Monday, July 25, 2016

Is there a cure for hate?

Is there a cure for hate?
Surely these are not the best of times but neither are these the worst of times. Half of the people during the Middle Ages did not live to adulthood. During WW II, the last good war, 60 million people were killed .  All things being relative, we need to find a cure for hate. 
When I was younger I was sure hate and bigotry were a disease of the under educated. Once every one had at least a high school education all would be well .
Turns out it is not that easy.  
My mother-in-law held very ignorant views about African Americans. She worked with several African Americans and even regularly had dinner with one woman in particular. This experience along with several other positive experiences did nothing to loosen her grip on bigotry.  
So based on my experience it appears neither education nor personal experience helps. 
Recently I was in Liverpool England. It happened to be graduation day for the University of Liverpool. They run three trimesters and this event was the graduation for the third trimester.  The young people were walking all through town in their academic robes.  I stopped to chat with one young woman whose blue trimmed hood told me she had studied to be a teacher.  I asked her about her future and expectations.  She was well aware of the terror in the world.  She had studied science.  Her plan was to continue schooling.  She wanted to do research. She carefully explained to me that research is very difficult endeavor and if you are going to do great things you cannot allow yourself to be held back by not including everyone who can help you.  She felt it was hugely helpful that the University of Liverpool had such a diverse student body and staff.  So maybe the answer is not just more education but education with people who are different from ourselves.
I think working together to solve a problem that matters is significant as well. 
Certainly the intense dislike of someone just because the skin tone and/or religious beliefs are different from ours is clearly a problem we all need to work together to solve. Particularly when there are so many substantive reasons to dislike people why do we pick on those. 
So maybe we can find a cure for hate, we found a cure for other crippling diseases such as polio. 

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