Our nation is in crisis in my opinion. A crisis fueled by hate, lack of acceptance and tolerance. Following the Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, I am in shock. My understanding of what transpired caused me concern, and I want to look at what hate is. To look at what causes a person to hate a group of people for no real reason. White nationalists, the KKK, and the Neo-Nazi movements do this. What about hate at its core? It is a feeling and I want to know why it exists. I also want to look at how hate affects those with mental illnesses. I know from my own experience that stigma can turn to something less than pleasant.
A hate filled street. The clash between the Alt-Right and the counter protesters.
A hard look at Hate
Hate is a strong dislike of someone, a group, or something. Why does it manifest though? It seems to me that teaching is how. Our parents, our mentors, and the people we look up to teach us these things. If we go deeper, the parent, mentor, etc. was also taught this feeling. This keeps on going for generations.
In my personal opinion it develops from not understanding something. Such as, why that person is in a wheelchair? A person will look at something, let us go with the wheelchair example, and have an initial reaction. Sometimes it is pity, sometimes it can be shame, and other times it be revulsion. That may sound like a stronger word to use, but it is appropriate for what we are talking about,
The person feeling this disgust turns that feeling into a notion, then it becomes a feeling. Environmental stimuli is what causes notions. Going back to my statement about hate and it becoming a learned feeling. With that environment, a person can turn revulsion into hatred.
In Today’s Society, Hate thrives
In recent events, hatred has manifested itself in the Unite the Right Rally. All the rally did was get people hurt and in one tragic instance, killed. Under the guise of political movement, hatred has crept into the souls of those who attended this rally. In history class in my middle school, I learned that Nazi’s and the KKK were evil organizations. The entire rhetoric of a Nazi is evil, the same for the KKK. What frightens me is that there has been a resurgence of hatred perpetuated by these groups. Even more frightening is the fact that they have come together.
There were a lot of pictures taken at this rally. The Nazi salute was prominent. Historic chants and slogans yelled during the rally should spur people into action. This is because they originated in Nazi Germany. This CNN article depicts the history of this chant here.
Hatred is synomonous with Nazi’s and the KKK. Both groups were created on a foundation of oppression. Where did the hate come from today? There are a few culprits that I can identify. I will not identify individuals because I feel that hatred stems from a collective thought or belief about something. It is never one individual that creates a movement, the individual needs followers. With that being said, here is what causes hate in modern day America. The dark depths of the internet, politics, religion, and most important ignorance.
The internet has given rise to a phenomena called anonymity on a large scale. There are websites, such as Reddit or Twitter, that protects a person’s identity. With this protection they can say anything that they want. They are able to publically support hate based causes with this protection. These causes can range from something like the KKK or Nazi’s all the way to specific things or people. Facebook, for example, has a “I hate Justin Bieber” page. That example has some of you thinking that I am looking too far into what you consider a fun page. The problem I have with that is the word hate is in the title. By having that word in the title it gives an acceptance and even a tolerance to it. It sets a precedent. It may seem small, but it can evolve.
Politics and religion are self-explanatory, but I feel I must add a few things. Hatred stems from these two because of people’s refusal to be tolerant or accepting. That is of other people’s thoughts, views, or beliefs. I find it hard to fathom hating someone based upon their faith. The same reason I have a hard time fathoming hating someone because they are of a certain political party.
Ignorance is a dangerous thing to deal with. Sometimes because people want to be ignorant to what is going on in front of them. They will stand by will injustices are performed. People will not educate themselves on what others go though and that is a sad thing for me to have to say. There should be more compassion in the world, but instead a lot of people live in ignorance. All the while people have to live in fear because of the hate that is directed towards them.
The Hatred needs to stop
Hatred’s acceptance in today’s world is something that I tire of. I want to see a world where hatred does not exist. It is hard though. Due to the internet, the media, and other people who are set in their ways. Take the situation of rampant stigma against people with disabilities. Stigma is a pre-conceived notion that something is wrong with someone if they have a physical or mental illness. That is not the case at all, yet it is something that people with disabilities deal with on a daily basis. I reveal to someone that I am Autistic, for example. What do you think the response would be if the person did not have a stigma or hatred for those with disabilities? A decent response would follow. I get a lot of this, however, “You do not look Autistic.” Think about this for a second.
Now, look at this situation, a person worships different than you is praying. You do not appreciate them praying when they should be working or something. What do you do? You confront them and utter the words, “Go back to your own country.” The person looks at you. It is sometimes in anger, sometimes in fear and either leaves or meets your confrontation. What has this created? The answer is a stigma. What if your family is with you and they are witnesses to your conflict? They begin to learn that it is alright to disrespect someone else because of their religion.
Everyone is a person
Back to the autism situation. I am different due to a disability, I should have a different look to me. I should look like a disabled person. That is what it sounds like the person is saying when they say I do not look autistic. What does autism look like? The same applies to the situation of this Islamic man confronted by a white person for praying. The difference is that the Islamic man from Iraq looks different than a white person. What about me? The guy with autism? I am white, thus I have a sense of privilege when it comes to race. In the few seconds it takes for someone to say I do not look autistic, I understand what that Iraqi man goes through all their life. I can never understand the true scope of racism because I am white, because of that I want to help those are oppressed and I do that by writing. If you can do something to quell the rise of hatred, you should do it.
This hatred epidemic needs addressed and fixed. I do not know how the entire country can change,but in a small scale, we can change. It has to start with your personal being. We must learn acceptance and tolerance. Everyone in the United States of America deserves to be themselves and not be afraid of being themselves. This is regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, and sexuality. I hope that the country can learn from Charlottesville and become a better country. That is my hope.