I recently received the opportunity to interview the author of the new book “Creating Hate: How It Is Done. How to Destroy It. A Practical Handbook”, which takes a deep look at the root of how hate is created and perpetrated by others. Much like many things in bullying, hatred and resentment are feelings that both the victim and the bully can have. These issues can work themselves into the psyche of the person and then continue for their life. Author Nancy Omeara takes readers on a journey to the origins of hate and how we might better deal with it in the future. I learned much from my interview with her as I hope you will reading it.
Q: Why do you think there is so much apathy today in the world? Do you believe we are more apathetic today or empathetic?
Ms. Omera: It might be because today people can see bad things happening “live” from anywhere in the world, so think they can’t do anything about it themselves. This isn’t true. Just by looking around – including at websites like yours – one can see that individuals make a difference every day. Even small changes, collectively, make a big difference.
Q.: Why do you think people struggle with race relations so much? What do you believe is the cause of hatred among different races?
Ms. Omera: In my experience it is mostly ignorance reinforced by lies or information that is partly true, but is slanted to lower the opinion of another race. Truths – like the facts that DNA, blood tests, brain scans, x-rays, IQ tests, driving exams, etc. don’t show any difference in races – are not pushed. Truthfully “race” is about skin pigmentation – with northern races needing less pigment because the sun’s rays are weaker.
I once read about a white boy living in Africa whose local friends felt sorry for him because of his lack of color – thus easily sunburned skin.
Q: You talk of the use of Generalities as a hate issue? This has been going on for centuries, whether race or religion. Why do you believe this still continues today and how can it be stopped? Even today, people use terms such as “they tried to jew me down” to talk about someone negotiating. Do you think people even know what they are saying anymore? Are they really hateful or ignorant?
Ms. Omera: People haven’t been taught that hurtful generalities can breed hate and ill-will. Words like they, them, everyone, all can be used as destructive propaganda. As can, of course, words that put a whole class of people in a negative light.
We have to look at individuals – how they behave, how they treat others, what they do in life. Where they came from, their parentage they had no control over.
Q: Do you believe that, as in your book, leaders perpetrate lies in order to create hate? It seems true more in the 20th and 21st centuries. Why has this become part of accepted culture?
Ms. Omera: Yes, leaders of groups like the KKK, anti-gay organizations, some political group organizations, and even some religious leaders push the faults of what they oppose, rather than promoting better ideas from their own group. Maybe it’s accepted because we want to believe it.
I don’t think most people really believe everything they hear from their leaders. Too many have been proven wrong in hindsight. I think the average person is a lot more discerning than their leaders realize. (Which might be why leaders change so often in so many groups.)
Q: You talk in your book about religious intolerance or religious hatred. Why do you think it is so easy to use religion as a way to create hate? How can this be stopped?
Ms. Omera: Most of us really know very little about other religions. It is not studied in public school (separation of Church and State), nor usually in religious-based schools (like Catholic schools). So unless we actually meet, talk to in-depth, delve, and ask deeper questions, we might know the surface differences between religions.
In fact, it doesn’t take much digging to learn that most religions (in their actual writings, maybe not some interpretations) teach about caring for one’s fellow man, respecting all people, the importance of family. Universal similarities at the most basic level.
Q: How guilty do you believe the mainstream media is today in helping continue the spread of hate? For example, why do you think the media focuses more on negative stories than helping promote more positive items the world, to include political rhetoric?
Mainstream media has an agenda – they run stories based on harm, sex, big money, big names and controversy. A story is considered “sexy” the more of these items it contains. You can prove this to yourself by looking up the information on who wins Nobel Prizes – for immensely important contributions to science and culture. Nobel Prize Winners might get a 2-inch square on a front page in complete opposition to the contribution their work has for the future of mankind.
I’ve spoken to many media people and have rarely found them deeply interested in the truth. Instead they want a “story” – with as much controversy as possible.
Q: The book talks of trying to push non-violence, a feeling I also share. How do you think the world can start to think more in that manner? Is it a matter of education or continued ignorance on the part of parts of the world?
Non-violence requires education and rational heads. When violence breaks out everyone and anyone who can make their voice heard needs to do so. We can’t just leave it to the police. Ministers, school principals, teachers, Scout leaders, parent groups have to take action. History is filled with the excellent results of people standing strong for peaceful, non-violent change and for redress of wrongs in a non-violent way. I don’t know that these examples are given enough importance in our study of history.
Q: Finally, my website deals with the long-term effects of bullying. How do you think bullying fits in with early learning of hatred and how can we change the thinking of that younger bully to learn to be more non-violent? On that note, do you think hate is a natural trait or a taught trait?
Children have to be taught to respect others. It should be done by parents but we know that doesn’t always happen. So it has to be taught in school.
Children are actually greatly affected by those around them. If children won’t let other children bully, it can be stopped. Children can be taught to stand up, not violently, but by telling a bully to stop, telling them it’s not OK. Kids can be quite strong. They can stand up against bullying and that can stop the minority of children who do bully.
I was rarely bullied myself as I could use the threat of my two older brothers to scare off other children. So in my experience bullies are cowards. They attack from a position of weakness. I’d like to see the “good kids” ganging up, speaking out against and stopping bullying.
One final comment is that a better measure of any person, rather than religion, race, sexual preference, is whether they are living a productive, contributive life. I.e. Are they adding to the world – from web-designers to fireman, teachers to counselors – people whether a person is giving or taking (as in criminals, in jail, using your hard-earned money to live on) should be the measure. Schools seem to teach facts and figures. Parents, siblings, groups like Scouts and 4H, Church groups, these seem to teach values. The more values and the more ability to think for oneself – the better.
You can get Nancy Omeara’s new book “Creating Hate: How It Is Done. How to Destroy It. A Practical Handbook” at bookstores and on Amazon.com to learn more about this subject and about how Ms. Omeara approaches stopping hate.
NANCY OMEARA volunteered on a national religious tolerance hotline for over five years , personally answering more than 5,000 calls and helping people resolve all kinds of situations involving deep belief differences. Nancy has lived in seven different countries, and visited a dozen others, interacting with people of diverse religions, backgrounds and values. The concepts in this book stem from her personal experiences. (Biography courtesy of Amazon.com)