Saturday, August 8, 2009


Over the last few years I have made several attempts, always in vain, to remove the word "hate" from my vocabulary. My dream of a "hate-less" mouth has never come to fruition and I am still struggling with this. My reasoning is simple: the word alone stimulates bad emotional responses. As a kid, were you to time-travel back to the early 90s, you would most likely hear my angry commentary for just about every facet of existence, always spilling over with variations on four-letter words followed by the names of several political and mainstream media figures and, interwoven into the elaborate counterpane, that vile "h-word". I remember as a kid hearing the phase "You shouldn't hate" during a rant of mine from a customer of my father's business, the whole time after wondering why he would say such a thing; hatred was natural and a normal part of cognition, wasn't it? After stewing it around in my head for a few years I came to the conclusion that hatred does nothing but brew more hatred. It's its own catalyst.

Last week I was hanging around a local place that I will not give a name for and talking to an individual that I will not give a name for either. Suffice to say, I had a great amount of respect for him and his "cosmopolitan" world view. However, during the course of the conversation, we came across the topic of Africa. The topic in general was "music" and he was, surprisingly, shocked when I mentioned some African instrumentation as if he would never have expected Africans to have instrumentation. I was not expecting the next thing that came out of his mouth.

"I thought the only thing that that continent knew was HIV and cannibalism."

I couldn't believe what I heard and it took a moment to sink in. Being that I am one to allow people to voice their opinions without interjecting my own (for the most part), I let it slide but it has been with me for all of the time since. How could anyone be that blind? I never expected it from the source that I had heard it from, either.

At that point I think I came to the realization that hatred and ethnocentrism misses no one, even the open-minded ones. This is why I make my attempts to remove it, no matter how impossible it seems. I have always sought a path of uniqueness and I don't want to be involved in human kind's wanton disgust for itself. Don't Christians use the phrase "We are all God's children"? As an Atheist, I would think that, even without a God it's still a logical way to look at others.

Maybe people should try to cultivate the deeper meaning of that phrase and realize that it doesn't stop at racial barriers.


Michele said...

I have been on the no hate kick for a few months now. As much as I love using the word to describe a feeling, it doesn't make sense because I don't actually hate anything. It is hard to find words to describe so many different strong feelings though, so hate acts as a go-to word for many situations. I agree that it is a word that should be completely avoided whenever possible and I'm making an effort to not use it when I normally would have in the past.

Guinness said...

You're a Librarian? Do you, by chance, listen to WNYC?