Hate loves big categories. Hate functions well on big categories: All people of a certain color. All members of a certain religion. All residents, voters, supporters of whatever.
When a particular emotion and energy ricochetes between any two big groups, you can make a certain bet that that energy is Hate. Big groups are the fast and efficient medium for Hatred.
I’m a brown skinned man in today’s America. I belong in a big Group. In the dismal news of today we have the big groups of Black Men & Cops. In the political conversation (if it can be called that) we keep hearing about the big groups of Muslims and Immigrants. Mexicans and White Americans. Young Voters and Older Voters.
Have you ever seen any one of these groups convince another group of anything? Have you ever seen any insight, any nuance, any understanding, any friendliness emerge between any two of these groups?
The Medium of Hate is the Big Category.
You want to create some love and understanding in this world? You want to make a real contribution to alleviating the misery and violence and vitriol that this country is just about drowning in right now? Put down your Broad Brush! Put down your Big Categories. Put down your THEY and THEM.
Over and over I keep hearing from people I know and people in the media that they truly want to create love with another group. And I believe most of these individuals are sincere. But as long as you are thinking and trying to act in Big Categories, I think your good intentions have little chance of being effective.
Engage one person. Talk to one person. Have one conversation with one human being. Listen to one person’s point of view. Walk in one person’s shoes. Talk to one young black man. Talk to one, big brown man. Talk to one cop. Talk to one unemployed, white middle-aged man. Talk to one Mexican immigrant. Talk to one Trump supporter, and one Hillary supporter and one Bernie supporter. Talk to one person whose reality is different from yours.
Put down your broad brush. Your desire to create big change in society and bring peace between the big groups may be genuine. But the broad brush is a bad instrument for creating that shift.