I know I have a loyal following of readers. And I also know I don’t have hundreds of thousands of readers. The reason is I refuse to hate. The most widely circulated posts are ones of controversial hate and attack with a side of sarcastic belittlement.
The standard hate and attack article is a black and white, us versus them diatribe loaded with closed-minded labeling and unsubstantiated assumptions. Open mindedness, compassion, and a genuine desire for understanding are lacking. Complaints are lodged without suggested resolutions. The intent is to demonize others in order to promote the writer’s beliefs and agenda. Some of these articles have a very clear purpose of attack. Other articles are written in pseudo-funny way achieving the same result of ostracizing one group or way of thinking. Either tactic does a lot for readership but it does nothing for understanding, empathy and real change.
When I find articles for causes with which I agree, 90% of the time I will not share them due to their negative betrayal of the other viewpoint. For instance, I am not a fan of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) due to my history of reactions to processed foods and the conclusion that I run better on natural food. Many articles come across my screen with great facts and information showing the negative effects of GMO’s. However, I can not share the majority of these articles due to how the companies creating GMO’s are portrayed as Satan. Even if the GMO companies are focused on profit over the health of the consumer, the people in the company are still humans. These individuals may be making poor choices in my eyes but it does not make them lesser than I am. When we label others as evil, bad, greedy, wicked, corrupt, stupid, ugly, asinine, or a host of other names we stop seeing them as real individuals.
In his book The Journey is the Destination, R. Alan Woods said, “A sociopath is one who see others as impersonal objects.” I believe in labeling others, we take away their humanity and make them into impersonal objects. Objects that no longer have feelings or emotions. Objects that no longer have rights. Objects, not people. In labeling others we make it easier to fight and attack them verbally and physically. If we look at current political posts, gay marriage conversations, and discussions around the African American community, it is easy to see how both sides of the conversation easily jump to labeling their adversaries.
We have all made poor, uneducated decisions in our lives. We have been motivated by fear, greed, or desire. We are all human. We do good. We do bad. None of our actions make us less than human. None of our actions lock us into a role for life. Even criminals and addicts can be reformed. When we label someone as bad we have judged them and locked them into a category they can never escape. We dehumanize them and feel justified in attacking them.
As you go about your week, see if you can profess your beliefs without attacking or labeling others. In doing so, see how much further you can get into a discussion, understanding and resolution for the things you find important.
If you do not agree with my post, know that I still respect you and your viewpoint.