Nature has done almost nothing to prepare men and women to be either slaves or slaveholders. Nothing but rigid training, long persisted in, can perfect the character of the one or the other. One cannot easily forget to love freedom; and it is as hard to cease to respect that natural love in our fellow creatures. –Frederick Douglass from My Bondage and My Freedom
Hatred for another human being is not something that we are born with, it is something we are born into. We are conditioned by our families and society to feel anything other than the need of belonging when it comes to other human beings. Young children who have never been exposed to racist ideologies do not look at the skin of another child and decide this child should be hated based upon a darker or lighter tone of the skin. Young children do not hear a different dialect or accent in the voice of another and automatically assume this a person to be hated, to be mistrusted, to be destroyed.
Human beings who hate based upon skin color, national origin, or religion are no higher evolved than animals. Animals rely upon their primal instincts to protect them from predators based upon instincts. However, animals recognize those who belong to their species, and do not hate or attack, simply because, only to protect. Animals live in greater harmony with those who are “different” than humans do. The reason for this, is that animals cannot be taught to hate based upon visual differences, they learn to react to actions.
Spreading Hatred Through Fear
Military personnel both in the U.S. and abroad belonging to infantry units are provided images, videos, and literal war games to teach them to “recognize” the enemy. A healthy human mind can only accept the act of killing if it is convinced that the subject is less than human. This is how every incident of genocide and slavery has occurred since the dawn of civilization. A close read of religious texts, and historical documents can identify the language used to distinguish the “less thans” in our society.
The hate speeches of leaders of countries speak to the “less thans” those who present a threat to not only lives, but a way of life. Patriotism, nationalism, and religious allegiance become pardons for hatred, as long as it is done in the name of god and country. It is not difficult to whip a group of people into a frenzy of hatred when a tragedy has occurred on domestic or even International soil that involves the citizens of one’s own country. Heavy rhetoric is used to stir emotions, facts are often distorted to further incite rage. With social media it is even easier for misinformation or premature information to reach the eyes and ears of citizens generating fear. Fear is the bases of every act of hatred.
Are we as a Nation too far gone to return to a place within ourselves where we do not hate based upon differences, and do not act based upon unverified actions? We have the technology and the resources to communicate, to work together, to support, to feed, and to teach one another. All of these are instruments of peace. Silencing the propaganda of hatred is our only hope of survival. We are above a dog eat dog mentality. Are we not?
For those who struggle with feelings of hatred for others based upon differences, there is hope – because there is a struggle. Research studies show that depression and other mental illnesses can be directly related to cognitive dissonance associated with the act of hatred toward other human beings. Hatred based upon human differences, be they skin color, national or linguistic origins, religion, or political affiliations can only be mediated through exposure and education. Each of us is responsible in our own element of providing that exposure and education, and thus exposing the propaganda of hate for what it is.
Navigating your way through workplace politics and pecking order is difficult. If you are not at the top of the order, then you fall somewhere below and let’s face it, that means your job security is based upon how much the boss values and likes you. Whether there is an intentional abuse of power or not, there is still power, intimidating to those who are subject to it. The most common abuse of power in the workplace is sexual power. This can be directed from male superior to female subordinate, or vice versa, and same sex superior and subordinate. Standing up for yourself at work, fending off inappropriate advances should not mean also fearing the loss of your job.
It is never a good idea to become sexually or romantically involved with a co-worker, and especially a superior. It is never a good idea to allow flirting, even when it seems innocent as this can be misread. It is difficult to find oneself in a situation where what seems to be harmless flirting leads to expectations or unwanted advances.
Backing Out and Backing Up
If in this sort of situation, it should be nipped in the bud before getting any further. This can be done subtlety and most of the time the other party will get the message. In the uncomfortable event that the message is either not received, or ill-received it is best to clear the air. Admit that the flirtation was not a good idea and that your professional reputation is important to you. If your manager has no agenda, then that should be it. However, if it is not, the very next step to send an email through the office email and state “per our conversation” the date and a summary of what was discussed. This provides documentation. Do not threaten, simply state facts. End the email with “Thank you very much for your understanding. BCC your private email.
If this does not get the message across then the next step is your human resources officer. He or she should then follow whatever policy is in place for processing complaints. It is good to know that in larger companies everyone has a boss, even the owner of a company. That boss is the law. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) takes complaints at their website 24 hours per day. All complaints are confidential and information is used only for investigative purposes.
In a situation where a superior is offering unwanted/improper attention some make the mistake of ignoring it, hoping it will resolve itself, or worst yet go along in fear of repercussions. Having neutral party to talk to over a situation such as this is more advisable than confiding in a co-worker. No matter how the situation started, you have the right to end it, the right to regain your power, and your rights are protected by the EEOC.