Yasmina Reality

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bigotry, psychology and self-hate

bigotry, psychology and self-hate

By on June 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

Muslim activism and facing Islamophobia on a daily basis exposes me to the worst in people.  It exposes me to hate-filled messages from people that appear to be angry and often times, irrational.  I’ll be honest here.  (I mean, would Yasmina Reality be anything but?)  When I first  joined the #MyJihad campaign and faced off with Islamophobes, I would sometimes go sit in a corner and just cry.  I’m tough- but I have a pretty big heart, and days and weeks of facing off with the worst hatred you could see had an effect.  But it served as an innoculation of sorts.  I’m immune now to much of the hate that is spewed.  First, because it is a daily repeat of the same sludge, most of it lies and distortions.  And second, coming face to face with hate is a firm reminder of what I never want to be.  I have a big mouth- so I have a duty to stand out against hate.  Perhaps there are people affected that do not have the wherewithal for whatever reason to speak out.  This thought drives me on a daily basis to continue on the causes of truth and peace.

Why Hate?

I’m no psychologist, though I am fascinated by the human psyche and the elements in life that drive human behavior.  When Mom tells Johnny not to let the school bully get inside his head because the school bully actually has a poor self-image, she is right.  And it’s not like reaching adulthood vanquishes this behavior.

In a March 2011 Psychology Today article, The Seven-Stage Hate Model: The Psycho-Pathology of Hate, Dr. Jack Schafer explains what drives hate:

“Hate masks personal insecurities. Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people. Hate elevates the hater above the hated. Haters cannot stop hating without exposing their personal insecurities. Haters can only stop hating when they face their insecurities.”

This is ever so apparent when faced with Islamophobia  The bigoted person speaks more rapidly, using words that are meant to make Muslims seem dehumanized.  Their eyes get wide.  Their voice gets louder- in higher octaves.

If you are confident about your case and your words, can’t you simply state your case in a calm manner?

So I find this change of cadence and energy one of the signature indicators of hate speech.

It’s as if the person is saying, “I don’t want to focus on myself, my weaknesses and my faults.  So I will talk louder and faster to convince you to hate someone else that is not me!”  It’s as if you can see and hear the very desperation they feel about their own self-worth in their hate-filled rants.

photo from catholic.com

photo from catholic.com

Hate is also stoked in fear.

“In time we hate that which we often fear.”  ~William Shakespeare

We hate the boogeyman because we fear him.  The child fears the monster under his bed so he hates him.  Often times we fear the unknown and in society, this can manifest to racism and xenophobia.

Dictionary definitions of racism:

: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

: racial prejudice or discrimination

Dictionary definitions of xenophobia:

: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign

So if hate is grounded in fear, the only way to calm fears is to face them.  Head on.  With Islamophobia, this means peeling your eyes off of the television and media headlines that stoke your fears, and get out into the real world and meet Muslims.  And to Muslims reading this- it is our duty- more than ever- to get out and meet people of different faiths.  It is our duty to show others what Muslims are really about.  That we are peace-loving, humanitarians who are just trying to follow the way of God.  We are not perfect.  We have flaws like any other human being- but our core beliefs are pure and put human beings and how we treat each other as top priorities.

Hate is learned.

In an ADL (American Defamation League) article, “Talk about your Child about Hatred and Prejudice,”  Caryl M. Stern-LaRosa talks about how hate is learned and can be “unlearned.”

“No child is born a bigot. Hate is learned, and there is no doubt it can be unlearned. Leading experts on child development argue that the problem begins as early as preschool, where children have already learned stereotypes or acquired negative attitudes toward “others.”  The process of countering those negatives with positives begins at an early age.”

As a Muslim activist, I am introduced to those who have a true misunderstanding about the tenets of Islam and about Muslims … people that have a true desire to understand.  There is nothing more rewarding than making a connection with someone and making a difference in their perception about Muslims.  And bonus- becoming friends.

So this blog post is a celebration of those that truly do not understand- and seek to understand.  And it’s a celebration of those who didn’t understand and finally do understand.  But it is also a reality check and acknowledgement to the hate that exists around us.  Hate that we cannot and will not ignore.  And though it is dificult to feel compassion for the type of racism that allows individuals to feel superior over another human being, Islam teaches us to hate no one.  Even those who wrong us.

And funny, I started this post last evening and this morning, this Facebook post from “Hadith of the Day” came across my desk.  It sums up perfectly what I wish to convey to end this post- so why reinvent the wheel?

“Hate no one, no matter how much they’ve wronged you. Live humbly, no matter how wealthy you become. Think positively, no matter how hard life is. Give much, even if you’ve been given little. Keep in touch with the ones who have forgotten you, and forgive who has wronged you, and do not stop praying for the best for those you love.” (Ali Ibn Abi Talib RA)


About the Author

About the Author: I'm a Writer and Muslim Activist. I'm also a Board Member of the #MyJihad Public Education Campaign. Follow my blog at yasminareality.com or follow me on Twitter: @yasmina_reality. I'm also now on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YasminaReality Peace! .

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