Hello Curious Friend. Welcome to my book about Hate. The number tells you where you are in the sequence. I look forward to your comments.
Intention and Expression of Hate (Continued)
First, we will again start at the top. Any behavior diminishing the standard of living for a target is considered harm. And intent to harm is identified as a form of hate. Now, as we’ve just seen, harm can come in many forms.
Let’s see if we can categorize some of them.
The first category of harm is the element of time: Is the harm that will result from a hateful act going to take place right away, or over a longer period? We can give harm different names depending on this time scale, if we so choose.
Next, how does the harm impact the target? Consider the kind that results in a lower standard of living. What resources were affected? Were there many of these resources, or just a few?
There are many different kinds of resources we could consider, including the most obvious one, money.
Let’s return briefly to the effort of conservatives to reduce welfare payments to poor young mothers. Negatively impacting their income stream is a popular way for conservatives to try and implement their ideology. But money isn’t the only resource they seek to take from the poor.
For example, conservatives favor requiring all voters to possess photo IDs. They argue that this requirement ensures the integrity of the voting process. For example, they say requiring photo IDs will prevent people from voting fraudulently.
But maybe there’s an ulterior motive at work here, that requiring voters to have a photo ID will reduce the number of voters who come from the ranks of the poor, which in turn will make it less likely that the poor will be well represented in government.
In this case, the resource conservatives are working to withhold from the poor is political power.
Other resources to consider include access to information, having enough space to live comfortably, and having adequate access to transportation, electricity, or water in order to live productive, healthy lives.
Another aspect of classifying harm is to consider the immediacy of impact that harm has on the target, and the source of the harm.
Our vocabulary already has an abundance of words for this concept, including violence, rage, and fear. For instance, if harm’s impact upon the target is “sudden” then it’s violent, but not necessarily an act of hate.
For example, if an earthquake causes a building to topple upon you, then you have been harmed. But hate can’t be inferred here, as even though the harm was violent and sudden, it was impersonal.
But if someone intentionally dropped an anvil on your head from that same building, we could safely say that person hates you, and the expression of their hate was “rage.” Rage can mean all violent harm that has its basis in hate.
Finally, there’s fear. With all due deference to the great minds that have come before us, our definition of hate allows us to recast fear as well.
Fear becomes a target’s anticipation of harm. Again, not necessarily harm due to hate, simply harm. And since we’re defining from the target’s perspective, the reality of the harm isn’t relevant. Only the target’s anticipation of harm is what matters in this case, real or imagined.
To be continued …