It is so depressing to say that hate, the most powerful of human emotions is still rampant in today’s world. Despite decades of struggles for civil rights, sad stories of hatred are still being told. A lot of individuals have to walk the streets of cities, the halls of schools and offices, and even the rooms of their own houses in fear. Around this world people are still being attacked because of their race, their sex, or their religion. In this new millennium, is it going to be possible to create a safer environment for all people? Can each country become the “Land of the Free”? Sadly, individuals and groups that espouse hate are still active in the country.
The horrific events of September 11, 2001, and the terrorism that has followed in its wake have made it even more important now than in the past to understand the nature of hate. Given the overwhelming displays of hate currently being displayed in the world, we have a responsibility to seek an understanding of hate, its causes, and its consequences and how to combat it and achieve a culture of peace (Brenes & Du Nann Winter, 201; Brenes & Wessells, 124).
Typical Definitions of Hate
The typical formulations of hate, those by Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, and Darwin are notable for their contradictions. For Descartes (1694/1989), hate was an awareness of an object as something bad and an urge to withdraw from it. For Spinoza (1677/1985), it was a case of pain (sadness) accompanied by a perception of some external cause. For Aristotle (trans. 1954), the distinguishing phenomenological fact about hate was that it is pain-free (in addition to being incurable by time and striving for the annihilation of its object). Hume (1739-1740/1980) argued that neither love nor hate can be defined at all, because both are irreducible feelings with the introspective immediacy of sensory impressions. Darwin (1872/1998) also saw hate as a special feeling, one that lacks a distinct facial sign and manifests itself as rage.
Hatred is causes of bitter sorrow. We find ourselves in repugnance and anger in the presence of one we hate. The joy of hate is being caused by the suffering, loss of power and reputation of the hated person. Shand (192) described hate as a syndrome, or a bundle of episodic dispositions united by a common emotional object or a common category of such objects. The key feature of such a syndrome is that a person may be legitimately characterized as having it without being imputed any corresponding episodic state.
Modern Conceptions of Hate
Sternberg (123) recently proposed that both disgust and contempt are special kinds of hate, “cold hate” and “cool hate,” respectively (see also Oatley & Johnson- Laird, 87, for a claim that hate is a derivative of disgust). Steinberg’s proposal is part of a broad theoretical typology based on the principle that, like love, hate can be characterized in terms of three action-feelings components: (a) intimacy (more precisely, the negation thereof), (b) passion, and (c) commitment. The feelings and actions associated with the first (negation of intimacy) component include revulsion-disgust and distancing, respectively. Fight-or-flight is the action pattern, and anger-fear are the feelings attending the passion element.
The last (commitment) component involves an attempt to devalue the target of hatred through contempt. On the basis of this triangular structure, Sternberg posited a variety of hates. There is, for example, the already mentioned “cool hate,” composed solely of disgust, and “hot hate,” composed solely of the anger-fear combination.
There are also “cold hate” (devaluation through contempt alone), “boiling hate” (disgust + anger-fear), “simmering hate” (disgust + contempt), “seething hate” (passion + commitment; also called “revilement”), and, finally, “burning hate,” which includes all three action-feelings components. True hate, he argued, is an emotion of intimacy, respect, and strength—”There can be no hatred in weakness” (Solomon, 326); he saw this equality of power as part of hate’s special mythology, ensuring that the antagonism involves an element of “mutual respect.” Though Solomon referred to hate as an emotion, the general affective construct that appears to fit best his own characterization of hate dynamics is that of a syndrome.
Types of Hate
Hate as an Emotion
The hate as an emotion occurs based on the individual emotional experience. It is an emotion where people have to experience that affect the way they live. People come to hate other people whom have mistreated them.
Hate that we learn as an Idea
It is a long-standing hatred even of people they have never met, simply on the basis of belonging to groups in conflict or as an idea.
Prejudice and Discrimination
Prejudice is a negative attitude toward an entire category of people, often an ethnic or racial minority. People who have an obvious difference make prejudice easier. If you resent your roommate because he or she is sloppy, you are not necessary guilty of prejudice. However, if you immediately stereotype your roommate on the basis of such characteristics as race, ethnicity, or religion, that is a form of prejudice. Prejudice tends to perpetuate false definitions of individuals and groups.
