorified the KKK, confederacy, and depicted African Americans as sexually aggressive towards white women and unintelligent.

Nearly a century later there is still a concerning amount of hate present in the US. In 2020 there were 8,263 hate crime incidents against 11,126 victims. 

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2021, there were 733 hate groups in the US. 

Recently rapper Kanye West made a statement in which he proclaimed “There are a lot of things I love about Hitler.” 

We can not as a society allow this kind of behavior to flourish through brushing it off our own shoulders and chalking it up as someone being “crazy” Hate is a systemic problem and we must stop it before prejudiced words become violent actions. 

In the words of the late author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”