Hate – My Last Gasp on the Subject

My last gasp on hate – at least for a while – has me pondering its definition depending on where you live. It’s been pointed out to me that people need to concentrate on similarities rather than differences; while agreeing in principle, I think this subject needs some dissection. Hate is a big word, a word meaning different things to different people, a concept seemingly open to interpretation.

In Canada under the Human Rights Act of 1985; no person or group is allowed to publish or display notices, symbols, signs or emblems that might express or imply discrimination or intent to discriminate. This law covers verbal intent, specifically banning telephone conversations of a hateful nature; also including communication by computer, be it email or the internet. The link below highlights a few of the more prominent convictions under Canada’s hate crime laws.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2011/10/12/f-free-speech-hate-crimes.html

America on the other hand doesn’t seem to define hate until a physical assault has taken place. Section 249 of the Hate Crimes Act covers bodily harm inflicted on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/4161

In the United Kingdom, under the Criminal Justice Act of 2003; a judge must consider a crime “aggravated”, thus ruling a tougher sentence if the crime was motivated by ethnic or religious bias.

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/action/popup/id/15773

Hate laws vary drastically from country to country; Turkey for instance has no laws whatsoever regarding hate, the Sudan defines hate as “blasphemy against religion”. All of which take me back to my original ponder – one without a definable answer. I wonder if hate is the wrong word, perhaps the word is too subjective. Maybe we should put “hate” to another test. Obviously “hate” is a strong word, a word that tends to divide and muddy the waters.

It could be that we need to settle everyone down and take it back to playground rules. Trash talk wasn’t allowed at school so why should it be allowed when we “grow up”? Children aren’t allowed to talk smack about anyone – that is defined as a bully. So why should they “grow up” and be allowed to say anything they damn well please? I realize I’m over simplifying things, yet put that aside for a moment and ask yourself if replacing “hate” with “bully” might help put the issue in perspective.

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8 thoughts on “Hate – My Last Gasp on the Subject

  1. Interesting about the levels at which something can become illegal!

    I’m not sure how one proves ‘intent’ as opposed to action; and opening the world to deeming ‘thoughts’ (whether laudable or not) illegal strikes me as being problematic.

    Seems to me that trash TALK is easy to ascertain: open mouth, spew filth.

    Don’t you think that part of the cultural problem being that no one wrote rules as we have developed new media; and no one wants to accept anyone else’s definition of right or wrong; or that there could be absolute values so how does one implement the principles of ancient juris prudence as defined by geeks and nomads and … you and me.

    Cheers,
    Peter
    A retired photographer looks at life from behind an RV steering wheel.
    Life Unscripted

  2. Do you think that on the subject of “hate” that there is an element of “control” or seeking/loss of control that is often at play as well?

    I was browsing blogs this morning and came across this one.

    http://pubtheologian.com/2013/09/09/practicing-theology-without-a-net/

    While I realize your perspective is different there is a comment in there that struck me in relation to the origins of hate… and that’s control.

    “‘How come you Christians never participative in things you can’t control?’” He says, ”Ouch. Great question. We have a very hard time with letting go—with allowing truly open-ended conversation that doesn’t lead twoard a nicely wrapped ending with a gospel presentation of some sort.” “Having a truly open forum is something most Christians are afraid to do, because we want control.”

    And it got me thinking about the interplay between hatred (externally) and the inability to control (internally) — So many times hatred seems related to personal dislike — and thus the inability of someone to control the actions, status, color, religion, etc., of another.

    Whether it’s a murder like Trayvon Martin, or Caine killing Abel the hatred has to begin some place — but how does society ever address, prevent, remediate, such a feeling of being out of control in a world where never giving up is lauded as more of a virtue than being ‘thoughtful’, ‘sensitive’, or ‘fair.’

    P

    • You hit it on the head – the inability to control something we dislike.I was thinking the exact same thing today with this analogy….

      I really don’t like Chinese 5 spice, as in one whiff and the bile starts to rise. Aside from my immediate family, no one knows, I don’t make an issue of it and avoid food containing it.Now suppose I decided I would go out a build a place free from 5 spice – absolutely no Chinese restaurants allowed. Heck, I dislike it so much – no Chinese families allowed – period!So consumed with the forbidden spice blend, I would instruct my police force to “discourage” the Chinese from even stepping foot in my spice blend free paradise.

      How would these ridiculous actions be any different from those of Kerodin and his intended Citadel?

      There is simply no resolution that makes all of us happy. Freedom of speech and religion are sacred ground not to be tread upon. That said, is there a point where it becomes something sinister, something that crosses a yet to be determined line?

      I’m still pondering….

      • I’ll come to your “No 5 Spice” Island if you ever build it. I too really dislike the AROMA first and the combined flavor as well, and it’s funny because I like most of those flavor notes by themselves.

        The thing that has me concerned about the hatred issue is that as ugly as hatred is I am troubled by laws that attempt to assign Motive or Intent to anything that hasn’t been acted upon. Hence the comments on the ‘posters’

        No one wants to see a hate monger actually harming anyone else, but short of actual harm I’m not sure if it’s possible to say, ‘because you think it, you will do it.” Millions of people have suicidal thoughts who do not ever commit suicide. Millions have murderous thoughts, or larcenous thoughts, who never follow through on the action.

        In so many ways words aren’t much more than thoughts. And how to draw a line that says, you can think it in your brain, but don’t ever doodle it on a notepad, or print it on a printer, or post it on a billboard?

        The founding fathers (no gender bias intended) — Yours and Ours — could not have anticipated a world altered by travel and technology as we see it today. So the laws they started with could never have foreseen such diverse cultures. When they moved from wherever they tended to move in more or less homogenous ‘chunks’ seeking to be left alone and allowed to be what they wanted to be. No one planned on other ‘chunks’ inhabiting the same territory who ALSO wanted nothing more than to be left alone to live their life as they chose — too many chunks and not enough room makes for a lot of people who want to be left alone who aren’t… alone that is.

        Long ago I have given up any notion that inclusion is a ‘good’ thing. Not universally. The idea sounds wonderful. But I sincerely doubt that the human animal is sensitive enough (en masse) for a truly inclusive society to survive. No one thought the Soviet Union would collapse; nor are they thinking the U.S. will collapse — but to me it’s merely a matter of time and circumstance. There are at least a dozen examples of ethnic cleansing that I can think of in the last 100 years — all because people want to be left alone to be who they are — even at the cost of other people’s lives. It’s a sad, sad, sad, state of affairs that we have gotten ourselves into because we have let our idealism outstrip our humanity. We can conceive what we cannot fulfill.

        Anyway…. thanks for the ponder.

        P

      • You’ll be the first to know if I ever develop “5 spice free land”

        This ponder truly has my head in a spin because the last thing I would ever want to represent is the things that make me hurl. We are all entitled to our opinions; I certainly wouldn’t want my voice silenced.

        Social media is a huge contributing factor. Not one any of us (at least those of our generation) could ever have predicted.

        I’m no closer to an answer than when first pondering 🙂

      • well, then we’ll just keep pondering. This is sort of a parallel idea to some other topics that have troubled me for a long while so you hit a hot button.

        🙂
        p

  3. I agree with the comment up above: policing thoughts is problematic! And controlling what people say doesn’t make hate go away – just because ageism or racism or sexism are more socially unacceptable now, I don’t think that means people stop thinking in those terms – at least not straight away. Maybe it’s a case of ‘fake it till you make it’?

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