Cyber Hatred and Closed Minds

To hate a person for where they are born is like hating a tree for where it stands. It did not choose its place. Judge it for its fruit.

My grandmother lived to be ninety-eight years old. With all of her redeeming qualities, she maintained flaws that were handed down to her from her mother. Despite her many years on this Earth, she never outgrew her prejudices which consisted of anyone who was not white and Catholic. I remember how she insulted a man who was crossing the street too slowly for her lack of patience. She cursed him from the confines of her car for being black. Of course, he could not hear her and she would never have said such a thing to his face. I was confused as to why this man, whom she did not know, was the object of her hatred. She did raise me in my first few years, however, so I assumed that my grandmother knew what she was talking about.

Bigots are usually taught to be so; thus, their bigotry can be attributed to their upbringing. Knowing this, I usually don’t hold it against a person for being racist. Sometimes, they just need a little help or a nudge in the right direction to see that they have been mislead. On the other hand, there are those who will never change. They have no desire to grow and mature as a person and they know what they know because they were told so. They were told by their parents, so it must be true. Their parents did it a certain way, so they will do it the same way. The priest or pastor said it, so it has to be true. The president said it, so it has to be true. These are usually the same people who follow mainstream media like it were a religion. If it was in the news, it has to be true!

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~ Aristotle

The internet helps to define us as a person. There are those who follow the words of others as gospel but there are many of us who have a mind of our own. Now we can research any subject to find the truth for ourselves. We can draw our own conclusions if we have the desire to learn and grow. There is still a hesitance by many to venture out. Even on the internet, there are those who have seen what they have seen and there is nothing more to discuss for them. For example, some who have seen The Cove movie are wonderful activists for the salvation of dolphins and the freedom of cetaceans worldwide. Some are reluctant, however, to entertain the idea of watching another documentary like Forks Over Knives or Loose Change 9/11. They have set their own limits for growth and knowledge. They know what they know and that is all they need to know.

Or could it be fear? Maybe they are afraid that they will be consumed with yet another worthy cause. Maybe they are afraid they will have to face the truth or have to convince themselves otherwise. Maybe they are afraid that there are subliminal messages encoded in the films that will hypnotize them into believing something other than what they already know. I do have to wonder if they are actually unable to entertain a thought without agreeing with it. If so, they are not giving themselves a chance to draw their own conclusions. Those of you who have been with me for some time know that I encourage you not to take my word for something. I challenge you to research a subject for yourselves. When it comes down to it, there are two kinds of people in this world: open-minded and closed-minded.

Maybe there is a third kind. Within our Facebook circles, there are grown adults that have chosen to take new prejudices upon themselves. They instigate hate for an entire country of people based upon the actions of a few in a tiny village. They have even gone so far as to wish a tsunami upon Taiji and Japan because of the atrocities committed by a handful of evildoers. I have many Japanese friends on Facebook and Twitter. Many of them (if not all) are against the killings  in Taiji and are active in spreading the word to their fellow countrymen. Most of them have ascended to a higher Utopianism by donning the cruelty-free garment of veganism. I take offense to anyone who would categorize my friends with the molesters of Taiji or those who profit from dolphin captivity. It’s just plain wrong! You don’t need a special book or person to see that. It’s as plain as black and white and grown adults should know better! And it’s downright evil to wish catastrophe upon the innocent!

Those that spawn hate for all Japanese people are actually participating with the killers in doing so. The dolphin murderers holler “Racism” whenever someone speaks out against their despicable acts. It is a ploy to make it look like all of Japan is in favor of the Taiji dolphin slaughters. Those who would demonize the Land of the Rising Sun for the atrocities of the Taiji molesters are, therefore, putty in the hands of the molesters themselves. Nevertheless, this new breed of cyber-haters is a band of cowards. They would never say the things they say to anyone’s face. They hide behind their computer reveling in their miniscule victories of evoking a response from others. Whether the response is in favor of their warmongering or not is hardly irrelevant. They are attention-seekers; otherwise, they would just go away and find someone who actually agrees with them. Instead they engage in vicious debates, attacking the character of good people in an attempt to remain in the spotlight for as long as possible.

My daughter is almost nine-years-old. For the very first time, the other day she referred to someone as a black man. She did not do so in a derogatory sense but it caught my attention because my wife and I don’t talk that way. To us, people are people. They are either nice or not nice. There are good and bad people. In fact, my daughter has never even asked about any other attribute in reference to people because it never occured to her. Unfortunately, she has now learned something new from another child, a child whose family acknowledges such things. Don’t get me wrong. I know first-hand that prejudice and racism is a problem in our society, but there is only one sure way to combat it. We must start with ourselves. We must be always willing to learn and grow to become better people. We must have a mind or our own.

It is unfortunate that some people will never change. For those, all I can do is suggest that they find someone else to listen to. Since they are incapable of drawing their own conclusions and they rely on another source for their opinions, maybe they should consider finding another ‘horse’s mouth.’ For those of you who are open-minded, prove it! Show me! Watch Forks Over Knives (free on Netflix) and read the Occupy Wall Street Official Statement.

“The most important thing is transforming our minds, for a new way of thinking, a new outlook: we should strive to develop a new inner world.” – Dalai Lama