Studies have shown that violence, by and large, leads to more violence. This is as true in your home as it is in the world. Research has shown that spanking children results in a higher incidence of aggression, depression and anti-social behavior in children. Domestic violence between spouses has been shown to increase the odds that children will repeat that cycle when they get older. Hate crimes in the world lead to anger, depression and fear—affecting entire communities and nations. This past year, the incidence of random hate has been increasing:
• A white woman yells at a Korean American War Veteran in a mocking voice, while pulling her eyes tight and slanted, “This is my country. This is not a Chinese. This is my country—this is not a Chinese. Oh my God, Chinese ugly. Ugly Chinese.”
• A white man on a bus yells at a female passenger, “You’re a loud- mouthed monkey. I can’t listen to your black ass no more.”
• Junior High and High School kids chant, “Build a wall,” to their cohort.
• A 59-year-old white woman walks into McDonald’s and yells at a group of Spanish-speaking customers, “Get out of our country! If you don’t speak English, you shouldn’t be here!”
Hatred fuels a nation with more hatred. It cuts off connection, divides humanity and plants seeds of mistrust and fear throughout the country. Beyond the obvious problem of creating a more unsafe, negative and divided country, hatred also hardens a person’s heart. The more comfortable you become hating one person or group, the easier it becomes to hate many. The more people you hate, the fewer people and groups you can feel a sense of belonging with. In essence, you begin to make your world smaller and smaller, until there are very few who fit into your “acceptable human” typecast.
The problem with hate increasing, though, is that while your “acceptable human” list is getting smaller—so is theirs. People whom you thought were acceptable to you, may find that you’re not acceptable to them. Perhaps it’s your religion they hate or level of income, or job or even hair color. You see—hate is about insecurity, not reality. It’s not about someone being as worthy as you or you being as worthy as someone else. It’s not about you being human and them being sub-human. Hate is about fear, dangerous messaging and, ultimately, insecurity. It’s about humans trying to find their “specialness” by downgrading the specialness of others. It’s not Godlike or smart or [fill in the blank]. It’s a dangerous, sad coping strategy that humans use when we aren’t comfortable enough in our own skin to own our humanity and allow others to own theirs.
The truth is that you will not be everyone’s “cup of tea,” nor will everyone be yours. And that is okay. It is not your place to judge another human being’s worth, nor is it their place to judge yours. All human beings are equal. Trying to infer that one human being is less equal, or, in a really crazy twist, not human, is about the hater’s insecurities, not their elite status. Don’t confuse the two. Don’t ever allow your fear, grandiosity or distorted beliefs to allow you to lower the bar on your humanity. If you do, you will suffer, as will those who are subjected to you. Own your worth and allow others to own theirs.
Challenge: Don’t be fooled by hate—yours or that of those around you. It is ugly and toxic regardless of whom it is aimed at. Honor the humanity in EVERYONE—regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or level of wealth. Teach your children to do the same.