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Resource Guide

Targets of Hate Lesson

This lesson relates to the following topics from the California History-Social Science Framework for high school:

  • Connecting with the past
  • Women in our history
  • Civil rights movement
  • Totalitarianism in the modern world
  • Sociology, psychology


Students Will Be Able to:
  • Identify targets of hate and understand them in historical perspective.
  • Make connections between homophobia and the Holocaust, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation and of Japanese Americans, slavery, segregation, apartheid.
  • Empathize with persons who have suffered in an environment where prejudice and hate are allowed to exist.

Note to Teachers

Whenever violations of human rights are studied, they should be examined within their historical context, so students understand the events, participants, causes and consequences. The treatment of historical events should reflect the History-Social Science Framework's determination "to present controversial issues honestly and accurately within their historical or contemporary context."


Ask the question: "What is the worst expression of hate?"
Beatings? Torture? Imprisonment? Lynchings? Murder? Denying freedom? Forced relocation? What else?

Write the word GENOCIDE on board. The United Nations document, The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, defines genocide as:

  • Killing members of a group.
  • Causing bodily or mental harm to members of a group.
  • Deliberately creating living conditions designed to destroy a group (denial of housing, food, medical care, etc.).
  • Preventing births within a group.
  • Forcibly transferring children of a group to another group.


Select 2 groups mentioned in the OBJECTIVES about which students have some previous knowledge. Have students prepare a timeline placing the relevant events in historical perspective. What was going on in the world, in the surrounding countries; what was the national temperament at the time? How were the economic conditions? What forms of genocide were perpetrated and on whom? Now repeat the timeline activity for the San Francisco homosexual community. What are the similarities?


Cue video to the segment that begins with the scene of an old-timer from the Eureka Valley Association saying: "Well, actually we moved because my kids grew up and they were out of school. But mostly it was because the gay people moved in...." Pause segment frequently so students can reflect on the words and people. Stop after, "Not since the 50s had San Francisco's gays been the targets of such hostility." Ask directed questions about who are the targets and who are the perpetrators. Fast forward to segment during the Harvey Milk sequence when the voiceover says: "The Castro District made Harvey Milk its first openly gay elected official." Continue until the speaker says, "...but we're never going to be able to take our place at the table. They'll just kill us."

Why are certain people targets of hate? Who perpetrates the attacks? Who follows along? What are some alternatives? What actions can students take?

Hate crimes associated with attacks against people of color, the disabled, females or gays have increased over the last decade. A Hate Crime is defined under specific penal code sections as an act or an attempted act by any person against the person or property of another individual or group which in any way constitutes an expression of hostility toward the victim because of his or her race, religion, disability, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Find some current newspaper headlines and share them with the class. Have students find their own headlines and articles over a few weeks. Identify the location of the crime, the targeted group, the motivation and the impact.

Extension: Personal Reflections

  • Have you or a friend been victims of a hate crime?
  • Recall how you felt at the time. What did you do? Were you tempted to take revenge or fight back?
  • Did the experience change your attitude toward the instigators?
  • Have you gained any new insight from this lesson?
  • Have you changed your opinions about homosexuality in any way? How?