Can Hate be Halted?
From a young age we are taught to love and not to hate. The phrase has become common nowadays, but people may have forgotten the importance of its meaning. One phrase that reverberates in my mind on this subject is when I said that I hated my older brother. My dad responded by saying, “you don’ t ‘hate’ your brother, you hate things like wildfires or Hitler.” My dad was trying to emphasize the power and weight of the word hate as well as trying to get me to realize the gravity of the word.
Perhaps recognizing hate is the best way that it can be combated. I feel confident in saying that the majority of kids at my school create a peaceful environment that does not support the hateful actions of others. The kids try to foster an equal environment, and people choose as a community to not support animosity in our small town. People seem to understand that hatred can be stomped out and replaced with goodwill and kindness to everyone.
Then why today can we see so much hate surrounding us? Even in my bubble of a town, Laguna Beach, an act of racism was perpetrated by a group of local kids. These local kids threw a watermelon at the house of a black kid, who attends and grew up in the same school with me and them. It is clear that it was directed as an attack against his race. This event upset me because the victim was someone that I knew personally for years prior, and to make it worse, the kids involved had to have known him too. LBHS only has about 1,000 kids where the city itself has only 23,000. With a small town, locals create a bond and a union, but hate was strong enough to break the cordial bond that locals share.
How can hate have penetrated even the most progressive of towns? Are we powerless to stop it? I don’t think so; this instance can be attributed to bad kids doing bad things that one day. Lesson is: the eradication of hate will not happen overnight, it will only be slowed over time. Hate will never end. The goal is not how to stop hate, but how to respond when it happens.
Jack Reed is a 16-year-old junior at Laguna Beach High School. He plans to pursue a mechanical engineering degree in college. The essay was an entry for the Orange County Human Relations youth speech contest.