If you’ve read many of my newsletters and other publications, you know I stand for respect, fairness, listening, and finding common ground. Perhaps you remember the article where I wrote that 95% of conflict is caused by a lack of clarity. And maybe you wondered about the other 5%.
Well, the other 5% was on display in Charlottesville last week. Hate so entrenched that common ground cannot be found. Intolerance so severe that respect and listening are simply non-existent.
Children aren’t born intolerant or hateful. They have to be taught. They have to be taught that other groups are undeserving, inferior, and should be controlled, suppressed, or destroyed. Once you believe you are so special and others so worthless or evil, violence is just around the corner. And that violence is called terrorism.
Some people believe the blame for Charlottesville goes both ways. They are wrong. Terrorists come in many flavors, some well disguised, but hate really isn’t hard to spot.
Elie Wiesel once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind, but I don’t think anyone should be afraid to take sides against hate. Anything rooted in hate is wrong. Period.
You know what hate looks like. You’ve seen it in others. Maybe in yourself. Heather Heyer was murdered last week by hate. The kind of hate that inspires someone to drive a car into a crowd. White supremacist hate. A hatred that millions fought against in World War II. No one should be dying from hate, especially not that kind of hate, in the United States of America. In 2017.
Heather’s final post on Facebook read, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” I agree with Heather. We should all be outraged. Outraged by hate.
Take a stand. Speak up. Fight hate. The other 95% of conflict we can deal with. We can find common ground. We can create clarity. But we cannot let hate win!
This article first appeared on Forbes, August 18th, 2017.