Hate ain’t working…

 

A couple of months ago I watched a BBC documentary on the KKK, an organisation whom I will happily admit I despise on principle. Which was also the viewpoint that was taken by the filmmakers, who rightly held little sympathy for the views expressed by the subjects of the documentary. But then it’s hard to have much sympathy for a man who is looking on with pride, as his 4-year-old dons a white hood and starts shouting ‘WHITE POWER’ while making the kind of salutes that were popular in Germany in the 1930’s. It’s not easy to hold much sympathy for a group of people who burn crosses and speaking of the need for a race war. It’s even harder to hold much in the way of sympathy when you know your one of the very liberal left that the KKK despises almost as much as they despise people of colour. These are not my people, in any way, shape or form.

920x920

I hate racists, for many reasons, but mostly I hate them on the very simple principle. I have been rob, threaten, insulted and treated like crap by far more white people in my life as people of colour, because I have met a lot more of them. People are people, and arseholes are arseholes. The colour or creed of a person has no influence on their ability to be an arsehole. If I dislike people, if I hate people, it’s down to the things they do, not the colour of their skin, or for that matter, which the particular fictional sky god they happen to pray to.

Hate is perhaps a strong word. It is, however, a natural reaction and a very human reaction, to hate what you don’t understand. Just as it is natural to feel threatened by something or someone you don’t understand. That, ironically, is the real crux of the problem I have with racists.

I don’t understand them because I don’t understand how you can hate a race or a people because they are different from you. You see… Irony. I am caught in my own loop. I hate the people who hate because I don’t understand them and the seed of their hate is fear, derived in part from them not understanding the people they hate…

It’s hard to find sympathy for the members of the KKK. For racists in general. Just as it is hard not to hate them, and in doing so fall into the same trap, just from a different direction. Hate is alluring, it compels you into its web, like a spider beckoning at your with one leg while it prepares to pounce with the other seven. Hating them without understanding the reasons for their hatred and the source of their rhetoric is just as dangerous and as foolish as the hatred that drives them.

And, there are reasons for their hatred, there are always reasons for hate, reasons why people end up in right wing organisations. Just as there are reasons why people end up in left-wing organisations. Often with the same irony, these reasons are much the same.

An example in the BBC documentary was one of the main subjects of that documentary a man called Ralph. Ralph grew up through the South Carolina school system. The high school he went to because of where he grew up was 80% black. As a minority within the school, he was treated, at least to his mind, badly by the black majority. Bullied and isolated by the colour of his skin. The school itself was poor and devoid of resources which only made the divisions within it stronger. Under-investment in a majority Black school left the white minority even more isolated. Resentment can breed quickly when you are the other, and in that situation that is exactly what he was. It’s not entirely surprising that a young man going through the system and feeling like the outsider graduates towards those who tell him he is under threat. Those who offer the protection of the group. His views on race and race relations are informed by his environment in other words. And sure it is easy to say he should have risen above all that. That it is no excuse for racism and hatred. But sitting in our ivory towers and looking down on him and his choices doesn’t solve anything.

racism-wrong1

There is the important thing we need to consider when we chose to hate racists. They’re, despite how much we would like to paint them such, not stupid. Or at least no more stupid than the next bunch of people you come across. They are not all ill-educated knuckle dragging morons. They are just as much products of society as we are. Their attitudes and opinions are likewise a product of society. Affirmative action and education are not enough, in a society where racism is rife actions on both sides of the line, the status quo ultimately feeds the hatred. And hating racists for their ideas and beliefs doesn’t work. Hating the haters just feeds the hate at the end of the day. We need to understand why they hate and try, no matter how difficult it may be, to have some sympathy for what made them haters first. If we can ever hope to overcome racism.

In Ralphs case, had his school been a little better funded. Had it worked harder to include everyone, and prevent the sides been drawn, perhaps he would not have ended up being the father of a four-year-old in a white hood. Starting a whole new generation down the same nasty road…

Perhaps then I would not find myself drive to hate Ralph for what he stands for…

And back to irony…

 

This entry was posted in opinion, politics, rights and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s