And I tormented her … mercilessly. I mean, everyone did. Even the teachers picked on her. It doesn’t make it any better, does it? Vicky was clearly a troubled kid. She would hit herself and give herself bloody noses and she had hygiene problems — she had big hygiene problems. But instead of helping this girl, who was plainly suffering from hardships in her life … we called her “Sticky Vicky.” I called her “Sticky Vicky.”
My clearest memory is standing in the empty hallway outside the fifth grade classrooms waiting for Vicky to come out of the bathroom, and I have a clipboard and a pen and a survey I’ve made up, asking about shampoo preferences, like I’m doing a study for science class or something. And when Vicky comes out of the bathroom, I pounce on her and I ask her what shampoo she uses.Now, to put this in perspective, I can’t remember the names of my teachers, I can’t remember the names of any of the books I read that year, I pretty much can’t remember anything from fifth grade,but I remember that Vicky told me she used White Rain shampoo. Clear as yesterday, like it just happened. And as classes let out, I ran down the hall shouting at all the other kids, “Sticky Vicky uses White Rain shampoo. Don’t use White Rain shampoo or you’ll smell like Sticky Vicky.”
And as I’d catch myself in these moments of hypocrisy, either I was just noticing them or they were getting worse, especially in the last few years. And as I felt more hateful — rageful, really — I noticed the world around me seemed to be getting more hateful, too. Like there was this steady undercurrent of hate bubbling up all around us and increasingly overflowing.
I am defining hate in a broad way because I think we have a big problem. And we need to solve all of it, not just the most extremes. So for instance, we probably all agree that marching down the street, chanting about you should take away rights from some group of people because of their skin color or their gender, we’d all agree that’s hate, right? OK. What if you believe that group of people is inferior, but you don’t say it? Is that hate? Or what if you believe that group of people is inferior but you aren’t aware that you believe it — what’s known as implicit bias. Is that hate? I mean they all have the same roots, don’t they? In the historic patterns of racism and sexism that have shaped our history and still infect our society today. Isn’t it all hate?
Wrong. We all hate. And I do not mean that in some abstract, generic sense. I mean all of us … me and you. That sanctimonious pedestal of superiority on which we all place ourselves, that they are hateful and we are not, is a manifestation of the essential root of hate: that we are fundamentally good and they are not, which is what needs to change.
So in trying to understand and solve hate, I read every book and every research study I could find,but I also went and talked to some former Nazis and some former terrorists and some former genocidal killers, because I figured if they could figure out how to escape hate, surely the rest of us could.
Let me give you just one example of the former terrorist I spent time with in the West Bank. When Bassam Aramin was 16 years old, he tried to blow up an Israeli military convoy with a grenade. He failed, fortunately, but he was still sentenced to seven years in prison. When he was in prison, they showed a film about the Holocaust. Up until that point, Bassam had thought the Holocaust was mostly a myth. He went to go watch the film because he thought he would enjoy seeing Jews get killed. But when he saw what really happened, he broke down crying. And eventually, after prison,Bassam went on to get a master’s degree in Holocaust studies and he founded an organization where former Palestinian combatants and Israeli combatants come together, work together, try to find common ground. By his own account, Bassam used to hate Israelis, but through knowing Israelis and learning their stories and working together for peace, he overcame his hate. Bassam says he still doesn’t hate Israelis, even after the Israeli military — shot and killed his -year-old daughter, Abir, while she was walking to school.
If a former terrorist … if a terrorist can learn to stop hating and still not hate when their child is killed, surely the rest of us can stop our habits of demeaning and dehumanizing each other. And I will tell you there are stories like Bassam’s all over the world, plus study after study after studythat says, no, we are neither designed nor destined as human beings to hate, but rather taught to hate by the world around us. I promise you, none of us pops out of the womb hating black people or Republicans. There is nothing in our DNA that makes us hate Muslims or Mexicans. For better or for worse, we are all a product of the culture around us. And the good news is, we’re also the ones who shape that culture, which means we can change it.
The first step is starting to recognize the hate inside ourselves. We need to catch ourselves and our hateful thoughts in all their forms in all of us … and work to challenge our ideas and assumptions. That doesn’t happen overnight, I am telling you right here, it is a lifelong journey, but it’s one we all need to take.
And then second: if we want to challenge the hate in our societies, we need to promote policies and institutions and practices that connect us as communities. Literally, like integrated neighborhoods and schools. That by the way is the reason to support integration. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because integration systematically combats hate. There are studies that teenagers who participate in racially integrated classes and activities reduce their racial bias. And when little kids go to racially integrated kindergartens and elementary schools —they develop less bias to begin with. But the fact is in so many ways and in so many places around our world, we are separated from each other. In the United States, for instance, three-quarters of white people don’t have any non-white friends.
咨询电话：18888-183-196重庆市南川区咨询点： 地址1：重庆南川百货公司四楼416室 南川区地址2：重庆市南川区商会大厦20楼小青蛙企业孵化中心。 总校址：上海市轨道交通11号线光明路地铁站旁光明馨座2-2807-8室