The Pyramid of Hate

Yes, there is such a thing called the Pyramid of Hate. And I find it quite devastating that there is such. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there are five levels of biased behaviors that grow in complexity and potential harm from the base to its peak. Let’s start with the “most” typical and bottom of the pyramid.

  • Biased Attitude: stereotyping, insensitive remarks, fear of differences, non-inclusive language, microaggressions, justifying biases by seeking out like-minded people, accepting negative or misinformation/screening out positive information.
  • Acts of Bias: bullying, ridicule, name-calling, slurs/epithets, social avoidance, dehumanization, biased/belittling jokes.
  • Discrimination: economic, political, educational, employment, housing, and criminal justice disparities.
  • Biased Motivated Violence: murder, rape, assault, arson, terrorism, vandalism, desecration, and threats.
  • Genocide: the act of intent to deliberately and systematically annihilate an entire people.

Inquisitively, I dove into this topic. Where does hate begin? What are the stages of hate? What can we do about it?

Most documentation shows that we learn prejudiced behaviors and attitudes around age four. Specialists state it is a learned behavior from family, friends, teachers, and the media. Early on, we develop opinions regarding gender, gender identity, race, religion, or disability.

If we cultivate such opinions at this young age, we must educate our children as early as possible. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute uses the Pyramid of Hate as a curricular tool to encourage students between 14- 18 to learn about the effects and consequences of bigotry and intolerance and how their own attitudes and experiences affect the existence of prejudice—ultimately, teaching them to assume their role to squash the escalation of hate.

Parents and teachers, you can begin by creating an environment where it is safe to express emotions regardless of the topic. Avoiding taboo topics such as race, gender, politics, etc., is doing a disservice to the population as a whole.

First, you must check yourself at the door. What are your views on such topics? What is the source of those opinions? Are you willing to participate and mediate these hot topics? Can you do so respectfully and impartially? Can you make it okay to not be okay?

What a delight if our school curriculum tackled emotions head-on, identifying them, exploring the root causes, and ultimately developing healthy coping skills. Heaven forbid we improve relationships, mental health, break through societal norms, and become one loving earth. Whoa.

Today, ask yourself if your beliefs and behaviors are adding to the good of mankind. Do you stereotype, dehumanize, and discriminate yourself? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Take responsibility for how others may emulate your behavior or speak your words.

With such a volatile emotion as hate surrounding all of us, becoming self-aware of your own emotions, feelings, and actions and gathering as much knowledge as possible is an excellent step in the right direction. Annihilate hate and become a beacon for positive actions and reactions. We might just change and save the world.

Where do you sit in the Pyramid of Hate?

Editor’s Note: Join Peggy and all of us as together, we combat all forms of hate. Read more here: Hate is A Four-Letter Word


Peggy Willms
Peggy Willms
Peggy Willms has been a trendsetter for more than 30 years. With her unique approach, tools, and strategies, she shatters the “Norm” in the health, wellness, fitness, corporate and medical fields. She is an author, certified personal trainer, sports performance nutritionist, personal and executive health, wellness, and life coach. Peggy is also a radio, docuseries, and experiential wellness retreat host, consultant, educator, and speaker. Peggy has managed multi-million-dollar medical clinics. Her unique business and work-site wellness programs have earned her multiple awards. She is a successful entrepreneur and owner of All Things Wellness, LLC. Her internationally syndicated radio show: The Coach Peggy Show focuses on All Things Wellness: heart, spirit, mind, and body. Peggy is the host and executive producer of a transformation docuseries, Coach Peggy Real-Time, which takes viewers on a wellness journey in real-time over 10-weeks. Real People with Real Problems finding Real Solutions. Peggy also conducts wellness retreats in SW Florida. A native of N.H., Peggy worked for the U.S. Army in Heidelberg, Germany. She raised her two sons in Colorado and is now a grandma. She now resides in Florida with her significant other and enjoys kayaking, biking, swimming; all things fun, and sun.

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  1. I stopped to think and reflect as I read your interesting post, Peggy Willms, thank you.

    I agree with what you shared, and yes, hate, love, even taste and other emotions are learned ones….. but these can be “unlearned” given the right opportunity.

    I also believe that ‘hate’ as we define it in our ‘western world’ is not necessarily true in many parts of the world. In some cultures it is defined as “dislike”, sometimes more dislike and other times less dislike and this also can change quite rapidly depending on the “reaction” to the dislike.

    I have learned a lot by expanding my understanding of the this concept of ‘hate and dislike’ and I am a better person today for the lessons learned from the simple people, whom we caption as ‘tribes’.

    Please allow me to share the following: Let us overcome Hate, in our individual capacity.

    I think it was Elvis Presley who once said, “Animals don’t hate, and we’re supposed to be better than them”
    “Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Love me or hate me, both are in my favour. If you love me, I’ll always be in your heart… If you hate me, I’ll always be in your mind.”

    “Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
    ― Joseph Fort Newton

  2. Interesting article. The topic is more current.
    Hate belongs to us all. Recognizing it is essential for the responsibility we have towards ourselves, others and life.
    Intolerance and discrimination are ever-expanding phenomena, often in subtle ways and sometimes unknown even to who they belong to. There is a lack of awareness and, even more, the assumption of individual and social responsibility.
    We are responsible even in connivance. Whenever we don’t lend any help, that we don’t contribute to counter the culture of hate and develop a better humanity.
    I’m not a psychologist, so I can only express a personal opinion on such a complex subject, the root of every malaise still in our day.
    I believe that, even in everyday life, we should dwell on what makes us similar to others, not on what makes us different. And to understand, once and for all, that coexistence with others arises from the ability to coexist with oneself. And that the ability to live with oneself arises from the awareness that we are complex, articulated psychic worlds built around the relationship with the other. Never all in one piece. Connected archipelagos, not perched continents.