Hatred: A much misunderstood term
In the entire history of the race issue in America, what’s always preached against is “hate” (the opposite being “love”, of course). Naturally, when you conjure up images of Civil Rights marchers, what they faced, as they marched past angry crowds throwing things, spitting, and even the law enforcement attacking with hoses and dogs; that’s the picture of “hate” we usually have. (Which my father, participating in marches testified to, and then was convinced that peaceful marches were futile, and a more “revolutionary” approach was the solution). Even in a heated lover’s quarrel, one will say, with rage in their face and tone, “I hate you!”
As I pointed out here: https://erictb.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/division-between-mans-soul-and-spirit/ “hate” was identified as one of 11 primary emotions. Divided between “humane” (specific to humans) and “utilitarian” (also shared in common with animals), “hate” was on the “humane” side, and thus only available to humans (where animals can have plain “anger”, which seems similar, but is less focused).
The word is from Old English, and meant “regard with extreme ill-will, have a passionate aversion to, treat as an enemy,” and is of Germanic origin, traced to the Proto-IndoEuropean root kad– meaning “sorrow, hatred” (which is also the source of Avestan sadra– “grief, sorrow, calamity,” Greek kedos “care, trouble, sorrow,” Welsh cas “pain, anger”).
In the Biblical Greek, it’s often said to mean “love less”, which can explain the infamously confusing command of Christ to “hate” one’s parents. (Luk 14:26) The actual word: μισέω miséō, mis-eh’-o; from a primary μῖσος mîsos (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension, to love less:—hate(-ful).
So still, today, black and liberal speakers addressing the latest incident of race or police violence against blacks (or gays, or Muslims), will often issue the general statement against “hate”. People will often throw the term back at blacks. I had recently linked to an alt-right site called “Black people hate whites”. I was taken aback years ago, upon reading Rowan’s account in The Coming Race War, of a school teacher, who had just rattled off to him crass classic racist stereotypes of black kids, and then tells him to “preach love, not hate”. Forward 20 years after the book was written, and it’s clear that this is the universal narrative on the Right, now. It started with accusing blacks of “playing the race card” in calling out racism. Then, it was turned completely around, so that they are the “racists”, and white males the “hated” minority now. This is what they are driving into the ground these days.
Most racists (and “dog-whistlers”, who adamantly deny racism) don’t operate from a premise of “we just don’t like those people”. They rely on “hard fact” (often not really answered thoroughly), and the issue becomes “there’s a good reason why we think or act the way we do toward these people“. (Such as why the cops do what they do).
Ian Lopez, Dog Whistle Politics also points out that a lot of dog whistling deflection comes from assuming “racism” is “hate” only, and lists three kinds of racism: “hate”, “structural” and “implicit bias” (See https://erictb.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/book-review-dog-whistle-politics). Another way to break racism down is into the levels of political sentiment:
Mainstream Right: “We honestly gave them a chance, trying to be postracial/colorblind, but they just have this problem of ‘cultural‘ lack of character, and our political enemies (white liberals; who are the ones we’re really against) are taking advantage of it” (i.e. giving them “free stuff” at our expense, and for their benefit; i.e. to gain votes, or destroy the nation out of envy).
More radical “dog whistling” Right (Giuliani, Limbaugh, Reagan, John Wayne, anti-BLM, etc). Similar sentiment, focusing on “lack of character” that should be overcome, but with more of an antagonistic resentment and deliberate infusion of racial overtones into discussions (Giuliani paraphrase: I’ve done so much for ‘these people’ [by having cops persecute them; it’s what they need, and the only way to tame them], so they should be happy they’re alive and behave themselves; and you can see the utter contempt on his face).
Alt-right openly spewing superiority/inferiority belief, and now increasingly criticizing the mainstream Right as too passive (“cuckservative”). They use the same “facts” of “black problems”, but employs it to prove integration altogether is a mistake, as the people are hopeless. (But nevertheless show open hostility over stuff like crime and “dependency”, but as genetic traits).
Opportunists (Trump). Just tell people whatever they want to hear (doesn’t even sound convincing about it; don’t sound like his heart is really in it. “Yes, we’ll make America great again. We will build the wall…” etc). This is Lopez’s “strategic” category.
Alt-right is definitely full of “hatred” (to the point of even trashing both the founders, for bringing blacks here to begin with, as well as the Constitution, which I’ve seen some talk bad or dismissive of. Most conservatives are strongly patriotic, but among these radicals, their race comes before country). The second group, which is full of contempt, may also cross over into hatred. It’s just more latent. Whenever I hear Giuliani or Limbaugh talk about blacks, the thought that keeps coming to mind is “what the hell have we ever done to you?” Most of the opportunists might not even care enough to have any feelings. They just use others’ hatred, contempt or fear to build up their own power (support) base. I’m not sure if Trump really “hates” people. He’s just full of himself, and it seems that clouds out any genuine feelings toward people.
