As a writer, I have a great respect for the English language. Don’t worry, this blog post is not going to be an introductory course into grammar and the proper usage of pronouns. But, I do want to look at one word that has become popular in news outlets and social media sites. That word is hate.
Regardless of all of the negative connotations, hate simply means intense dislike for someone or something. From this very simple definition, hate has become a word that describes groups or individuals who are intolerant, prejudiced, and fundamentally single-minded.
Languages evolve naturally through the ages. Pirates would be shocked to find out what the term booty means now. Obviously, none of us walk around saying “Thou shalt not procrastinate this semester!” Shakespeare himself believed in a changing language and was known for making up words to use in his plays.
But, when looking at hate, we see a different type of evolution that may not be the best for society.
“I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate,” President Trump tweeted.
An opaque statement against hate does not help society mature and grow; instead, it may cause the exact opposite. Because of how general the term hate is, it makes individuals within society afraid to voice their opinions for fear that they might be labeled as a hater. When this fear infects a populace, it causes the exact thing that we are trying to prevent. It creates a nation made up of narrow–minded individuals.
By ostracizing people who do not share our viewpoints and labeling them “haters,” it allows the people with the majority opinion to rule over a minority
This brings us to the main question: who has the right to label someone a “hater?” Do we as a society have the responsibility to give out these terms? If this is true, then we are subject to groupthink and mob rule.
I am not saying that society will collapse because we use the word hate incorrectly. I just simply want to prove that even little things like words and definitions can have a larger impact than most people realize.