Culture is defined as “a set of attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviours shared by a group of people, communicated from one generation to the next via language or some other means of communication” (Tanaka Matsumi).
Hate is a four-letter word, a four-letter word that means the same thing across the globe. In every culture, you will find hate against one thing or another. There are in-groups and out-groups, the in-groups are accepted while the out-groups are targeted for attack. Openly known and publicised Hate Groups in the United States have risen at epidemic rates in the past 16 years. In the year, 2000 there were 602 hate groups openly operating in the United States; in 2012 – 1018 hate groups, and 1274 anti-government groups that they claim were formed because of a hatred against President Obama, “because he is Black”.
In a nation where culture is supposed to converge and become a melting pot of social mobility and the American experiment of multiculturalism, hate is growing more and more each day. Hate is an attitude and belief passed down from each generation, powered by media soundbites steered by people similar to the melted Ken Doll of extreme capitalism, those who precede and currently support this conservative and ultra right wing attitude, and Trump himself. Understanding the culture of hate can lead to social policy and intervention, similarly it can combat hate and the epidemic of hate groups. Understanding if hate and the reasons why people join such groups is cross cultural and leads to generic intervention programs that stretch across culture and across societies spanning the planet, ultimately making better places for everyone to move without fear and social imprisonment.
Whether the hatred is between Palestinians and Jews, Japanese and Chinese, Neo-facist groups and pretty much anyone who doesn’t have white skin (and were not born in their nation), hatred is a cancer that eats the very soul of any culture. Culture is defined as a group of people with a common background, religious belief, ideology and behaviour…so why is it that in a decade where we have successfully sent machinery to Mars, discovered new methods of prolonging life, filtering the toxins from our seas, harnessing energy from the sun, wind and the waves; the hundreds of applications to Graphene and that a growing number of us have enough data stored in our phones to fill the Bodleian Library, we as a race of humans still cannot get past the dogma of religious and media filed hate against each other? Just because some men enjoy the company of other men, some women enjoy the company of other women and those who look forward to finally having the body match the mind of the gender they find happiness in.
At what point do we as a “culture” turn the other way when groups of British Passport owning men stripped to the waist cultivate pitch battles with other nations over a ball sport, because their fathers and older brothers did it in the 1980s and 90s; or stand by the ones who have free will and encouragement to enter into a building and kill with mindful intent and accuracy? At what point are we as a planet going to wake up and stop trying to deal with things we cannot accomplish and invest more in education, science and love. Education makes us more powerful than any politician, Science allows us to live longer and live a richer, more creative life and not give a hoot about religious doctrine. And love? Love can make us all much better people. Love makes us happy.
My thoughts are with the family and friends of the ones who lost their lives in Orlando the other night. I was less than a mile away from the Admiral Duncan in 1999 on that fateful evening in London. When criminal acts such as this are cited against religious groups it is something even our political spinners use to sway the public consciousness, even as far as effecting our boarder controls and fuel prices – yet when people of all secular and religious beliefs come together to celebrate their own social lives, on their terms, with their friends, and then have them cut down because they are gay is still [in 2016], it appears a forgettable crime, a difficult to understand act because one’s sexual orientation appears to be the business and control of others and still kept in the realms to hate by a growing number of people.
A reported 4000 people attended a moment of reflection in London yesterday, this vigil was part of a global response to these 49 lives lost. Within minutes of this significant show of solidarity 15 other countries publicised their support – including Israel, Afghanistan and Qatar. So, linking this atrocity to anything other than hate is an act of a fool.