The other day I had an epiphany. It happened mid sentence, as it often does, when I heard myself talking and realized I sounded like a major hater. It went something like “I hate black Friday. I can’t believe people go out on black Friday. Black Friday is so dumb.”
I wouldn’t have thought twice about it if it weren’t for the young babe I was holding in my arms, grinning up at my hate speech like a clueless baboon. But when I looked down at him, I thought about how moldable his little mind is and how I need to stop hating things for fear he might start hating those very same things simply because I do. And that’s just not right, because hating something just because your parents do is how things like racism and homophobia stay alive.
What’s worse is that I don’t actually hate Black Friday at all, I just don’t participate myself, which means my hate speech is really just me not understanding, which is how things like racism and homophobia got started in the first place.
One of my favorite slogans from the Gay Rights movement is this: If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry a gay person. The same applies to everything else.
If you hate Walmart…don’t shop at Walmart.
If you hate big trucks…don’t drive a big truck.
If you hate blogs…stop reading blogs.
If you hate black olives…don’t eat black olives.
If you hate facebook…don’t have a facebook account.
If you hate clowns…stop going to the circus.
If you hate Black Friday…don’t shop on Black Friday and shut up about it.
Hate should be reserved for truly hateful things, like violence against children or barns burning down or carrots. Not liking big trucks because of global warming is fine too, as long as you’re not hating on the people who drive them. Lead by example and drive a smart car. Or, as a smaller measure, don’t shake your fist and swear at the big truck when it is taking up too much space in the parking lot. Park further away and appreciate the exercise. I am talking to myself.
As an obvious aside, it is perfectly acceptable to voice your opinion on all your dislikes for the sake of conversation. Talking about how much I don’t like those tear-out postcard ads in magazines is one of my hobbies. It’s all the hating that needs to stop.
There’s a line. A big fat line. And I need to stop crossing it before my baby grows up to be a hater, just like his mama.