Why is it necessary for us to extremely dislike or hate others for no valid reason? I don’t understand where it stems from. Since the dawn of time, it seems like one ‘man’ is trying to obliterate another. Currently, people of Asian descent are being targeted. What the hell is that all about?! I can comprehend being unhappy with an individual if they did something ugly or awful to me. If someone hurt me personally, especially in a way that had a huge, negative impact on my life, I might be just a ‘tad’ upset with them. However, I cannot figure out how people can hate an entire race, so much so, that they would be willing to go out of their way to seriously maim or kill them. Hating someone because of their race is bad enough but that’s not the only reason we humans hate other humans. We hate people for so many asinine reasons. Why is that? Just because a person has a different religious or spiritual belief or a different sexual identity or a different skin color or a different nationality, why is their value diminished in some people’s eyes?
It just keeps happening over and over and we never seem to learn. I am currently reading a book by Yvette Manessis Corporon, ‘Something Beautiful Happened’. It’s about how people from the Greek island of Erikousa risked their lives during World War II in order to save a Jewish man and his family from the Nazis. This man and his family did not deserve to be hunted and exterminated, nor did any of the Jews. Not then, not now, not ever. And yet, nearly every day, I hear about budding fascist groups that are dead set on trying to eliminate Jews from the face of this planet. How does this happen? Is it government entities or parental figures or propaganda or peers that ‘feed’ this distorted belief that Jews have less value than others; therefore, should not exist? This way of thinking is so beyond sick and disturbing that I struggle with how anyone can actually believe it. I watch footage on TV and just shake my head. Droves of these people are coming out of the woodwork and waving their flags high above their heads with pride. Hating people just because they have different beliefs than you or I do is nothing to be proud of.
I do understand that fear is often what fuels hatred, fear and/or ignorance. I feel very fortunate that I’ve had a chance to meet many different people throughout my life. Fears are often dispelled when we have a chance to actually meet and learn about people (and develop empathy). I grew up in a very homophobic household. My biological father was very vocal about his hatred and intolerance for gays. Fortunately, while in high school, I became friends with a guy (who eventually ‘came out’). He is still one of my best friends to this day. Had I judged him for his sexual identity, I would have missed out on an incredible life-long friendship. I’ve also had a chance to meet and develop friendships with people that come from nearly every walk of life. I am grateful that I’ve had these opportunities because it has helped me learn about so many different people and cultures and not view the world from a narrow lens. That is one of few positive experiences I took from joining the military.
Yet, for so many others, ‘the beat goes on’. The hatred grows and seems to feed on itself. As I said, people ‘hate’ for the most asinine reasons. In my lifetime alone, there have been so many brutal acts committed over differences in belief or appearance or ‘what belongs to whom’. The history of the United States is rife with injustices imposed upon people considered ‘lesser than’ or ‘different’. The original people, the Native Americans, were the first to experience how greed can be used to rationalize the most abhorrent of behaviors. It was just a matter of time before Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and so many others got a chance to experience first-hand how ugly and awful (primarily white) people can be. What really blows my mind is how people can do such terrible things and feel completely justified in their actions. Sad to say, but it doesn’t just happen in the United States, it happens all over the world. Pick nearly any continent and if you look close enough, you will likely find a group of people being mistreated, abused, or marginalized.
It’s either that, or it’s one group warring with another group over differences in beliefs or ‘what belongs to whom’. Off the top of my head (just in my lifetime), the following come to mind: Protestants vs. Catholics, the Vietnam War, Israel vs. Palestine, the Bosnian War, Tutsis vs Hutus, and the Uighurs. I was just reading an article about some of the current countries or regions experiencing conflict. If you go to the following website, https://www.crisisgroup.org/global/10-conflicts-watch-2021, it’s a very sobering read. Geez, I’m sorry to be such a downer today but I was talking to my 2nd oldest brother Turtle earlier and it got me thinking. We were discussing my oldest sister (who died in a car accident when she was 31 and I was 16). Because she was so much older than me, I wasn’t aware of what she went through growing up. My brother wasn’t so lucky. He got to witness the continual abuse. According to him (and other siblings I’ve spoken with), my father hated her from the minute he set eyes on her. How do you hate an innocent child that is your own flesh and blood?
When my brother was recounting all of the things he saw when he was growing up, he actually broke down in tears. I’ve never heard him cry before. And when he shared what she was subjected to, it broke my heart. My mom had told me that my father was always jealous of my oldest sister but I didn’t realize how terrible he treated her until today. She was beautiful and vibrant and talented and smart and had she been nurtured and loved properly growing up, I imagine her life could have and would have been so very different. Unfortunately, my father was convinced that she was just like his sister. In his mind, when his sister was born, he immediately lost favor in his parents’ eyes and she got all of the attention. He carried that ‘chip on his shoulder’ for years, and when my sister was born, he took out all of his anger on her. It’s hard for me to understand how a father, whose responsibility is to love and protect his children, can have so much hatred towards one of his own. He was relentless in his goal to destroy her.
I was clueless about it all. She was 15 when I was born and I have no recollection of any of these abuses (thank God). “What did he do to her?” I asked my brother. “You wouldn’t believe it,” he said, “She would come home after school and after entering the house, he’d immediately go after her (to beat her). With him in pursuit, she would run up the stairs and into her room and lock the door behind her. That didn’t stop him. He would follow her up to her room and kick in the door.” What is even worse is that he would encourage my oldest brother to assist him in cornering and trapping her so that he could catch her and whip her repeatedly with a belt. Eventually, he turned my oldest brother (the Kraken) completely against her and then my brother would take it upon himself to beat her into submission by repeatedly striking her in the face (until it was bruised and bloodied). It makes me physically ill to think that my own father, especially because he was so good to me, could treat his own child (my beautiful sister) this way and then involve my brother in his twisted pursuits at what, misdirected revenge?
If we cannot even treat our own family members with love and respect, how is this world (and the humans that inhabit it) ever going to be at peace? Have you ever heard of the term, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” For there to be any hope, I think that has to be one of the first steps moving forward. We have to stop looking at the outer packaging of people and look within, within others and within ourselves. We must have more tolerance for differences. I know I titled my blog post yesterday ‘Like with Like’ but I wasn’t referring to people, I was referring to ‘stuff’. It’s good to have diversity. It’s good to have people in our lives that help us see things from a different perspective. There is no need to be afraid of someone just because their religion or background or outward appearance or who they choose to love is different than what we’re accustomed to. We’re all just people after all. At the end of the day, I think all of us just want to love and be loved, and be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity. I’m going to go to bed now and think of my sister. I hope she is at peace now. My friends, I wish you peace as well.