Friday, July 23, 2010

Hating Hate

I have a bad habit of saying, in frustration, “I hate people”. Well of course, I don’t hate “people”, I hate the way they frequently act. Boorish, thoughtless, demanding, ignorant, all these behaviors will set my teeth on edge and result in my blanket overstatement. And even as I say it, I know it is not really true.

I learned acceptance and tolerance from my grandmother, who also taught me wrong is wrong, no matter whose name it is being carried out in. Hate the sin, not the sinner is ingrained in me. “All behavior has meaning” was drummed into our heads in nursing school. And, a genuine Granola Girl, I came of age with the Woodstock generation. This was a perfect storm of circumstances that resulted in knee jerk bleeding heart liberalism.

There are some actions and beliefs, however, that are so egregious they are utterly unacceptable or understandable on any level.

Blind hatred is an evil as old as human beings: who is right, who is wrong, who do you love, who is better, who Mom likes best, an infinite number of possibilities. In my 55 years I have grown so, so sick of how we do not learn, ever, what seems so obvious to me: we are all the same. You are me. Whatever your color, your religion, your sexual orientation, your ethnic background, your birth order, we all start from the same few cells.

Sure, I know that may be oversimplifying and naïve on some levels. There are traditions and unique aspects of every culture that need to be cherished and protected. We want to have diversity. But come on. Because of hatred, how many indigenous peoples will be exterminated? How many wars will be fought to close concentration camps? How many little girls will be blown up in church? How many young men will be tied to a fence and beaten to death? How many towers will be brought down?

The other day I commented on a blogging site about the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque in lower Manhattan. The protest is perpetuating hateful stereotypes, I maintained.

But today, as part of my Commitment to Being Open-minded, I followed a link to an Islamic website, one that purported to be moderate. And there it was, hate filled rhetoric, so repugnant I felt dirty and embarrassed and afraid and I couldn’t get off fast enough.

It was the same thing all over again.

“You have to be taught to hate and fear”. It is an old song, but still so true. So where is it going to stop? Who among us, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Democrat, Republican, heterosexual, white, black, and on and on, is teaching a new lesson? We are all responsible for ending it. If we don’t, then we are responsible for continuing it.

It starts here.



The Mother said...

Someday, we will measure people by what comes out of their mouths, rather than the color of their skin, their sex, or what ancient book they choose to live their lives by.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Marie said...

Someday is here for some people, TM. I'm not completely there yet, I can still be incredibly judgmental (you know where and it has nothing to do with religion, politics or skin color). You are more advanced than I am. ;)

With enough numbers, that measure of who you are rather than what you are, will be taken. You already are responsible for, what, five more? There are my four. So, like ripples in a pond, it will circle outward.

brokenteepee said...

This so called "religious" war is more about power and control than religion. Always has been, always will be.

Different ethnicities have been taught to hate "the enemy" since the dawn of "different".

It won't end until people stop looking at what is different and start seeing how similar we all are.

Webster said...

All each of us can do is live in the moment and try to do right. We can only change our own behavior. We are only responsible for our self.

It's hard to believe that we, each of us in the world, have divinity within us. Yet, I do believe that.

Still, I am a sarcastic bitch. I own that, too. I don't splash it around much, but keep it on my own blog. But I have been kicked off a message board for speaking my mind in a less than kindly way. I accepted that, too. (sigh)

Life is complicated - and very simple, too.

Marie said...

Hi Webster!!!

I agree we can only change our own behavior, but we can be agents of change through our actions.

My religious tradition also teaches that we all have divinity within us. It is SO hard to remember on an everyday basis.

We have so much in common:

Sarcastic bitch? Check
Thrown off a message board? Check
Acceptance? Um, not so much.
Sighing? Check

Thank you for stopping by and leaving, as usual, a thought provoking comment. :)

Marie said...

Pricilla, thank you so much for your usual perceptive observations.

Power truly is what it is about.

And you are right, as long as people see difference not similarity, I feel we are doomed.