“I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” – Booker T. Washington
One of my pet peeves is hatred. The crazy thing is, I don’t just cringe when I see one person hating another one. I don’t just feel uncomfortable around someone who hates people who look, love, or believe differently from them. And I don’t just want to throw things when people show hatred toward animals.
I’m ill at ease in the company of any sort of hatred. Sure, I know I carry it too far – I call it my Mary Poppins complex and I’ve carried it too far to put it down now.
My most extreme anger and disgust is, of course, saved for those who hate and harm children, other individuals, and animals. I always wonder, “Who do haters think they are?!”
Think about it this way. Everything’s relevant. If any of us hate someone we feel is “beneath us” (whether it’s in intelligence, wit, charm, looks, money, power, etc..) – do we not realize that there are those out there who have more on the ball than us? Would we want to be on the receiving end of their ridicule or snarls? Would we want them to talk down to us or make fun of us? Would we want them to snap at us if we were to ask a simple question or berate us if we made a mistake?
No one is perfect and, make no mistake about it, no one has the right to hate anyone else.
I once wrote a post in which I said that we shouldn’t hate other people – under any circumstances. I heard from a woman who listed about 20 types of people she hated. When I said that we never know what others have gone through to get to where they are, she got so mad that I’m pretty sure I joined the list. She wanted no part of anything that resembled compassion and seemed to cringe at the thought of loving others. In the end, I asked her if she realized how hard she was fighting for HATE. She said, “Yes I do.”
So, I hope she’s happy being hateful.
That’s the thing. Since my daughters were old enough to talk, I’ve always taught them to find as few foods, colors, books, and so on that they claim to hate. They were weaned on the Mary Poppins Complex.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it as long as I’m able to write, type, speak, or gesture: The more things we hate – the more hate resides inside of us. At the risk of sounding like a First Grade Reader….. Hate is ugly. Love is beautiful.
Booker T. Washington is one of my personal heroes. He was a brilliant, brilliant man with an incredible mind. Unfortunately, he lived during a time when the color of his skin brought out a lot of hatred and ugliness from people with not so incredible minds.
When I think of the nasty looks, hateful comments, and cruel injustices that Booker T. Washington and other blacks had to endure during this period of time, it makes me want to cry a river. You and I will probably never know the sort of hatred Mr. Washington saw first-hand. But he wasn’t bitter and he wasn’t filled with anger and hatred.
Rather, he said, “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”
The next time you feel hatred rising in your heart toward a co-worker, neighbor, driver in front of you (!!!), family member, etc – remember Booker T. Washington’s words and ask yourself, “Is it worth belittling my own soul?”
Not even the worst driver on earth is worth that, and I was nearly hit by her this morning.
I’ll leave off with excerpts of an article written by author Sloan Wilson (“The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit“):
A long while ago, I had a job I didn’t like and a boss who seemed to me to be a major menace. For months I would come home and tell my wife about the horrible new attrocities he had committed.
“I really hate this guy,” I often said to my wife, and when she remonstrated, I added, “He’s just a guy who was made to hate!”
It was right after one of these stormy sessions that I happened to read these words, “I will allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” I have never been so strongly affected by one sentence, for in a flash it showed me how small and mean I had become.
At just about this time I began to work harder at my writing during evenings and weekends. When I stopped wasting energy on hatred, I found I had lots more strength for better things. – Sloan Wilson, “On Hate” (Words to Live By, 1956)