i am continually flabbergasted by the behavior of people. i wish i could say that i mean this in a good way, but right now i don’t.
we have lovely neighbors who take care of their yard, weed their garden beds, smile and wave when they see you, take the time to chat now and again, and don’t have loud parties or leave trash in their yard. i have just learned that recently someone smeared dog shit on their front door and left a note advising them that chinese people should not be in our neighborhood.
my husband related this information to me after talking with “jim”. when i called it a hate crime, he backpedaled and suggested it was probably just a prank. really? a prank? i wonder if “jim” and his family are giggling about the silly prank. doubtful. again, i stressed that it was a hate crime, and he replied that it was most likely a few kids messing around. really? i wondered aloud where kids would get such an idea, where they would pick up enough disregard for others that they would think of saving a bag of feces and toting it to the scene of the crime would be a reasonable and humane thing to do. not surprisingly, my husband rolled his eyes and turned away from the conversation. chicken.
what is it that causes people to do hateful things? i don’t know that anyone can answer that question definitively (it’s been a problem since time began), but certainly people who do hateful things have been treated with hate themselves. maybe it was in the form of neglect, a lack of attention, an absence of someone to teach them right from wrong. i think that in well-to-do communities there can be a sense of entitlement which can lead children to believe that they are above any kind of punishment or repercussions, that (no pun intended) their shit don’t stink. they may not be actively taught to hate or abuse or disregard, but an absence of adult supervision means there is very little one-on-one role modeling. absent that, they follow the lead of whoever they happen to be around, or whoever they are watching on tv, or listening to on their iPods. they learn from someone that hate and abuse and disregard are ok to fling out into the universe. “you’ve got to be taught to hate and fear, you’ve got to be taught from year to year, it’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear, you’ve got to be carefully taught.” (Rogers and Hammerstein)
the bigger question than why is what do we do about this horrendous behavior? how do we change the way people treat each other? what is going to cause the tipping point in disregard for individuals in the world?
what do you think?