The first group, the mainstream, is the least guilty of “hate”. They, like the others, are bound in self-exaltation, trading “supremacy” for “exceptionality”, which is just a softer version of the same thing, but focuses more on the extended (collective) self than the other people.
So in order to defend their nation, they have to come up with an explanation for why some people do not seem to be doing well in it. So they start going after the people’s collective character (e.g. the “community” and its “pathology”), thinking this is based on [“colorblind”] “fact” and not prejudice/bigotry. To accuse them of “hate” is to judge their motives, which makes the one doing it look biased and ignorant themselves. And thus, this is what they play off of. Of course, they don’t realize that the “fact” they appeal to is slanted by their own flawed sense of “exceptionality”. But that is not really “hate” (except in a very loose sense based on the biblical “love less” idea).
I myself, as a doctrinally conservative evangelical before adopting the Fulfilled view, agreed that homosexuality was a perversion (and this, inherited even from a secular culture that looked down on it). I never had any inkling of “hatred” toward them. That was their business, and did not affect me (with all the stuff people in the world do, that was a bigger concern to me). As a Christian, it was between them and God. I did feel conservative Christians were way overboard in their hostility toward them, and making that the cause of “curses” on our nation, as with every other sexual issue, but homosexuality seen as the worst. (On the other hand, it was at times an amusing taboo, like at my old job, with a guy who moonlighted as a DJ and knew all the clubs, and we used to joke about the names of the gay ones, such as “The Ramrod” and “the Mineshaft”). But I came to see that any belief that they were going to Hell was seen as “hatred”. (And the Christians would in turn play off of this in their “end times” prophecies and fictions, where persecution would be based on Christians getting labeled as “haters“, which then becomes punishable by imprisonment or death. It turns all of actual reality on its ear, for the Christians, who had been the authoritarian ones, condemning others’ choices, now become the “victims”, and those resisting their control become the persecutors).
I felt in a bit of a bind there, as the doctrine did seem to have an element of hatred. We’re saying God hates that sin so much (sort of more than anything else), which people assume is us simply projecting feelings that are only inside of us. We tried to argue that we’re simply passing on the “truth”, that is from outside of us (i.e. “objective”). But I couldn’t help notice way deep in my consciousness that this was the same thing the racists were saying!
With the fulfilled view, I’m now free to try to “live in peace with all men” (Rom. 12:14, Heb.12:14) rather than having to proclaim them “wrong” [i.e. in violation of the divine Law] and trying to get them to change their behavior (that does not affect me) out of fear of a hateful divine vengeance (that is apart of the Law, which had a purpose that has been long fulfilled). The hatred or “enmity” came from the Law (Eph. 2:15), which came as a result of sin UNTIL the Seed [Christ] came (Gal. 3:19. And the New testament was an overlap period where Grace was being proclaimed, but the Law still had some authority, and those who rejected Christ in favor of the Law, would end up judged by it in the end. That is why there’s still “hatred” and “vengeance” seen in the New Testament).
So likewise, with some conservatives and race, they have been taught faulty interpretations of scripture (like one race being “cursed”, or another nation [after Israel] being “chosen” and thus infused with righteousness) that they have not challenged, or even among those not necessarily religious, have adopted these ingrained notions, and so don’t realize it is denigrating to other people, and is not factual. It feels good to believe, however, and has just enough “hard truth” (the sinfulness of man before God, or the necessary “delayed gratification” of the “work ethic”) to appear not to be a “feel-good” belief, and so they take it as “gospel truth”.
So racism is any belief that your race is somehow “better” than others; whether accompanied by active feelings of “hate” or not. Even if you change it from innate “genetics” to hypothetically changeable “culture”, and even if you try to support it with “fact”. (Just think; what “racists” ever really claimed to base their beliefs on anything but “facts” they could cite?) If you paint someone else’s culture as particularly bad, and set yours up as “par” they are to be judged in comparison with, or “exceptional”, and don’t see them as just as human as everyone else (in the positive sense); and that you’re just as human as anyone else (in the negative sense), so that there’s always a negative side of what you hold up as “exceptional”, then this denial of your own sin/sinfulness is what amounts to “racism”. (And crediting God for your “exceptionalism” only makes it worse. “If you did receive [from God], why do you BOAST as if you didn’t?” 1 Cor.4:7).
If you’re tired of the term “racism”, then the biblical term “self-righteous” is better, covering all bases of our problem. But it’s not something you’ll want to own any better. But that’s what’s at the heart of the issue.