Friday, November 13, 2009

Kit's Semi-Satire:
Programmed To Hate

A few days ago, I ran a post titled Let's Test Your Racism. The video used and ensuing comments there and elsewhere are an interesting study in social perception, both within a race, and from people belonging to a different one.

In this post, I'll try to do something I haven't seen done elsewhere in Blog Land. It may have and I just haven't seen it. I tried to make it entertaining and thought-provocative.

What do you like or admire about people different from you? You can include those of different races, too.

I thought of this question because the public has been directed to focus on negativity, especially since 9/11. This intensified after Barack Obama, the first black man who became President, entered the scene. I think it also stems from America's changing demographics in race, as well as economics - the latter of which is declining for many, and thus the competition for resources like jobs and even scholarships are more intense.

Have we been unwittingly programmed to talk more about what we dislike or hate in others, than what we like or admire?

People don't like to hear that they're being controlled, but we are to quite a degree through over-exposure to negativity, and subliminal messages. We have become a culture where negativity has been normalized.

Thus, I have no idea if this (what we like as opposed to what we dislike in other groups) is something that you readers feel comfortable sharing.

It's odd when I think about it. Imagine this is the first thing you say to your kid after their first day in school: "So, honey, tell me all about what you don't like about your teacher and new classmates."

Sounds ludicrous but we're almost there.

Here are several scenes I came up with, and you can let me know if they gave you a few laughs. While they are (hopefully) funny, you may have actually had some of these conversations with people you know:

Scene 1

Ladies, how about this: You meet a new guy and go out on a date. Later, you call or text your best friend.

You: I went out with a new man.

Friend: Oh great! Can't wait to hear what you can't stand about him.

You: I kinda like him.

Friend: Oh come on. Think hard. There must be something.

You: Well, he's not hard on the eyes, treated me like a lady, seems intelligent, and has a sense of humor. Single. No kids.

Friend: Aha! Bet he's on the downlow!

You: I didn't get that impression.

Friend: That's why the call it downlow, dummy. Or maybe he has insanity running his family. You have to think about the kids, you know?

You: What kids?

Friend: I swear, you're so innocent. If it wasn't for me helping you out, you'd get screwed over by this guy. Can't let your guard down.

Scene 2

For the guys: You've been going out with a new lady for two or three months. You throw a get-together and invite your buddies over to meet her. Later they have a little chat with you.

Them: She's fine alright, but what's her deal? She a gold digger or what?

You: I don't think so. Why'd you ask?

Them: Her clothes. Her hair. Her jewelry. She looks high maintenance.

You: She hasn't seemed that way to me. She has her own job.

Them: She got kids?

You: Nope.

Them: She's close to 30. Watch out, bro, she probably wants to drop a baby soon and has her eye on you. She mention marriage yet?

You: Well, we have talked about how we'd both like to get married and start a family one day, but I didn't feel pressured or anything. It was just conversation.

Them: Uh huh. She was just feelin' you out. Better dip out now before it's too late. Don't want that ball and chain around your neck, ya know?

Scene 3

Or this one: you just settled into a new neighborhood. A group of people show up at your door. You think they're there to welcome you.

You: Hi!

Them: Hi. We're here to welcome you, but also to find out if there some things about you we should hate. Usually this takes time, so in the interest of speeding up the process, please fill out this brief form. If we hate the same kind of people and things, you're alright with us.

You: But what if we have our differences but also like the same things... uh, you know, share some common ground?

Them: No. We don't care much about that. We find that groups who share the same hatreds have more unity.

You: Well, I really try not to hate anyone or anything too much. Kind of stressful, you know? But I do like to garden.

Them: Yeah, we saw that silly-looking scarecrow in your backyard and the pink flamingo in the front. We already added those things on our list to hate about you. What other stupid azz hobbies you got?

Scene 4

The President: On this historic day, we have been contacted by aliens from another planet. They brought us samples of their food, music, and fashion. They would like to get to know us.

Media Pundit: Sure they do. We don't need anymore undocumented workers.

Straight Talking Politician: Green people suck. We should have no dialogue with them.

Popular Pastor: God made Man in His image, not Green People. They even have a different name for their 'god'. They're really Satanic and here to destroy us.

Big Pharma: They'll introduce the Green Flu, but we already have vaccines in the making. Delay any contact until our shots are available.

Defense: If their Green Flu gets too bad among our people, we'll nuke 'em. As a result, we need Congress to appropriate more money to our budget.

The CDC: We haven't actually seen any cases of Green Flu yet, but we're on high alert.

Wall Street: They're socialists who want to deregulate and destroy the American way of life. That's their hidden agenda.