One important and widespread form of prejudice is racism, the belief that one race is supreme and all others are innately inferior. When racism prevails in a society, members of subordinate groups generally experience prejudice, discrimination, and exploitation. In 1990, as concern mounted about racist attacks in the United States, Congress passed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act. This law directs the Department of Justice to gather data on crimes motivated by the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. In 2000 alone, more than 8,063 hate crimes were reported to authorities. Some 54 percent of these crimes against persons involved racial bias, whereas another 18 percent involved religious bias, 16 percent sexual orientation bias, and 11 percent ethnic bias (Department of Justice 2001a).
A particularly horrifying hate crime made the front pages in 1998: In Jasper, Texas, three White men with possible ties to race-hate groups tied up a Black man, beat him with chains, and then dragged him behind their truck until his body was dismembered. Numerous groups in the United States have been victims of hate crimes as well as generalized prejudice. In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, hate crimes against Asian Americans and Muslim Americans escalated rapidly. Prejudice is also happening against Arab Americans and Muslims who live in the United States (226).
The activity of organized hate groups appears to be increasing, both in reality and in virtual reality. Although only a few hundred such groups may exist, there were at least 2,000 websites advocating racial hatred on the Internet in 1999. Particularly troubling were sites disguised as video games for young people, or as “educational sites” about crusaders against prejudice, like Martin Luther King, Jr. The technology of the Internet has allowed race-hate groups to expand far beyond their traditional southern base to reach millions (Sandberg, 105).
Hate causes Violence
Hate is the most powerful human emotion exists that causes violence. It is a disease like tuberculosis. It may infect others, but it inevitably destroys the hater, diminishing his humanity and perverting the purpose and promise of life itself. A special case of ostensive formulation might be found in the concept of the so-called hate crime. Hate crimes can be defined as criminal offenses in which the defendant’s conduct was motivated by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation of another individual or group of individuals. A more extensive definition can be found in the California Penal Code, which says that: “Hate crimes . . . means any act of intimidation, harassment, physical force, or the threat of physical force directed against any person, or family, or their property or advocate, motivated either in whole or in part by the hostility to the real or perceived ethnic background, national origin, religious belief, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation, with the intention of causing fear and intimidation.”
Hate crimes are not separate offenses, however, and it is important to realize that many types of felonies can be prosecuted as hate crimes. Hate crime laws, which have developed during the past decade or two, simply enhance or increase the penalties associated with serious offenses that fall into the “hate crimes” category. At the 1994 is typical of such legislation. The act provides for enhanced sentences where a federal offense is determined to be a hate crime. The federal Hate Crime Statistics Act, signed into law by then-President Bush in April 1990, mandates an annual statistical tally of hate crimes throughout the country.
Data collection under the law began in January 1991. Yearly statistics show approximately 10,000 reported instances of hate crimes, including about a dozen murders. Most hate crimes (approximately 65 percent) appear to be motivated by racial bias, while religious hatred (15 percent) and sexual orientation (12 percent) account for most of the remainder. Many hate crimes that are reported fall into the category of “intimidation,” although vandalism, simple assault, and aggravated assault also account for a fair number of hate crime offenses. Notable in recent years has been a spate of church burnings throughout the south where congregations have been predominantly African-American. A few robberies and rapes are also classified under the hate crime umbrella in any given year. Hate crimes are sometimes also called bias crimes.
One form of bias crime that bears special mention is homophobic homicide. Homophobic homicide is a term that refers to the murder of homosexuals by those opposed to their lifestyles. Some hate crimes are committed by organized hate groups. According to the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center (457) organized hate groups operated in the United States in 1999. Another so-called “patriot” organizations, many with separatist leanings based on race or ethnicity, existed throughout the country. Some hate crime laws have not passed constitutional muster, often because they have run afoul of First Amendment concerns over free speech.
In 1992, for example, in the case of R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a St. Paul, Minnesota, city ordinance designed to prevent the bias-motivated display of symbols or objects, such as Nazi swastikas or burning crosses. Also in 1992, in the case of Forsyth County, Ga. v. Nationalist Movement, the Court held that a county requirement regulating parades was unconstitutional because it also regulated freedom of speech—in this case a plan by an affiliate of the Ku Klux Klan to parade in opposition to a Martin Luther King birthday celebration. Some writers have noted that statutes intended to control hate crimes may contravene constitutional guarantees if they: (1) are too vague, (2) criminalize thought more than action, (3) attempt to control what would otherwise be free speech, and deny equal protection of the laws to those who wish to express their personal biases.
