I write this because I am curious about hate and haters. Every time I look at a headline - when I choose to view them - I seem to notice that something is said about hate. I view pages on social media occasionally that talk about these people who are referred to as "haters".
Hate seems to be a popular topic and I suppose that if scholars two thousand years from now were to do an etymology of the word hate, it will be observed that it was spoken about more often in the first two decades of the 21st Century than at any other period in history.
The world seems to be overwhelmed with identifying the haters and society is overwhelmed by defending themselves from this label.
What is hate, is a question I started to ask myself. Where does it come from?
What is Hate?
It seems as if, anytime you watch the news or view feeds in social media, that hate is a new machine that has arisen in the beginning of the 21st century. Hate seems to be this being that has sprung up and is becoming this new being that is emerging in political arenas, in movies and literature and in schools. According to definitions that can be found in various dictionaries, hate is a noun, that simply means an intense or passionate dislike (for someone or some thing). That seems simple enough when one considers numerous contexts in which the word is used. For example, the statement, Marianne hates spaghetti means that Marianne would have a preference for foods other than spaghetti because Marianne does not like the dish. It could be written, John hates that actress and it could be surmised from that sentence, that John doesn't care for that actress, or perhaps any of her films.
From these two examples, it could easily be determined that both Marianne and John are exercising their opinions about something with which they have an interaction with. In short, that they are expressing opinions about how they feel about things in their environment. These decisions may have an impact upon how they lead their lives. Marianne will probably never have the experience of enjoying pasta in an Italian restaurant. John will not be viewing any films in the cinema house that star the actress whom he has a disdain for.
But the question begs to ask, is hate more than an expression of an opinion? And it can also be deduced that the manner in which hate is addressed by the media in the 21st century would lead to ask: Are we no longer entitled to have unfavorable opinions?
Hate in the Modern World
To say that hate is an emotion - for lack of a better term - is a new idea, would be something of a misnomer. Those who are familiar with the creation myths in the Judaeo Christian Bible will recognize the characters of Adam and Eve. From those two were born two sons, Cain and Able. In the story, Cain became very jealous of Able because Able had numerous talents and qualities which Cain lacked. The jealousy turned into hate which turned into rage which became murder.
Hate does not always have to lead to death but there is still something fatalistic about the practices and ways in which those actions are implemented that stem from hate.
Or so it could be surmised.
Hate in the 21st century has become this idea that journalists and other politically savvy persons seem to pursue and attempt to seek out, perhaps in hopes that hate can be eradicated. It can be understood that hate is not a new thing that has been developed in the modern world - that it has ancient roots - and hate is an emotion, one that sometimes seems to develop naturally. The concern that develops from this premise would ponder whether or not hate is something which can be removed from society - and if it is a natural response, if it should.
This is not to be the subject which I wish to explore however, just some issues which I wish to address before I begin to examine the way hate is explored in the media - and the fear that is evolving from a media conscious society because of so many newsworthy stories focus on this subject.
Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.
— Will Smith
One of the popular colloquialisms that seems to have evolved in the modern era is the phrase haters. This seems like a strong terminology given the fact that it is used in social media. Usually people who have pages on sites like Facebook refer to haters when someone doesn't like their page, their content or them. Haters can be a confusing piece of vocabulary because of the other ways in which hate is defined. It even seems inappropriate because there might be a post on a Facebook page that refers to an anonymous group. The poster could be assuming that haters are people who don't like skateboarding or to those who don't like them because they have green hair and piercings throughout their body.
There are more serious types of hate that are present in the community. In a paper entitled, In a paper entitled, Hate: Towards a Four Types Model, Ingrid Ferran makes a distinction whether hate is an emotion "a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with other" (from online dictionary) or a sentiment "a view of or attitude toward a situation or event; an opinion" (from online dictionary).
Many of us are familiar with the -isms which populate popular culture: racism, sexism, class-ism etc. or the -phobias: homophobia e.g. Other terms such as misogyny, misandrist, and misanthropic are becoming part of popular culture.
However, many of these phrases generalize who the hater is and base it on no specific intent or emotion on the person or group with which this title is imposed. For example, is someone who is more wealthy than another guilty of class-ism because they have accumulated their goods and possessions? Should someone be called a hater if they are a Christian with no Islamic friends or associates?
All the time you spend tryin to get back what's been took from you there's more goin out the door. After a while you just try and get a tourniquet on it
— Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
How powerful is Hate?
Power, is defined by sociologists, as the ability to encourage people to do things or behave in a certain way. If someone has power, then people will want to do things for that powerful person. Politicians can earn your vote. A popular film star can gain popularity and money by making movies. Someone who has appeal can attract friends and lovers easily. Power is fluid often and hard to define. Two people with the exact same qualities can have different levels of power. One may be totally absent of it, while the other may be overly corrupt with it.
Hate can be influential in this dynamic or even influenced by it. Mary might hate Julie because Julie is smarter than Mary. Mary might have more power because Mary is more athletic than Julie and be able to use her influence to encourage others to behave in a hateful manner to Julie. Mark might be hated by David because Mark has a nicer car and David has to use the bus. David can be more powerful because his socially conscious views on maintaining the health of the environment are shared by those in the community. David may hate and become the victim of hate.
Such a confusing and unessential emotion hate is. But very effective.
On a grander scale, hate can be dangerous and even cause disturbances or wars such is scene in social movements. When one group hates another, for example the have-nots anger towards the elite, there can be unity. Both can result in instances where buildings are burned, cars are overturned and people are injured such as in a city riot.
Is Everyone to Blame
The question that begs to be asked: Who is right? Is hatred an emotion, a natural response to the perception that someone else deserves that haters hatred? Or is disdain a well thought out reaction to envious qualities possessed by the person or group that is hated?
Or is this feeling of extreme dislike just a silly tool used by those miscreants who wish to engage in social or political savvy?
Just a few things to think about I guess as I write these words realizing that the initial intent I had when thinking about drafting this piece has been lost - flown out the window.
There probably is no point in trying to figure out hate because when writing about it, I realize that I might come across as hateful myself. I'm not even really sure what hate really is when I consider the various types that are out there.
I guess it is one of those things I cannot define - as was said by a politician who tried to define pornography (paraphrase) "I don't know it, but I recognize it when I see it".
Do people have the right to dislike another? And are they hateful for disagreeing with the opinion of another? If they choose another creed or belief or for that matter a lifestyle that differs from someone else?
There is a fine line that is for sure. But then should people who call out haters be considered hypocritical?
I don't think I'll ever discover the answer to this. I think I'll have another sip of coffee (or beverage of your choice).
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Finn