One of my daughters keeps saying she hates.
Her sisters. A piece of clothing. A kind of food. A friend. A sport. The summer. Her parents.
Each time, I caution her: Don’t use that word.
Everyone has an unacceptable word, and for me, it’s “hate.” To me, it’s a word people throw around so nonchalantly, so flippantly and sometimes so temporarily, it frustrates me, as if they’re playfully tossing around a grenade with its pin pulled.
The word’s supposed to mean an intense or passionate dislike.
In an era of hate crimes and hate speech, I truly dislike — but stop short of hate — using some an emotionally charged word.
Nowadays it seems everyone says they hate someone or something.
In reality, they probably haven’t given it enough thought to really hate it. They haven’t spent a few minutes trying to understand that “other” group’s point of view. They haven’t tried to see the world through their eyes.
No, it’s easier to just hate anyone or anything that goes against what we’ve individually determined to be normal.
It’s funny growing up in the United States, a nation that once bragged about being a big melting pot, then hearing so much animosity between one group or another. Democrats shouldn’t hate Republicans. Whites shouldn’t hate blacks. City people shouldn’t hate rural folks. And vice versa for every example.
With all the means for communication right now, we should be thriving in the middle right now. There are so many ways to hear alternative points of view and try to find the strengths and weaknesses of each one.
Simply put, we should be willing to compromise. We should be able to find the answer that pleases you somewhat and pleases me somewhat, and we’re both happier that some change was made.
That’s just how the world is nowadays, some people might say. Some might blame the current president. I roll my eyes, as I’ve seen this kind of escalation and unwillingness to work with alternative points of view for most of the last 20 years. It might be more in your face, more “I’ll take my ball and go home” right now, but it’s been simmering for decades.
It’s all built in hate, in fear of the other, in demonizing those who don’t see the world exactly the way we do. You’re either with us or against us.
What a dull, black-and-white world that creates. It’s terribly closed-minded too.
In my own, small way, I’m trying to fight back against it by correcting my daughter’s usage of the word “hate.”
She needs to save that emotion and that word, “hate,” for the really bad things in life. Save hate for evil-doers. Save hate for those who commit violence. Save hate for a world where hate is the default fallback word, fighting it with compassion, empathy and an effort to understand those who are different from you.