Overcome the Hate

Prince Philip died today, and among the outpouring of grief, was a surprising amount of hate, which made me think about the things people like to hate each other over.

The last couple of years we’ve had the #BLM movement, #MeToo and now #StopAsianHate. There’s been a bunch of other hashtag movements in there, as if human kind is going to suddenly change its ways because of a viral thing on Twitter.

Just like Kay says in Men in Black, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet.”

People are also alternately peace loving creatures, and horribly violent. People have hated other people for their color, their religion, their clan or their last name for millennia. People have fought wars over chosen deities since they were invented. They’re still doing it. People like to pretend it’s only still happening in places like the middle east, but as brief ago as the 90’s, the Catholics and Protestants were blowing each other up in the middle of the street in Ireland.

The 90’s also brought us the Bosnian War. There was raping, ethnic cleaning, some genocide. People fighting over land and religion.

Myanmar is having a conflict right now. Hopefully it won’t be like their last genocidal campaign, but people are people, and a lot more people will probably die before it’s resolved.

Between wars, conflicts, and genocidal campaigns, we’ve got mass murders, gang warfare, serial killers and various other forms of hate happening around the world.

On a smaller scale, people from NSW make fun of QLDs, people from Melbourne shit on people from Sydney.

Basically, humans aren’t nearly as peace loving as we like to pretend to be. Or maybe, as we aspire to be.

We’ve had periods of enlightenment. Times where people have collectively simmered down, and tried really hard to be cordial to each other. Times when peace and civility reigned. We like to cling on to those times, and I think that’s part of the appeal of shows like Brigerton. There’s sex and gossip, but people are generally well mannered, even if they are being forced to marry people they’d rather not.

Social media is a mixed bag when it comes to how we show our humanity. I think it really depends on who you follow, as to what you see, but that’s where we can create change.

If you’re following a bunch of people who are happy, cheerful, who spread love, you’re likely to feel that joy yourself, and will in turn pass it on.

If you’re an unhappy person, who follows a bunch of other unhappy people who spout hate, you’re going to live that. You’re going to pass it on. If all your friends are racist, you’re probably going to learn to be racist. If your friends are all believers in everyone being equal, you’re more likely to get the message that we should all love not only others, but ourselves.

And this is where it really matters. It’s how people feel about themselves that they then project out onto others in the world.

Right now people are focused on Asian hate. We’re listening to people of Asian descent talk about the hate and predjudice they’re experiencing. Before that it’s was black people. Before that it was people who had been sexually assaulted.

They’re ALL valid, and we should absolutely listen to everyone who speaks up. But I want people who feel like they’re being picked on to know that they’re not alone. They’re not being picked on more, or less, than anyone else.

At some point, we’ve all been targeted. Redheads get called Ranga, which still seems to be acceptable, even though you’re comparing them to a primate, which is completely taboo when it comes to comparing a black person and an ape. It’s accepted to make fun of short people, but not actual little people. At 4’11, or 150cms, I’m not legally a little person, but I’ve heard every short joke imaginable. Same as when I was a blond.

Australia has always enjoyed tall poppy syndrome, which is also a form of hating someone different from you. But it’s ok to punch up, so it’s accepted. Rich or successful people apparently don’t have feelings, so it’s totally OK to call them names, or send them threats, or physically assault them in the street. People shit on actors and models all the time, because they’ve chosen a public life, so they’re inviting the hate.

Anyone who speaks up about sexual assault deserves hundreds of pages of stuff written about them, calling them names and suggesting threats of harm, because they spoke up.

When I was an exchange student, people in Honduras assumed I was an American, and threw racist insults at me for that.

At all parts of my life, I’ve had people pick on me, or insult me, or send me threats, because of who or what other people thought I was. Notice I didn’t say because of who I was, but because of who the other person thought I was. I say that, because if people actually know someone, they don’t hurl that kind of hate. (Well, sometimes they do, but it’s not generally racist or religious type stuff)

When people target you because of something shallow and superficial like race, hair color, height, the clothes you wear, it actually says very little about you, and a whole lot about them.

People have always felt small and inferior, and they try to make themselves feel better by throwing shade on someone else. It’s a very temporary form of making yourself feel better though, so they have to do it more and more. Eventually, they can just become a hateful person. But while they see that hate directed outwards, it’s really just directed inwards.

If some middle class white person makes fun of your because of your culture, they’re probably just jealous, because let’s face it, white people don’t really have a whole lot of culture to cling to. While many places have kept their traditional food and dress, white people keep updating themselves, and nobody (except the Irish with Riverdance) is going around holding onto the waltz or wearing fancy dresses while sipping high tea. There’s nothing wrong with constantly updating yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your traditions, they’re just different, and people should accept and embrace that. It goes both ways though. While many cultures have embraced modern western culture, westerners are chided for “appropriating” other cultures. This is just creating more divide and hate. Instead of claiming its appropriation, maybe see it as cultural appreciation. Just like it’s OK for a young Japanese person to wear 501’s and converse, it should be Ok for a white person to don a yukata by the pool.

If everyone assumed other people came from a place of good intent, instead of thinking their being hated on, there would be more fun banter, and less cold insults.

Instead of thinking people are picking on me for my height, I co-opted the name Shrimp, and I see that people are engaging with me. I AM short, there’s nothing I can do about it. But I can choose to not be angry when someone mentions it. If someone is being obviously hurtful about it, I ignore it. I know it’s not really about me, they’re just looking for something to start something with, and that’s an overly obvious choice. I think it’s lazy, and I can choose to not engage, or, turn it around. I don’t need to challenge it, but I can ask them something about themselves. Gauge how they react to that. Don’t insult them back. Just ask a gentle question. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make someone back down. If they’re looking for a fight, and you don’t give them one, they’ll move on. If they’re just looking for attention, you’ve given it to them, and now that you’re engaging them, they’ll see you as a person, not just a race, or religion, or whatever they’re insulting.

People are so many things, but we’re also simple, and we usually notice one thing first. That’s why we dress in Blue or Maroon, so we know instantly who to throw the insults to, and who are “own people” are.

Long rambling story short, keep telling your stories. Keep listening to other people’s stories. Sharing them lets people know that we’re all human, and that we all have feelings, and that we’ve probably all said something that hurt somebody else’s feelings. Don’t feel like you’re alone, or you’re the only person being targeted. Remember whether you’re black, Asian, redhead, white, muslim, jew, Christian, gay, straight, trans, tall or short, you’ve all had some idiot say something mean to you. Look outside your bubble, and see that everyone is getting hated on. Not to minimize your feelings, but to know that there’s other people out there that share what you’re going through. Stand up for them next time some idiot says something hateful to them.

If you want to see how far hate online goes, just look at the threads today over Prince Philip. It takes a special kind of self hating fuckwit to rejoice in the death of someone who was forced into exile as a child, and then went on to devote their entire life to their adopted country. He was basically a refugee, then a war hero, and then played second fiddle to his wife, and people are still insulting him online. Philip wasn’t always the most eloquent guy, and he put his foot in his mouth several times over the years, but realistically, who wouldn’t over the course of 99 years? I’ve said plenty of things I regret over my 44 years, but I try to learn from it, and become a better person.

So next time someone insults you, know that they’re just a deeply unhappy person who doesn’t know you at all. They’re just deflecting from their own deeply boring  or sad life. You can choose whether to let them know you’re more than just that, or you can offer them a hug. It’s probably something they’re desperately needing. Social distancing seems to have made people worse, so that’s just a guess. 🤷‍♀️

Be kind to each other out there.