Cop: I don't like their looks, especially those outfits they wear. Probably a bunch of sex-crazed druggies. If I see one driving around, I'm going to pull him over and do a search on principle. Got my taser ready.

Ordinary Person 1: They look funny. I don't like their hair. It's not like any of the hair on any of our races. I wonder if they get fur balls and vomit them up like my cat? Ugh. They probably do it and when you least expect it. They're gross.

Ordinary Person 2: I tried their one of their recipes. It stank up the apartment and hallway. Why do other races always have strange, smelly foods?

Ordinary Person 3: Their music is worse than those people who we already don't like.

Parent to Teen: Do not date them, or for heaven's sake, have sex, marry or have babies with them. I'll disown you if you shame us.

Child: Can I play with their kids? They look like fun.

And the children shall lead the way...


  1. This was actually pretty easy. The one thing I envy about other ethnic groups is that they have their own definitive culture and traditions. Most white people know if their great-grandparents were from France, Poland, Italy or Germany. Africans can trace their roots to Kenya, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, etc. Latinos can point to Spain, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, the list goes on. And even though Jews may not have their own homeland, they do have a cohesive set of traditions and a mother tongue.

    As a black American I don't have that gift. There's some white folks in my lineage way back, I don't where they were from because they didn't claim us. I also know that I'm part Creek Indian, but they are virtually extinct because the survivors either intermarried with blacks or went on the Trail of Tears and assimilated with the Native groups of the Southwest.

    We've got soul food, jazz, blues and old slave spirituals. That doesn't make me feel like less of a person but it does make me feel adrift in a sense. My roots are my family, and they won't be around forever. I think that's a large part of the reason that black Greek organizations are so important to those who become members; they give you a chance to be part of a lasting legacy.

  2. This was hilarious Kit. Scene 3 killed it! I would love to see that happen in real life.

    But you know, you're right...


  3. Kit, I was the friend in Scene 1; dude's legit, but a backup plan still wouldn't hurt.

    Scene 3: Maude forbid if that happened to me! I'd most likely put on Denis Leary's No Cure for Cancer and wait for some heads to explode while I combed the hair of one of my Janay dolls.

    RiPPa: here's your co-sign. I mean, dang, a payoff is in order for a tiresome endeavor such as hatred: a gym membership, cheesecake, 401k...something. I'm joking of course, but hating others seems like a thankless task I wouldn't delegate to my imaginary worst enemy.

  4. Brownbelle, I wonder if this one reason that a picking an African country to visit requires so much thought.

    Rippa, Thank you for your enthusiastic comment about the humor! And yeah, the hate shit is grinding.

    Rainbeaux, *still chuckling*
    And you said, "hating others seems like a thankless task I wouldn't delegate to my imaginary worst enemy.

    I have some ideas about why people do this, and may write a post on it in the near future.

  5. That's a great post. Have been talking to too many right wingers, though? [grin]

    You're absolutely right that children will lead the way...and life is too short for hate.

  6. Wildflower, Thanks, and as for dialogue with bigots of any political persuasion but especially the OCD Right, I'm instantly reminded of the quote, none are so blind as those who refuse to see.

  7. "Child: Can I play with their kids? They look like fun."
    That made my day after the dark images before. Thank you for that, and also thanks for the thoughts before :).

  8. Trish, Thank you so much. I had hoped someone would enjoy that part.

  9. What do you like or admire about people different from you? You can include those of different races, too.

    That they have a different culture/look/language from/than me! I grew up desperately wanting to be native american and then i switched to japanese because being a samurai seemed like the most amazing thing in the world at age 11. then i met my best friend in college and she's korean and i watch more k drama than her! I've always been curious about people. It's just natural for me to seek out things to admire about ppl from other cultures. there's just so much to discover outside of one's own race!

    Have we been unwittingly programmed to talk more about what we dislike or hate in others, than what we like or admire?


    I do both depending on how I've been treated in a particular situation. But more often than not, I try to be positive, mainly because I am already in love with the person's "difference." My thinking is that there are ppl who can either be positive or negative representations of a particular ethnic group. It's up to me to decide which one sways my opinion.

    Yah I have my hangups due to my folks. Nigerians have a national pride thing that tends to weave itself into 2nd and 3rd generation thought. I continually check my own parents about their prejudice and ignorance and I'm sure the aunt I currently live with hates me because I called her prejudiced after she expressed shock that I had white friends. I went off on her in English and Igbo. I am not perfect of course. But knowledge of how AA's are treated just because of skin color and my own natural curiousity keeps my dislikes in check.


Hi, this is Kit.

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