Friday, 17 June 2016

Understanding hate: A Personal View

"Let no Man pull you low enough to hate him" Martin Luther King

Hate is such an ugly word. Even seeing the word hate written in a scholarly article on King Henry VIII's second wife whom we all know he beheaded, (#Anne Boleyn) or seeing it in a pompous  fashion magazine decrying the Oscar outfit of Rebel Wilson because it didn't match her eyes or shoes or eyebrow pattern (#Superpicky) makes me feel uneasy. We mere mortals band the word about far too easily in our daily discourse: we "hate the French for their love of  eating frogs", "we hate our Mums because they remind us to take out a coat in case it gets cold after a night out bopping to Drake and Rhi Rhi", we "hate George Osborne because he has the audacity to threaten us with an emergency budget" etc. etc.

It's all too easy to call out hateful comments made by others towards ourselves or our community. To most of us gay turned trans individuals within the LGBTQIA community, hearing the word "gay", "poof" or "batty boy" in our teens has desensitised us to their lexical effectiveness in our 20s. Hearing "abomination" or "pervert" probably has far more of a potent effect on stirring up our anger. Best way to deal with it is to act with confidence; say that the dress you're wearing is "super fly girlfriend" do the sassyclap meets Beyoncé sashay and leave them bewildered searching for a "normaliser" dog rough filter on Snapchat so they can reassure themselves they "all man again". Works for me!  We can be blind to the effect our words have on others at times; as a satirist you learn that being a snazzy rigamoraller can get you into hot water with a variety of different interest groups: "Satire is a prompt recipe for making bitter enemies" noted Charles William Day, in his Maxims, Experiences and Observations of Agogos (1844). Some satirists refuse to apologise for the comments they make if they cause mass hysteria and offence, but I am proud to say that many satirists are using their art to expose hypocrisy in all its putrid forms. John Dos Pasos in his Esquire (1936) defined the sort of activism satirists try to aim for: "A satirist is a man whose flesh creeps so at the ugly and the savage and the incongruous aspects of society that he has to express them as brutally and nakedly as possible to get relief."
Notwithstanding this need for verbally checking your own discourse to reduce risk of offending with a capital O, it's much harder to realise and try to correct your own internalised sense of hatefulness. The worst kind of hate you can perpetrate is self-loathing. As Sigmund Freud noted in his 1915 psychoanalytic book The Instincts and their Vicissitudes, "hate is an ego state that wishes to destroy the state of its own unhappiness." Building up a mass of bitterness and resentment is not the way to go; it poses the greatest risk to your own mental state and can lead to you hurting those that you love the most, or desensitise you to such an extent you feel justified in carrying out any old haphazard cold hard murder of a stranger who have never done you any personal physical or emotional harm.

So hate is a synonym for anger. We are all angry about injustice in one form or another, but we rarely act on this anger in any meaningful way. Those that do have two choices: act in a constructive, progressive way or a destructive, regressive way.
  • If you wish to act in a constructive way, you advocate your cause peacefully, making your point in a sentient and well thought out manner. You're more likely to watch Question Time than take part in Uncle George's wannabe Viking Footie Hooligan raiding party down Marseilles way. You join organisations that reflect your views to work collectively to try and advance your cause. So more Oxfam and Age Concern and less We Must be selfish and only think of putting Britain First. Some people may "hate" your politics or ideologies whilst you are engaged in this action, but I very much doubt they hate you as a person.
  • If you wish to act in a destructive way, you try and disrupt and discredit everyone's views in the most violent, narcissistic manner. You're more likely to indulge in watching videos of yourself on repeat sassing black people for daring to want to be considered British Citizens and less likely to vote for a Muslim to be able to decide whether body shaming ads should be banned this side of 300000 AD. You aim to cause the maximum amount of harm to advance your own case and don't care if friends or family who disagree with you get hurt in the process, both emotionally and physically. If the Mrs disagrees you wouldn't think twice about giving her a black eye and showing off her subjugated state to impress your mates. You join organisations that wish to inflict this harm in a collectively destructive way. That means you wouldn't give Stonewall a second glance but wouldn't hesitate to pay moulah to go to a far right neo-Nazi festival love in down Thurrock way. Most people will certainly distrust your politics or ideologies while you engage in this action and will hate you as a person for it.
It would be ludicrous for sociologists, psychologists and political commentators not to see that British and world culture is saturated with a sense of self loathing and destructive hatred. Hate crime is becoming more prevalent as the fracture lines in our western democracies begin to be exposed to the elements of change. These crimes happen for more than one reason or two reasons. As Abby Ferber, a professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado has recently noted, "these attacks are multidimensional...psychological factors may be one factor, but there are other cultural and sociological factors". 

