Teaching Children to Hate

Of all the things that a culture can do, the most self-destructive is to teach children to hate. I was reminded of this when I reread an essay I wrote several years ago.

Teaching children to hate is almost the ultimate evil. It spreads
the sickness of racial and cultural bigotry by replacing a child's
natural curiosity with fear. 

There is a song by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young which contains these prophetic words:

Teach your children well…
And feed them on your dreams,
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.

In 2000, nine years ago, Palestinian kids were being taught to hate and kill Jews
through 'Sesame Street'-type TV shows. I understand that this practice is still going on.

When I first read about this, I felt the Palestinians were setting themselves up
for disaster. It is like raising a nation of "Jack the Rippers" and
thinking they will be loyal and obedient citizens who will create a bright future.  The events of the last nine years have not showed this to be a successful activity.

Hitler did it in a nation stunned and apathetic after WWI. He also
created the SS, one of the most despised organizations in the world at
the time. Like Ozymandias, only rubble remains of Hitler's dreams.

Teaching hate is not unique to any nation. There are
too many examples in the good old USA for us to point fingers at any
other country. What we can do as a vast community of bloggers is to
cast light into the dark corners where this despicable practice is being performed.

In today's world of weblogs, such evil deeds are impossible to hide for very long. Exposing them to public view is a first step toward bringing sanity to troubled areas that are self-destructing.

If you are in doubt about the destructiveness of teaching children to hate, take a good look at the cultures where this is being done and see whether the culture is succeeding or declining.

On the home front, you might give your kids a hug and teach them how to recognize good people.

It's a start anyway.

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0 Responses to Teaching Children to Hate

  1. mattbg says:

    I agree very much. It’s a challenge to recognize good people, especially when you’re distracted by bombastic attempts from others to convince you that they’re good people. The best and self-less ones are often hiding in the shadows, unseen and unheard.

    I suppose a good lesson to learn would be to be able to focus on what people do and not on what they say. But in case you don’t have any evidence either way, what do you do then? Assume the best?

  2. Beth W. says:

    Another good song to accompany your words is “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” by Rodgers & Hammerstein (from the musical, South Pacific):

    “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.
    You’ve got to be taught from year to year.
    It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear.
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    “You’ve got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a different shade.
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    “You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate.
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

    Thanks for the reminder, David.

  3. Zack says:

    It is easy to foment hate for someone who is unlike yourself. Take for example gay marriage. Why do people get worked up about the issue? Why do people donate large sums of money for an issue that never affects them personally?

    Society has a built-in feedback mechanism to protect itself from instability, and change is what society sees as a threat. People who are outliers are ostracized and/or punished even if their actions do not hurt society as a whole.

    This mechanism protects society in its current state by protecting the current status quo and making it so change takes place gradually in tolerable steps.

    Look at whistleblowers, rights activists, and other types of pioneers who go outside the social-norm and try to change things. They are often punished for doing so even when the issue they fight for is a basic right. Society destroys their lives for daring to change it and only if enough people care deeply enough will a change take place.

    So in addition to “do not teach to hate” I think we should “understand change”. You may not agree with change, but by understanding it you protect yourself from being swept up in hate as groups mobilize to protect the current status quo.

    It is fine to like society as it is and to oppose change. But feeling hatred for the opposition is a sure sign that you do not understand the opponent’s position well enough.

    Someone, somewhere, cared enough to dedicate their life and comfort to changing that issue. It is hard to hate what you understand. Hate the hatred instead.

  4. Brad says:

    “On the home front, you might give your kids a hug and teach them how to recognize good people.”

    I might say, teach them to recognize the good in all people.

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