Martin Luther King Jr. was once quoted as having said that, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In the French film La Haine (Hate), director Mathieu Kassovitz shows how hate towards a person or people based on their religion, status, and race attracts hate.
Hate is having an intense dislike or feeling of extreme hostility towards a person or people. Hate leads to anger, fear, suffering, and, in some cases, conflict. Why do we really hate? Is it because we are good, and ‘they’ are bad? Is it because we are righteous and they are evil? Is it because we are right and they are wrong? Or is it because we are irrational, insecure, afraid, and naïve?
War is the best indicator that hate attracts hate. For example, the Second World War, which saw hate on both sides. Hate had a big role to play in how the war was fought and won. The Nazis’ hate towards the Jews and other minorities led them to invading most of Eastern Europe. The Allies’ hate of the Nazis led them to commit atrocities against German and Japanese soldiers, as well as civilians. Without the hate maybe things would have been different but this conflict was a consequence of hate. In La Haine, conflict occurred because there was hate and dislike among the different groups of people.
The 21st century has seen a rise in extremists groups, hate groups, and hate crimes. Most of these groups have social media profiles or an online presence and most of the comments are full of hate towards certain people. These groups advocate for the hating of some people and they therefore attract more hate from both their supporters and non-supporters.
Politicians thrive on this hate; there is a reason why more right-wing parties are thriving in every continent. What is being utilized is fear and hate. If I tell you that this community is coming to steal your jobs, women, and change your way of life, you’ll be afraid of them, and develop hate towards them. This is why migrants are always a target of hate because there are different myths on what they might do to a country or community. Most of these viewpoints are mostly negative and hateful.
Hate and dislike can also be described as a tit-for-tat kind of human relationship. I hate you, you hate me back. Although I might be hating you for something as small as the way you dress, if you become aware of my dislike towards you, you’ll probably hate me too. Therefore, we like those who like us and hate those who hate us. La Haine shows how there is discrimination of people according to their status, and therefore dislike and sometimes hostility to those living in the projects and suburbs of France.
All this hate we have is always about perception or belief. What you believe in has a direct correlation with what you hate. If I believe that Christianity is the only true religion in the world, then anyone who tries to challenge that belief of mine will be an enemy. This is why there have been instances of such hate between Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and other religious factions.
This is how my hate attracts hate from another. This hatred is mostly reinforced by our beliefs and where we get our information. If you get information about a certain group, maybe from your family or a news outlet, and they have the same beliefs as you about certain groups, you’ll associate with that group or people. This is how politics become divisive and hate for others flourishes.
A hate crime doesn’t just happen accidentally. The person committing the crime has been gradually consuming hateful content and information. If the background of the people who commit these crimes is explored, what you’ll find mostly is that they have been following websites and profiles associated with hate. The hate they read and listen on these sites brings more hate to them therefore hate attracts hate. It’s a cycle of hate that leads to crimes.
As far as politics is concerned, most people who are of different parties in the political landscape are more similar than they would like to admit. Different factions often have commonalities, like the way in which they love their country, they want the best for their country, they want to make sure their family and children have a great future, they want safety and security, they want a job and a better financial situation, and they all believe their way is the best way. They have the same goals and ambitions, but the way they execute it is always the issue of contention. For instance, I want to move to Dallas and there are different ways to reach Dallas by road, either by use of the highway or a dirt road. No matter what route you use, you will reach Dallas. But both routes have pitfalls and challenges; on the highway you’ll have a higher chance of getting into an accident, while on the dirt road your car will face a lot of repairs and be a bit slow.
Unfortunately the different groups that dislike each other never try to understand or listen to the other group’s perspective. This is usually driven by fear of the other, as behavioral researcher Patrick Wanis explains. He states that, “Hatred is driven by two key emotions of love and aggression: one, love for the in-group—the group that is favored; and two, aggression for the out-group—the group that has been deemed as being different, dangerous, and a threat to the in-group.”
I am always of the school of thought that we don’t need to hate each other according to how we look, dress, smell, and talk. We are all different and we all want to fit in somewhere. But in our quest to fit in, we hate someone or something to get approval.
It is true that hate attracts hate; it’s a never ending cycle of hating each other to our graves. The film La Haine shows how when you’re full of hate, something small can trigger that hate to become destructive and disastrous. I will end this article by asking you this simple question: why can’t we all just get along?