One factor that unnerves me is that the Internet has opened up a world of connectivity for vengeful narratives to come together and multiply like unwanted herpes after a regretful one night outside GAY nightclub. Social media can give platforms for haters to "find support and applause for their feelings." Haters feel victimised in some way; they feel their lifestyle, culture or religion is under threat. They feel especially threatened by visible cultural change, such as the growth in the number of women in positions of power in previously male-dominated industries, or by the growing acceptance of the LGBTQIA community by the mainstream cis society. LGBTQIA bloggers can't help to ease haters' bombastic nonfantastic guilt complex, but we can try and show them the similarities we have with them- whether it be whether you prefer fish and chips or curry or whether Leicester City should try and pinch Mesut Özil for the next football season. A great way to diffuse any situation is to make reference to a comedic hero; Miranda and her unfortunate habit of hooking her loose clothing to any stationary object in the pub comes to mind here :P

Going Politico:

Now most MPs enter the political arena to make a positive difference to their local communities, the groups and identities they feel an affinity for and to generally make the UK a stronger, safer and better place to live in. You may not agree with your local MP, you may not have voted for them or you may never have voted for any political figure in your life and have no intention of voting in the future. What you have to accept is that many MPs are working collaboratively on a daily basis, across party political lines. They aren't all like Gorgeous George "Karma Chameleon" Osborne wanting  to engage in character assassinations in the vain hope of securing the vote majority of a few wackos come General Election Time. I have massive respect for Diane Abbott, Caroline Lucas, Nicola Sturgeon, Gisela Stuart, Theresa May and Jess Phillips; all female politicians from across the political spectrum. I equally respect MEPs who have campaigned tirelessly on gender equality and LGBTQIA issues like Richard Corbett.

I may not agree with my local MP or MEPs based on their quite obvious right wing views, especially with their opposition to same sex marriage and not wanting to take in an increased amount of child refugees into Lincolnshire and the East Midlands. I may not agree with them on their stance on the EU referendum or the austerity cuts that have led to massive issues with council budgets. However I have no personal issue with my MP or MEPs and wouldn't wish them emotional or physical harm.

If you are going to engage in any politically, culturally or socially sensitive discussion you have to respect the opinions of the other side. The problem is that extreme right wing or left wing commentators find it very difficult to respect rhetorical boundaries and refuse to engage in civil conversations. They want to privilege their own view without wanting to understand the other side's viewpoint. That fosters a feeling of hatred that leads to a focus on personal points scoring of epic proportions and can whip up a whole host of hateful views that can lead those that who may not fully understand the issues to act in the most heinous of ways.

Let he without sin cast the first stone (Dorian BOAF LOLs)
Christians like myself have learnt from the Bible that God condemns hatred in many of the passages contained in the Old and New Testament. Leviticus 19:7 for example states that "thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart". Jesus hated the "doctrines" and "deeds" of the Nicolaitans (Christian heretics) but he did not hate the Nicolaitans themselves. Jesus hated the sins he saw committed in Judea (like the moneychangers in the Temple at Jerusalem) but he wanted us to "love our enemies" because God loves us all equally in his heart, regardless of the actions we may commit whilst on Earth. In John 8:7 Jesus stopped Jews from enacting the Mosaic law against a woman who had been accused of adultery (stoning required); "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." None of them were completely free from sin, so none of them had the right to condemn her for her actions. So whether people like the way you live your life or not, it is not up to them to judge you for it. If "God is Love", then he must accept LBGTQIA individuals have a right to exist and that we should be loved for our authenticity and confidence. So what's the point in being engaged in self loathing? I certainly haven't got OCSTD- "Obsessive Compulsive Self Troller Disorder!"

In conclusion, "hate" is a poisonous emotion and we must try and prevent ourselves as well as others from falling under the spell of hateful doctrine. I'll leave you with one of my favourite verses from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:9:"Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools".