Course 3: Understanding the Problem

A Complex Issue

Hate and bullying can be a complex issue to deal with. Sometimes it is a simple miscommunication or misunderstanding where no true hate was ever intended. Sometimes it is a simple situation of misplaced anger which is quickly resolved. Unfortunately, there are times where hate is blatant and obtrusive. Other times, there may be multiple people involved and pinpointing the source isn’t easy.  In some occasions, reporting the issue can instigate the matter making you appear troublesome and can even lead to you becoming ostracized among your peers. The problem can be so much larger than one person and confronting the people, reporting the issue, moving away or trying to avoid the problem can often times instigate the issue instead of helping to resolve it.

With a temporary victory, it can often seem as if there are other bullies waiting to replace the first. Some people are a victim of hate in different places by different people. Some may feel overwhelmed by multiple people participating in passive aggressive behavior that can lead one to feel unwanted, excluded or disliked. The characteristics of hateful behavior can be easily masked and cleverly disguised by a group of participants, but the consequences of their hate can be clearly observed. This can seem endless for some individuals. Victims can lose hope and courage even after all advice was thoughtfully applied. It is a difficult thing to deal with when you become a target of hatred, but there is hope and there are solutions. Understanding the problem can help us better understand the solution and how we can arrive at resolving the issues at the very core.

What Triggers Hatred?

A “bully” can often be a victim of hate themselves. Sometimes it is very difficult to look at someone you consider an “antagonist” as a possible victim, but they often are. Being exposed to hate or aggression motivated by fear, insecurity or lack of understanding can breed frustration and more aggression. During a power struggle for dominance, a bully rarely reflects on where they learned their behavior from or why they feel a need to eradicate an individual’s dignity or sense of self worth. The fear of having their own dignity endangered can often be a motivating force behind hate. The power over others can help some people feel less afraid. If someone experienced an act of hate, or was placed in a extreme situation which made them feel frightened, severely insecure or humiliated, they can sometimes adopt hate to exact dominance over others in hopes to mask their own fears while transferring them onto their victims.

The lack of education and understanding can also breed hate. People often fear what they don’t understand. When afraid or intimidated by something they do not fully comprehend, people can sometimes act hostile instead of inquisitive. Hate is a trait that is often learned, mimicked, developed as a result of unpleasant situations, adopted through ignorance, or taught. Hate is not a trait that is innate in a person’s nature and should never be used as a “survival” technique to overcome fear, but unfortunately, it often is.

A Social Issue

Although hate is a complex issue, it is also a social issue. When and where hate thrives, it is often a consequence of a divided culture or an environment where diversity is not welcome. Hate can also thrive where the leadership does nothing to prevent it. In some cases unfortunately, the leadership can encourage hateful behavior. It isn’t always as simple as preventing or diffusing cases individually as multiple people can be involved with instigating acts of hate.

Bullying or hate related instances online, at work, at school or social events is often as a consequence of lack of prevention. Some communities online make it very hard for hate related activities to thrive by enforcing rules and moderating activity. When the culture within an environment does not endorse hate related acts or comments, the community adopts the culture and even enforces it themselves. In environments where the administration does nothing to moderate the community or enforce rules, hate and bullying, flaming, trolling, baiting others into disputes also thrive.

There are schools and work environments that are also hate and bully free because the leadership ensures that everyone understands what hate is and that it is not endorsed, encouraged or allowed. Certain institutions regularly educate their members with the ideals of inclusion. They educate their teams about discrimination and even strictly enforce consequences as a result of hate related actions or bullying. When the culture within your environment changes, the people change. The leaders often set the tone for the culture in any area or institution. They determine what is ok and what isn’t based upon their participation or lack thereof. When hate, bullying or discrimination isn’t often discussed and discouraged, it’s almost the same as welcoming it into your environment with embracing arms.

In instances where the culture is divided or passive concerning hate, the culture must change before the issues of hate are resolved. The leaders have a great influence on the culture at large, and so do you.