Examples of effective hate crime legislation can be found in a Wisconsin law that increases penalties for most crimes when the offender “Intentionally selects the person against whom the crime . . . is committed or selects the property that is damaged or otherwise affected by the crime . . . in whole or in part because of the actor’s belief or perception regarding the race, religion, color, disability, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry of that person or the owner or occupant of that property, whether or not the actor’s belief or perception was correct.”Wisconsin’s penalty enhancement statute was upheld in the 1993 case of Wisconsin v. Mitchell. In that case, the United States Supreme Court held that Mitchell, a black man whose severe beating of a white boy was racially motivated, could be punished with additional severity as permitted by Wisconsin law because he acted out of “race hatred.”
The Court called the assault “conduct unprotected by the First Amendment” and upheld the Wisconsin statute saying, “[since] the statute has no ‘chilling effect’ on free speech, it is not unconstitutionally overbroad.” In 2000, however, the Supreme Court, in the case of Apprendi v. New Jersey,struck down a New Jersey law that allowed judges to sentence offenders to longer prison terms for crimes motivated by racism or other bias. The law did not require that prosecutors prove to a jury that an offense was a “hate crime” under state law.
Are there Any Cures for Hate?
There is no magic bullet cure for hate. There are several possible steps, however. Indeed, Staub (240, 124) devised a program for intervening in cases of mass killings and violence (see also Veale & Dona, 147). At the very least, one can start by modifying negative stereotypes, which can be done with some success (Blair & Banaji, 219; Mackie, Allison, Worth, & Asuncion, 156). In general, people need to:
• understand the triangular nature of hate and its escalation with successive triangular components so that one can recognize its often subtle presence;
• understand how hate is fomented through stories, often by way of propaganda;
• understand how hate can lead to massacres and genocide through the translation of feeling triangles into action triangles;
• combat feelings of impotence with constructive rather than destructive responses, and act
against hate and its consequences rather than stand by as passive observers, as the world so often has done;
• realize that passive observation and often attempts at reason enacted in the hope that hate-based massacres and genocides will go away are perceived as weaknesses and tend to encourage rather than to discourage violence; and
• combat hate with wisdom.
There is no complete cure for hate. Cognitive comprehension of a destructive psychological process does not insulate people from experiencing it. But given the destruction hate has caused over time and geography, there is a need to understand it, its consequences, and ways to at least try to combat it through understanding and especially through action. Indeed, there are few areas of psychology for which it equally can be said that action speaks louder than words. Many of the ways of combating hate are the same that one would use in resolving conflict situations and achieving peace (Christie, Wagner, & Du Nann Winter, 238), including creation of win-win situations, building trust between groups, sharing information, each side asking questions of the other, generating multiple alternative options, and seeking understanding of groups to which one does not belong (Boardman, 149; Isenhart & Spangle, 259).
Sometimes when a group communicates to the other the story of what its members have experienced, they can come to an understanding of each other that is not possible when people stay silent and fail to communicate (Albeck, Adwan, & Bar-On, 162). When wrongs have been committed, no solution may be possible unless both sides are willing to forgive (Azar& Mullet, 95). Building tolerance and creating a culture of peace and a society in which people share equally in rights and in participation in the society can go a long way toward resolving problems of violence and hate (Christie & Dawes, 2001; Miall, Ramsbotham, & Woodhouse, 199; Montiel & Wessells, 221). The question is whether people have sufficient good will to achieve this goal. Combating hate requires, first and foremost, taking responsibility for it, its perpetrators, and its consequences.
Ultimately, the best way to combat hate may be through wisdom (Steinberg, 198). Intelligent people may hate; wise people do not. People like Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandela had the same human passions as any of us, but in their wisdom, they moved beyond hate to embrace love and peace. The balance theory of wisdom (Sternberg, 198) defines wisdom as the application of intelligence, creativity, and experience toward a common good by balancing one’s own interests with others’ interests and institutional interests over the long and short terms. By definition, wise people do not hate others because they care about the individual’s (or group’s) wellbeing as well as their own or that of their group. They seek solutions that embrace the legitimate interests of others as well as of themselves.
