Medicine for Hate

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Gandhi

I was moved in recent months to read about hate as a feeling, as an energy and as a force in the world.

On June 16, I led a workshop on hatred and was grateful to be joined by eight others representing a variety of religious, cultural and political perspectives.

In advance of the gathering, we read an excerpt from Dr. Howard Thurman’s book The Growing Edge.  We discussed one paragraph as particularly relevant to the US today, given our changing global position and distressing political situation:

“Hatred becomes one of the sources of pride when all other sources of our pride have disappeared.  It becomes a source of self-respect when no amount of projection can locate any other spot upon which self-respect may land and be nurtured and sustained.  This is an important act in the drama of human life.  What can we do about it?”

After exploring hate from a couple of religious and cultural perspectives, we broke into groups to look at it as a phenomenon in more detail.  Lots of rich discussion ensued.  Finally, we brainstormed ways to concretely reduce hate in our communities.  The list is below.

If you are interested in hosting a similar event or would like to attend one at Gandhi, please let me know. I can be reached via email at kmiller@admin.rochester.edu.

Ideas for reducing hate:

-Love/embrace your community

-Create more deliberately multi-cultural events/festivals

-Offer spaces/opportunities for deep understanding of addiction

-Look for common ground during disagreements

-Lead by example

-Teach conflict resolution to young and all

-Be respectful when disagreeing

-Remember that everyone wants love and respect

-Get to know your own anger so it may be more useful

-Let go of ego and the need to be right

-Create more opportunities for people to gather /community spaces

-Move beyond rhetoric- encourage people

-Make sure there is reciprocity in any volunteerism or service

-Move beyond the polarities in any discussion

-Find people who see things differently and listen

-Stop shaming troubles so they are easier for people to share

By Kit Miller

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