This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Teaching children to hate

When I started doing research on my genealogy, I was struck by how much hatred I found. There were groups of people who hated other groups of people that I had never even considered. The Italians against the Irish? And like most people today I wondered, how did they come to think, and act in this hateful way? And then I started seeing it all around me.

To teach people to hate other groups of people, you have to start them young. For most children, it starts with school spirit. This is not yet outright hatred for another group, it's just the beginning of "us versus them". What most parents call good "competitive spirit". By high school this is formalized by wearing uniforms and competing against other schools. And good sportsmanship insists that that it's OK to hurt someone on the other team, but you have to defend your own team. The worst offender of this, of course, is American football, where children are taught to literally run into other children and knock them down as hard as possible, to the cheers of their parents. Hopefully future generations will see this as barbaric as the Romans watching people eaten by lions.

Of course, with groups of people, whether by ethnicity or culture, it gets more and more difficult with each generation to know who to hate. My grandfather would have been hated because he was an Italian in Chicago. Going into an Irish neighborhood would have been suicide for him. Today, with so many ethnicities mixed together, it seems ridiculous. Now my grandfather and the people who hated him would just be some white guys.

There isn't, and never has been, such a thing as "race". Future generations will look back on census records that recorded that strange information and wonder "what were they thinking?" I am hopeful that it will become increasingly difficult to teach children to hate. I point to Tiger Woods, which is how I see the future of the human population. You can dislike him for the content of his character, but when everyone has the same skin color, which should happen before the end of the 21st Century, you won't be able to hate him for his race.

If you're reading this, you won't live to see the end of hatred. But you can do a little bit by not teaching children to hate. Hopefully they will do the same for the children in the future.
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