On October 28, an assault towards Jews at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh sparked conversation on the topic of the world’s hate towards certain religions. The mass killing was immediately labeled as an act of anti-semitism, but the world continues to downplay the event with the hashtag, PrayForPittsburgh.
Although it is empowering to have the hashtag spread more awareness of the massacre and the families that were affected, many Jews are outraged and can argue that the tragedy had nothing to do with Pittsburgh as a whole, but rather American Jews, or specifically Jews in Pittsburgh. In other words, the hashtag downplays the hate that was displayed towards the Jewish community as just a massacre in Pittsburgh which already strikes one.
Strike two is that it has almost become the norm for social media to spread hashtags, starting with PrayFor…, for every terrorist attack that occurs, rather than actually taking action to reach out. In an article by the Huffington Post, Senior Editor Chris York believes that these hashtags have turned into “making sure as many people in your social media circles can see you are "thinking about victims" and “feels like nothing more than an exercise in futility.” York also argues that as these people say they are “praying” for the victims in the attacks, how much of them are actually “praying”, and even if they are, how is it helping?
Strike three is that our very own president, Donald Trump, did not address the attack properly and also displayed that he doesn’t understand Anti-Semitism, in the process. During Trump’s speaking with the National FFA Association, he spoke merely about the need for armed guards in the synagogue and the need for the National Rifle Association (NRA), but avoided the topic of Anti-Semitism.
Although there is an improvement on the recognition of hate crimes and terrorist attacks, social media and the rest of the world still continue to downplay how the attacks usually target diverse racial, religious, and ethnic groups; to lack action to help those affected; and to not educate themselves on the matter.