In Defence of Haters

We teach haters to shrink themselves…to make themselves smaller.

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The art of hating, or “hateration”, is a complex one. It is one we despise. One that often reflects our own insecurities or downright bigotry. The label “hater” is, unsurprisingly, a derogatory one. It is meant to imply this insecurity telling the target that the things they say are only out of jealousy. Make no mistake, I do not believe that those contributing to the onslaught of hateful comments online are undeserving of such a label, rather, I take issue with the “let people enjoy things” brigade. I believe there is some value to the hater.

Hate is often considered the opposite to love, it is such a belief that fuels our hate for hate. We despise hate because it represents the absence of love. But perhaps it is neither the absence or presence, instead it is a strong and natural emotion. Hate is a part of who we are, we all find ourselves hating something. At its core it is a reaction to that which repulses us. Of course, this repulsion is always up for debate. The deep rooted repulsion towards fat bodies, for example, that causes hate towards them is not a justified one, it is one we ought to actively combat. Thus, the question of who ought to be labelled a hater is an analysis of what repulsions drive our hate.

And here lies the problem with “let people enjoy things”. It acts as this derogation claiming that the individual wishes only to ruin the fun of others. But if we understand hate as response to repulsion then sometimes the repulsion is a legitimate one. When we ‘hate’ on Marvel movies it is not just to ruin the fun of its fans, it reflects a disdain for Disney’s monopolisation of filmmaking. When darkskin Black women ‘hate’ on lightskin Black women it is not jealousy, it reflects disdain for life in the confines of anti-blackness and for those who benefit from it. And sometimes, to be quite frank, the ‘hate’ that people get is just deserved. In fact, much of what we call hating isn’t the ruining of fun or mere jealousy it is a repulsion grounded in one’s own experience of oppression and harm. It is a repulsion that is justified.

So in defence of haters, I argue that hate, without bigotry, is admissible. It is part of the human condition. We hate many things in life and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, just something to interrogate. The art of hating is a practice of reflexivity. When we hate we ought to ask ourselves what repulsion drives it and what possible discourses inform this repulsion. The careful practitioner of hateration reflects on and redirects their hate based on a critical analysis of their emotions and that which they hate. When done right, hating might just be a method for finding out what is really at the core of what repulses us, what we hate, and reimagining a world without it.



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