With all the craziness in the world today, I am reminded that we all have free will. One of those is our choice to love or hate. We are not born with an innate desire to hate others, this is taught both by direct messages and by observed actions. There is not something in us as babies that tell us to hate those different from ourselves; yet, many children grow up to be adults full of hatred for those of a different race or culture and even different religions.
I recall taking my son on a cruise at age 5. He was playing in the children’s area while I napped. When I went to pick him up he was crying. When I asked what was wrong, he said a little boy called him a “mulatto”. Now, my child didn’t even know what that word meant but the way it was said to him, he knew it was meant to be harmful. I was perplexed, as that term was not even a terminology I heard used towards me as I was growing up – so was before MY time as well! For those unfamiliar with this word, mulatto means “a person of mixed white and black ancestry” and can be considered a racist or derogatory term. And it does not accurately describe my son. So, how does a 5 year old learn to use a word from the 19th century in a hurtful way? He was taught this.
There are too many in America that are violently indifferent to those of a different race, culture, religion, or even sexual orientation that refuse to identify where these feelings stem from and try to change their perspective. Just as hate is learned so is love. In loving, we do not judge, we seek to understand. In loving, we do not condemn, we seek to absolve. In loving, we do not attack, but seek to find a common ground. Just because we have different opinions on how to operate in this life should not result in hate towards one another. I don’t condone violence, yet I see people who are hurting, confused, and feeling ignored. See, we all have our own thoughts about how things should be, how we should live our lives, how we should raise our kids, etc., yet that should not result in hatred or violence or even verbal attacks.
Take this to a closer level, in our workplace, how do we treat one another – Woman to women? Are we envious and hurtful towards one another? When we see a sister failing, do we cheer or assist? When we see another female being attacked, do we run to her aid or ignore her? Too many times in my career, I have seen the division in women in a workplace that is predominately male. And the saddest part about it is the division often stems from petty things. I was told once that since I did not wear 3in heels or designer label clothing, I did not “fit in” with the rest of the women in my group. What about my performance? My appearance was still professional, yet my performance was overlooked. Think about it, this hatred or dislike of others because they differ from us – even in how we think – is very damaging and it expands well beyond the walls of what is happening in communities around the world. And ultimately, we cannot blame one race or group of people… Each of us has a responsibility and we own our behavior. Thus, we can change the world by changing ourselves with how we think and act. We unlearn hate. We choose to teach love and live in love. We choose love over hate. We love.