I think the most banal thing I could possibly start this blog entry with is the following statement: we live in highly divided times. Hundreds, thousands perhaps even millions of individual ideologies are becoming commonplace not just in America but around the world. In the old days, we just went to war with people when we didn’t agree with them. These days, sure, we still do that but people tend to create their own personal wars against those they hate via hate crimes.

The latest hate crime statistics I could find from the FBI site were from 2010 and reported that “In 2010, 1,949 law enforcement agencies reported 6,628 hate crime incidents involving 7,699 offenses.” For the math impaired, that translates to 18 or so hate crimes a day in America.

Weird…

Now, I won’t speak for the hate crime statistics of other countries as I did not look them up. This is not an essay for a class or something I’m getting paid to do. It is my own personal reflection on the idea of hatred especially in my country. And 18 hate crimes a day seems rather fugging high!

Let’s break this down by first defining hate and hatred. Dictionary.comdefines hatred as “1. to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry. 2. to be unwilling; dislike: I hate to do it.” We’ll focus on the first definition here as the second one is just a minor off-shoot of the first.

An “intense” or “passionate” dislike isn’t simply “man, I don’t like stubbing my toe.” It’s the kind of thing that blinds a person intellectually and logically. And we all hate things. We all do. Even people who say “I don’t hate: I only hate people who hate” are hating. It’s a silly distinction that they make because what they mean is that they aren’t BIGOTED. They don’t hate people just because of the color of their skin, their sexual preference or their state of origin.

Hey you from Jersey? Fuck you buddy!

Being not “bigoted” is a pretty cool thing but what about those that are bigoted? Can you simply say they are stupid morons that have hatred in their hearts and aren’t worth consideration?

That is a harder question to answer than you’d think. For example, I have a lot of family members that I think highly of that have good hearts, moral viewpoints yet hate gay people. Does this mean they are worthless people that aren’t worth loving or understanding? Not really, as hard as that may to believe. They are simply people being led by a powerful emotion that is hard for them to overcome.

Emotion and logic often stand at the far ends of the emotional spectrum. Many studies have found great people being easily led into hate based on very minor things. Even children have been taught to hate at a very young age by tapping into a deep, nearly instinctual revulsion against the idea of “The Other.”

The Other” is a very interesting and useful psychological trope as it helps explain a lot of the problems humans run into on a regular basis. “The Other” is defined by Lawrence Cahoone as the following:

“What appear to be cultural units—human beings, words, meanings, ideas, philosophical systems, social organizations—are maintained in their apparent unity only through an active process of exclusion, opposition, and hierarchization. Other phenomena or units must be represented as foreign or ‘other’ through representing a hierarchical dualism in which the unit is ‘privileged’ or favored, and the other is devalued in some way.”

Basically, our cultural identity (and the cultural identity of every group) is defined by them opposing a different group and devaluing them as human beings. Think the Cold War and Communism. Think Hitler and the Jews. There are many instances of “The Other” and I’m sure you all have some kind of instinctual dislike of an “Other” without even realizing it or considering it.

Such as the Hipsters hatred of everything including and especially other Hipsters.

Is there anyway to get away from hatred and “The Other?” Hardly. Some believe that to do so would even be unhealthy to a society. After all, there is no good without evil and if you are good what is evil? That’s right: “The Other” even if it consists of horrible people doing horrible crimes for horrible people. Criminals such as murderers and pedophiles make useful “Others” in that they are usually universally loathed.

But of course, hatred, bigotry for no reason, should still be avoided. After all, studies have found that hatred actually increases your blood pressure, your heart rate and can even lead to worse sleep. So there are, of course, negative health effects of hatred. After all, it’s the most extreme of all negative emotions. How could it not effect you negatively?

So, how can you cut down on your own natural, inherently build hatreds? Well, taking a breath, relaxing and maybe meeting the type of people you hate (especially those you are bigoted against) may actually help. Realizing that the people you hate are actually people may help eliminate biases and bigotry.

Or, oddly, you can just drink more glucose or sugar, according to Psychology Today. Hmmm, so it’s easy, doesn’t require me to change in any massive way and tastes great? What’s more American than that?! Sign me up!

Sugar, have you ever let us down yet?

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