By GARY BAUMGARTEN
Just yesterday on News Talk Online on the Paltalk News Network I spoke about how careful we must be as a society to not turn our collective frustration over the struggling economy to attack those who are "different."
Today, the New York Daily News is reporting that a 16-year-old Muslim boy on Staten Island has been subjected to bullying and beatings because of his religion.
In case you missed it, there have been a number of beatings of Mexicans on Staten Island as well - by a group or groups of blacks.
And, of course, there have been the well-publicized case of a vicious beating outside of the Stonewall Inn - a famous gay establishment in Manhattan - as well as the suicide of a Rutgers student after his roommate allegedly webcasted him in the arms of another man.
All of this underscores the need for self-awareness and education about tolerance in the United States.
There have been some efforts to counter this wave of intolerance. The University of California has become pro-active in raising awareness following a series of incidents - including a Facebook posting mocking a black gathering, the carving of a swastika on a Jewish student's door and anti-gay graffiti plastered on a gay resource center on campus. A respect campaign - planned before the suicide - is also underway on the Rutger's campus. CNN even got in on the act with a series on bullying following the suicide of the Rutger's student, Tyler Clementi.
It was this kind of attitude - fear of those who are different - that led to the rise of the Third Reich. That's why it's important that we all counter intolerance when we see it or hear it expressed