After writing two entries about love, I would be remiss to not write about hate. It brings me no pleasure to write about hate. Writing about love is pleasurable. Writing about hate is highly uncomfortable, particularly if we write about it in an honest manner. Hate is not just an emotion “out there” amongst those bad people. Hatred runs deep within everyone. It has different amounts in different people, to be sure. But it is in all of us. That, to me, is the most important lesson about hatred. We need to look deep within ourselves, not just cast aspersions on those bigots that are more overtly hateful.
The man who we will not name, who we will call 45, is one of the most hateful people to ever show up in public life. A commentator referred to him as Archie Bunker with a Twitter account. He is undeniably racist, with a long and vile list of examples of racist behavior and language. That he is POTUS and so hateful is abhorrent to an unprecedented degree. We have seen an uptick in hate crimes and bias in our country. It is not surprising given that it is coming from the top. The most powerful man in the U.S. and possibly the world is setting an example of hatred, bigotry and prejudice.
45 deserves to be called out for days. There is no doubt that he is harming our nation and harming our people. He could bring us to the brink of global catastrophe in the blink of an eye. 45 brings hatred into the public square. Perhaps the only silver lining is that there are more discussions of racism, misogyny and other forms of bigotry. We need to talk about this abhorrent man and his hate, but we also need to talk about the other, more insidious hatred: the hatred within. None of us are immune from it. When someone says they don’t have a prejudiced bone in their body I have to laugh. Is this person actually human?
We are taught to be afraid. We are taught to fear each other. We are taught to have prejudice towards others. We are taught to hate the other. For most of us, it is not overt. It is covert and hidden, but it is still there nonetheless. Every institution from family to media to the government, etc. indoctrinates us into the beliefs of what bell hooks terms the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy. We cannot escape this socialization and enculturation. The result is internalized dominance for people in the agent class and internalized oppression for people in the targeted class. Hatred affects us all but targeted social groups bear the brunt of the oppression while advantaged groups lose part of their humanity.
Some of the hate that I have is the result of being hated. You see, hate begets hate. It is like a chain of dominoes. The way to get rid of the hate within is not to deny it. It is to confront it and interrogate it. We need to examine our own prejudices that have congealed into hatred and ask how it has happened. What have we learned and what fear do we carry around with us? How can we consciously attempt to confront these fears and dislodge this hatred from our being? There is no easy recipe to get rid of our hatred. But the first step is admitting that we have it. Pointing fingers at 45 is not enough. We need to look in our own back yards.