Let’s talk about Hate baby…
Let’s talk about you and me.
Ugh, I promised no more musical references and now I’ve gone and failed you.
Ok, let’s establish the basics. While I call myself a User Experience professional, I think problems that affect us all, every person, are available to be discussed and solved. I’ve seen other practitioners claim that ‘oh this isn’t really something I should concern myself with’ when there is no computer or digital aspect involved. I think this is extremely poor form. Biting my tongue here. Secondly, I want to warn people that there is an unpleasant explanation later, I’m sorry, I couldn’t think of another way to describe it truthfully.
So, this is a human problem that I’ve spent plenty of time thinking about. I’ve gone and done some brief research and now I’m going to lay out some thoughts.
A long time ago I worked at a gym. As the time I worked there grew, a certain customer type became apparent. The customer who is angry, no strike that, the customer who is fueled by hatred. This is an individual who destroys property, who bad mouths the establishment, who steals, and who, sadly, refuses to use bathrooms correctly (disgusting!). You see pictures of these actions on Facebook and social media sometimes with the tag, ‘WTF.’
Now, the basic questions towards these individuals:
- Why do you still come here?
- What is your point with this?
- Can you be defused? Calmed? Rehabilitated?
- Is there something I/We could do for you?
This is where we have to address the Anger vs. Hate aspect. What is the difference? Well, it looks like there are a lot of opinions and schools of thought about what the difference actually is. So this is my opinion, you are free to hate it if you like… 🙂
Anger is being upset about a situation, about something that has happened or will, at a person. Hate is grows from the anger, it doesn’t pass or fade. It is fueled and it lasts. And I think the most telling part; hatred wants the other person to suffer.
I bring up this because of this story:
And the comment about how he acted, ‘I just wanted to hurt.’ But it isn’t just this gentleman who acted out his hatred. The ubiquity of the internet has spawned new problems where people are using their hatred. Just go read a story about ‘swatting’ to get an idea about this intersection. Or doxing. Or Twitter harassment. It goes on. The ways to wage war on the emotional digital front are only growing. And the question comes around to, ‘What do we do about it?’
With anger, there are scores of philosophies and methods to be used to calm down people. Here lmgtfy.
But how do we address hatred? At the gym we took no action and in hindsight, I think this was an error. I think that that hatred can be contagious. I think it slowly shifts perspectives; it makes normally outrageous activities seem commonplace. People on the internet are now thinking it is commonplace to utter death threats to people they disagree with. And it comes down to hurting. Hurting in all directions.
When your feelings are hurt or your worldview threatened, you want to express your hurt to the instigator. “Dear Sir or Madam, your recent comment was wrong and spoke against ideologies that I hold quite dear. I take this as an affront to my self and wish you had empathy for this predicament.”
Or more accurately, “You’re ugly.” “I hate you.” “I wish you got cancer and died.” And so on.
It is in all ways a depressing development. As empathy experts, we can easily see and understand that dark side.
But how do we deal with it? And why should we?
The why could take up an entire post in itself, suffice it to say we should aim to be better than hatred and solving problems can lead to more tangible rewards: money, goodwill, and/or greater enjoyment.
And the fated question.
I am keen on dismantling hate with love. I know, mushy. But kindness and understanding can go a long way to disarmament. I think this is also how to deal with some of the swatting, doxing, harassment issues but being the right person for that job would be the difficult part. Not every role in a person’s life is capable of such. I know, this is a bit simplistic.
Sadly, I think that there are people who can’t be saved by this approach. Sometimes you need to cut people loose, tell them they can’t continue to be a patron, user, customer, what haves you. The last couple years have seen a push against the unreasonable customer and we need to be on the lookout for them. So if one shows up, go with kindness till the cancer starts to spread. Then be prepared to do the harder part, with a scalpel if possible. Worse if not.