In the twenty-something years that social media has been around, it has become a place where love and hate seem to co-exist. Maybe a lot of this had to do with the fact that the haters never really have to confront anyone. They just got to spew their venom everywhere in the hope of attracting like-minded souls.
Hating is kind of a pointless activity since it allows no positive outcome. And most of the actual hate that is generated comes tends to come from a kind of willful ignorance that is more or less bred in the bone of the haters.
Many learn to hate because of the example set by their elders and their community. Many of these people grow up the same way everybody else did, except for one thing. Hate was what they found when they went looking for something to believe in.
The biggest hate group in my neck of the woods, North America, is white people. A lot of white people have been brought up to believe that the white race is somehow superior to other races. Their churches preach that the union of a man and a woman is the only way for humans to behave, so they also develop a hatred for gays, lesbians, and transgender people.
A lot of white people also believe that the fact that they are white somehow makes them genetically superior to folks who have darker or different colour skins. This is completely untrue, especially when you look at the world as a whole and realize that every race on the planet has pretty much the same proportion of high achievers and gifted people as the white race.
So where does all this hate come from? Well, any psychiatrist on the planet will tell you that most hatred is a by-product of varying degrees of ignorance and fear.
We are not programmed from birth to hate. But we can be easily indoctrinated by the environment we are raised in. So one where hate is in abundance, it’s easy to just start thinking that that is the way things are supposed to be. And the fact that many of us grow up in the same community from birth to death, we get to pass on that hate to our children. This is especially true in the United States where a great percentage of the while people in that country have never been farther than about 100 miles from their home.
I grew up in a small town on the border between Canada and the US, across the river from a city called Buffalo. We were told from a very early age that there were certain areas of the city that we should avoid, because that’s where the black people lived, and it was dangerous to go there.
When I went to visit my friends in Buffalo, they echoed the same sentiment. Oh, they would say, that’s where most of the crime in the city happens. Black people are all criminals. Black people are all drug addicts. Black people all hate white people.
And yet when you went into the stores and restaurants, you saw a lot of black people working there that didn’t look all that menacing and so you start to wonder if the people that were telling you all this stuff about black people were just a little paranoid.
Then when I was a little older, I got invited to go to a couple of University of Buffalo basketball games, where both the stands and the playing floor were filled with black people who all looked pretty normal to me.
Ignorance and fear. Ignorance of what the cultures of other people are like, which led to fear of anyone who was not from your own tribe.
We see this same mechanism in force all over the world.
It is so prevalent these days that hate has been weaponized by politicians to use against others in their opposing parties. So now even people who aren’t cloistered in a family or community can get to become big picture haters on a national scale.
Sadly, I would really like to be able to end this with a glimmer of hope. But as I look around me, especially In America, I see that the weaponization of hate has turned an entire political party into a blood-thirsty mob of jackals looking to devour anything and anyone that doesn’t align with their vision of how their country should be.
All this hate really does is hold back progress at a time when all of us should be thinking not of how the world is divided, but how the world can come together to conquer the amazing challenges we have ahead of us.
Sadly, hate is the albatross that weighs us all down.
This is excellent, Jim. In particular: “the haters never really have to confront anyone. They just got to spew their venom everywhere in the hope of attracting like-minded souls” I think there are a lot of like-minded souls coming out of the woodwork.
Hiding behind their keyboard.
I’ve felt this way about social media since long before the current wave of Idiots got emboldened.
Thanks for your comment, Jeff. Like I say at the end, I’m not sure there is a solution, because of the way these attitudes are branded in a lot of people’s brains. I always hoped that by the time we go to 2020 we would have all gotten over these petty differences and start functioning as one world. Guess I underestimated the never ending supply of opportunists out there.
Jim — Well said as usual. I read a related article this morning that left me just shaking my head: https://apple.news/AEYcuieZaRcKagwNbvPvFlg. It’s a story about a guy who totes a gas can of distortion and division regarding critical race theory. To me he’s simply an opportunist out to make a name for himself and probably a lot of money in the process. He’s not doing anything to bridge the gap, only to widen it.
I recently read SAND TALK: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World. It’s written by an aborigine, Tyson Yunkaporta. It’s not an easy read, but there’s one passage that has stuck with me where he writes about “the most destructive idea in existence: I am greater than you; you are less than me. This is the source of all human misery. This behavior needs massive checks and balances to contain the damage it can do.”
Unfortunately, one of our two parties down here is doing everything it can to wipe out those checks and balances. It’s not interested in solutions, compromise, or “conquering the amazing challenges ahead of us.” Its only interest is power and its own warped survival.