I hate being late. I hate the smell of rain. I hate bugs.

But I don’t hate people.

Honestly, nobody should. The overgeneralization of the word “hate” itself has trickled into every sector of life. People hate celebrities. People hate politicians. People hate a particular race or ethnic group.

It’s this mindset that breeds hateful activity and attacks, filling the newspaper headlines we see again and again. It isn’t a mystery as to why so many terrible things happen across the globe. People on both sides of any issue fuel themselves with a volatile passion that can result in tragedy.

When tragedy happens, boundaries break down and people cry together. It shouldn’t take a tragedy to get to that point, but unfortunately it happens all too often.

We’ve seen an individual kill innocent people at a synagogue because of their religion. We’ve seen hate on our own campus with individuals taking crosses out of the ground from an anti-abortion display and throwing them in the garbage. We also saw it last year with students  using racial slurs in group chats.

I used to want to know where all this negativity came from, just to try and understand it. I thought after I understood it, somehow I’d try to stop it, try to help  people see their similarities instead of focusing so much on their differences.

I’ve now realized that hate is not meant to be understood because it makes no sense.

We need to lock up hate and throw away the key, and luckily, some people are starting to do just that.  

Meghan McCain recently illustrated this change of perspective a few weeks ago, talking about how she regrets her remarks a year ago on The View that she “hated Hillary Clinton.” McCain didn’t want to be hate people because of their political affiliation. She said she thinks very deliberately about the words that come out of her mouth and that being hateful doesn’t amount to any good.

“I can’t give in to hate. It’s too great a burden to bear. I have to stick with love,” she said, paraphrasing Martin Luther  King, Jr.

I hope people take a lesson from this and re-evaluate what comes out of their own mouths and fills their social media feeds. I don’t mean this in a patronizing, narrow-minded way. Everyone is, without a doubt, entitled to their own opinions and views. If we all agreed, our government would no longer be partisan and frankly, that’s not in the cards.

But if we’d take a second to think about what hate means in the first place, perhaps we’d be a little more cautious to throw it into casual conversation. Maybe we’d replace the word “hate” with “dislike.”

Unfortunately, dislike is sometimes misconstrued as hate, and it shouldn’t be. Disagreement is harmless and disliking things is part of life — it keeps things interesting, to say the least. Dislike  isn’t aggressive and it isn’t hostile, but hate can be.

So let’s leave hate for things that merit it.

For instance, I hate running late because of everything that leads up to it: The anxiety and frustration of sitting in traffic or sleeping through my alarm; and the repercussions afterward —  walking into a meeting when everyone is already seated and potentially missing valuable information.

I have every right to hate being late because it’s something that I am responsible for. I can choose to change my behavior, and magically, my problem is solved.

You can hate what someone does, or hate what they believe, but hating a person is a different matter entirely.

Each person comes from a different background and verbalizes different perspectives and views that they’ve chosen as part of their identity. It makes no sense to  “hate” someone because of the color of their skin or the religion they practice.

The media can make the world seem pretty dark sometimes, but I refuse to accept a hateful world. The solution is simple: Save hate for foods you detest, and save the love for people.

The brussels sprouts can take it. People shouldn’t have to.

dattilec@miamioh.edu

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