Someone who cares about another’s interests and well-being cannot hate that person, in part because he or she cannot dehumanize that other. Schools typically teach children knowledge and to think intelligently. But they rarely teach for wisdom. Indeed, in many schools across the globe, they teach hate for one group or another. Ultimately, if society wishes to combat hate, its schools and institutions need to teach students to think wisely. They then will realize that hate is not the solution to any legitimate life problem. Indeed, it foments rather than solves problems. But to teach for wisdom requires wisdom, and so far, the possession of that wisdom is a challenge that many fail to meet, not because we cannot meet it, but rather, because we choose not to. It is to be hoped that, in the future, people will make the better choice—for wisdom rather than for foolishness and the hate that can arise from it.
To sum up, despite much recent attention to hate as a topic of discussion and intervention, there currently exists no generally accepted definition and cure of hate. More grievously, there is nothing approaching a consensus on how to delimit the domain within which such a definition would fall. Meanings of hate differ both across and within contexts. Thus, it remains unclear if different authors are indeed discussing or intervening against the same thing. The situation raises a number of questions: Why this cornucopia of meaning?
How are psychologists to characterize the underlying disagreements? How they to decide which disagreements are are substantive and which are purely semantic? How are people to decide who is right and who is wrong? What would it mean to be right or wrong in this context? These are just some trying questions about hate, to which the answers are still unclear. But one thing is clear, definitely hate is not the answer and we have to control ourselves emotionally and change our minds for the better.
Albeck, J. H., Adwan, S., & Bar-On, D. Dialogue groups: TRT’s guidelines for working through
intractable conflicts by personal storytelling. Peace and Conflict: journal of Peace Psychology, 8, 301-322, 2002.
Aristotle. The rhetoric and the poetics o fAristotk (W. R. Roberts, Trans.). New York: Modern
Library, 1954. (Original work written ca. 340 B.C.)
Azar, F., & Mullet, E. Willingness to forgive: A study of Muslim and Christian Lebanese. Peace
and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 8, 17-30, 2002.
Blair, I. V., & Banaji, M. R. Automatic and controlled processes in stereotype priming. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 1142-1163, 1996.
Boardman, S. K. Resolving conflict: Theory and practice. Peace andConftict: Journal of Peace
Psychology, 8, 157-160, 2002.
Brenes, A., &. Du Nann Winter, D. Earthly dimensions of peace: The Earth charter. Peace and
Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 7, 157-171, 2001.
Brenes, A., & Wessells, M. Psychological contributions to building cultures of peace. Peace and
Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 7, 99-107, 2001.
Christie, D. J., & Dawes, A. Tolerance and solidarity. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace
Psychology, 7, 131-142, 2001.
Christie, D.J, R. V. Wagner, R.V. & Winter, D.D. 2001, Peace, Conflict and Violence: Peace
Psychology for the 21st Century Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.,106, 2001.
Darwin, C. (1998). The expression of the emotions in man and animals. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1998. (Original work published 1872)
Department of Justice. Hate Crime Statistics, 2000. Washington, D C: U.S. Government Printing
Office, 2001a (Accessed October 16, 2002).
Descartes, R. On the passions of the soul (S. Voss., Trans.). Indianapolis, IN, 1989. (Original work
Hume, D. A treatise of human nature. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1980 (Original
work published 1739-1740).
Isenhart, M., & Spangle, M. Collaborative approaches for resolving conflict. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Mackie, D. M., Allison, S. T., Worth, L. T., & Asuncion, A. G. (1992). The generalization of
outcome-biased counter-stereotypic inferences, journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 28, 43-64, 1992.
Miall, H., Ramsbotham, O., & Woodhouse, T. Contemporary conflict resolution. Cambridge, MA:
Polity Press, 1999.
Montiel, C. }., & Wessells, M. (2001). Democratization, psychology, and the construction of
cultures of peace. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 7,119-129, 2001.
Shand, A. F. The foundations of character (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan, 1920.
Solomon, R. The passions. New York: Anchor Books, 1977.
Spinoza, B.Ethics. In E. Curley (Ed.), The collected works of Spinoza (Vol. 1, pp. 408-617).
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985. (Original work published 1677)
Staub, E. (1989). The roots of evil: The origins of genocide and other group violence. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Sternberg, R. J. Why schools should teach for wisdom: The balance theory of wisdom in
educational settings. Educational Psychologist, 36, 227-245, 2001.
Sternberg, R. J. A duplex theory of hate and its development and its application to terrorism,
massacres, and genocides. Review of General Psychology, 7, 299-328, 2003.
Veale, A., & Dona, G. Psychosocial interventions and children’s rights: Beyond clinical discourse.
Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, 8,47-61, 2002.