By Amara Sesay
We have heard the stories of hate. And they all come in different textures and tenors. There is the hate for a tribe, the hate for a race and then the hate for a country. But anytime we want to sit down and talk about hate, people get really emotional. As if it doesn’t exist!
I think the problem arises from our native perspective on hate. This makes it effortless to hate but embarrassing to admit it. So people get emotional when others develop the courage to analyse their hatred politely. It makes them feel sad. And the person who did the exposè sometimes ends up feeling guilty.
But what if every child had the basics of hatred right from primary school? Such tough preparation for the future makes it easy to confront and respond to hate in a more calculated and strategic way.
Children deserve to know their historic enemies. And how new enemies are formed both online and offline. And how sometimes they themselves unwittingly recruit their own enemies by the things they say or show (read: show off)
Already, we teach them in nuanced and more pernicious ways. But schools can do the job better, I believe. Because with schools, there is respect for taxonomies, hierarchies and references or evidence. The affective domain should not be entirely left to homes, especially where bitter and frustrated bigots or extremists parade as parents.
Children deserve to know that their competitive nature will attract hatred and enmity; that their relentless strides towards excellence will attract a few more enemies. Every milestone they hit attracts more assassins with buckets of stones waiting for the perfect time and angle to pelt them. They should learn that for every change or significant reform they spearhead, friends will become enemies, and enemies will become arch-enemies. This might not always be the case, but they should learn and prepare for such eventualities.
When we leave hate studies to parlour talk and swathes of private histories taught at night, the wounds of centuries continue to rot unhindered. And nations stagnate while others are progressing.
Let’s be more intentional about teaching hate. And let our children learn this early. Late awareness of such an important issue is always costly, if not fatal.
Amara Sesay wrote from Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.