No matter where we turn, we are confronted with hate groups, hate crimes, white supremacists, hate websites, ethnic cleansing, massacre, and now, an ever-increasing terrorist action. Is this a new phenomenon, or is this just becoming more obvious due to the media? What exists within the US society that makes this so prevalent? What about other cultures? Canada, Europe, Asia? What do you think that you and I can do? Consider the sociological perspectives in formulating your answer.

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In answering these questions, I would first look at the raw data where it is available (has terrorism increased in recent years, for instance?), then at data-driven assessments that challenge the assumptions in the questions. One of the best recent books on this subject that takes the opposing view is The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker. Pinker argues that, amidst a media-driven moral panic about crime, society has in fact been getting steadily less violent and more civilized.

This advance in civilization itself makes the problem appear more acute. For instance, the question mentions the ideology of white supremacy. There is no question that white supremacist attitudes have declined very sharply in the United States of America. Segregation was viewed as an acceptable policy by many Americans well within living memory, but it would be political suicide to endorse it now. It is also important to draw attention to the terminology of the question. The concepts of "hate crimes" and "hate groups" are relatively new. It is difficult to bring data to bear on them, because it is always difficult to pinpoint the exact motive for violent crimes, particularly historical ones. What is clear is that violent crime, including crime against racial minorities, is declining.

For these reasons, I would challenge the assumption that anything exists in US society which makes the problems listed in the question so prevalent, since there is good evidence to show that they are not particularly prevalent and are becoming rarer. This is also broadly true in the other cultures mentioned.

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