Hate. That horrible word and all it entails are on my mind today. We hear about hate every damn day, and I’m sick of it. The ugly thing is everywhere and it’s seemingly inescapable! Hate has found an incubator like no other on the internet, and that’s in addition to the homes it maintains in print, on television and radio, and through direct communications ranging from public speeches to water cooler conversations.
Hate is jealousy, fear, bias, distrust, and much, much more. Hate is the need to diminish or destroy entire groups as a means of expressing dominance or elevating one’s own. It divides humanity into pockets of normality and abnormality, of “us” against “them” where “they” are always wrong and abnormal while “we” exemplify absolute correctness and undeniable normalcy. Accordingly, we live in a fractured world where boundaries are erected due to hate and we are willingly kept apart in what could only be described as mass expressions of sheer idiocy.
Hate encapsulates all that is wrong with the human psyche, yet it is also a transformative aspect of humanity. Its divisive nature has expanded nations even as it ended whole civilizations. It triggers conflict and it twice set the world spinning into the flames of global war. It emboldened Europe to charge into Africa, Australia, and the Americas at the expense of millions of indigenous people. It sent southern American states into battle against its northern kin in defense of its supremacist beliefs. It split Ireland over religious intolerance and it parted Korea over ideological differences. It made the Republic of Vietnam die a slow death and it made Yugoslavia disappear. It yielded many national boundaries that were not created in the spirit of universal love, but in the need to conquer the lands of those who were seen as inferior or unworthy.
Hate is a thing undeterred by the numbers of those who embrace it. Just as it emboldened the peoples of mighty countries to torment others whom they perceived as lesser beings, it also spurs individuals to take actions that stun the world. Hate sends cars running into crowds; it sends planes flying into buildings; it provides false justification for the wholesale slaughter of people based on their religion; and it drives the institutionalized degradation, rape, torture, and murder of people based solely on the race or ethnicity of those targeted.
Hate exists due to laziness. It takes real effort to learn about others in ways beyond the superficial, but most lack the motivation to do so. This lack of knowledge becomes a breeding ground for hate as assumptions overcome understanding and fear conquers reason. Laziness also fosters hate by way of our need to communicate through shorter and easier words. Words such as dislike, distaste, disaffection, and similar terms can be used, but their size–each has more than one syllable–causes most to use the word “hate” as that foul expression offers the shortest common way of reflecting all the negatives listed above.
Hate is hard to fix. To correct it, the regular usage of the term needs to stop, but the question of how to convince people to avoid using a simple word stands in the way. Additionally, the constant state of sociopolitical upheaval that fosters its use needs to end, but the question of how to unite a divided nation and a fractured world bars all progress. How to encourage people to accept, tolerate, or even ignore the things they are against instead of expressing hatred is the goal, but the world’s unwillingness to do so is a failure that greatly pre-dates the failed League of Nations (1920-1946).
Hate requires far more than hard work to defeat it. The horrid thing falters in the face of persons dedicated to expanding their knowledge and embracing other histories and viewpoints. It fades when expressions of racial, ethnic, religious, and national unity are injected with humility and the desire to include others. It withers from the complete abandonment of exclusionary preferences, practices, and histories that are based on a single perspective. It retreats when minds are opened and efforts to escape confirmation bias are legitimately made. Finally, hate will choke and die once we prove ourselves capable of effecting positive change both within ourselves and in others.
Hate is here to stay until we embrace our better natures, I’m sad to say. Starting to do so now would be a welcome change given our current era of intolerance and separation. Let’s get to work!
All the best,