Culture of Hate: Who Are We? Summary
Lee Harvey, the director of the documentary film Culture of Hate: Who Are We? (2002), addresses the topic of racism. She reveals the hidden world of white power youths in Lakeside and discusses the causes and effects of white power movement in the community of Lakeside.
In the beginning of the film, Harvey shows the viewers the murder incident of a Mexican migrant worker whose body was found in a drainage ditch in Lakeside, CA. In the drainage ditch, the walls were surfaced with swastikas and other racist symbols. The three boys who were arrested for the Mexican murder incident argued that they were drunk. Nevertheless, the police officers believed that it was a hate crime, involving discrimination.
Harvey mentions that the town used to be more or less safe, populated with white middle class Americans. Nevertheless, due to the economic and social changes, more hate crimes began occurring. And also, ethnic minorities became “scapegoats” due to economic recession. According to the expert testimonies of teachers, school administrators, and halfway house directors, these misguided white kids defined racism as a way to express of their emotional needs, to get out of their anger, to find the meaning of life, to get a sense of belonging, and to get protection. For this reason, they envied blacks for having Black History Month, Black Power, and other black cultural celebrations, blamed and attacked Mexicans for losing their jobs, and drew swastikas, flames, and other racist symbols on everywhere.
In high schools, the superintendent established zero tolerance policy to take a stand against racial violence. For this reason, the white racist students who were establishing a wave of white power were banned from high schools and were sent to the alternative school, Summit School.
In the end, Harvey asserts that these misguided students have their own dreams and hopes. However, the students’ American Dream became elusive due to