Pyramid of Hate
By: Peggy Willms
First published in Bizcatalyst360 on August 17, 2023
(3 min read)
Yes, there is such a thing called the Pyramid of Hate. And I find it quite devastating that there is such.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, there are five levels of biased behaviors that grow in complexity and potential harm from the base to its peak. Let’s start with the “most” typical and bottom of the pyramid.
- Biased Attitude: stereotyping, insensitive remarks, fear of differences, non-inclusive language, microaggressions, justifying biases by seeking out like-minded people, accepting negative or misinformation/screening out positive information.
- Acts of Bias: bullying, ridicule, name-calling, slurs/epithets, social avoidance, dehumanization, biased/belittling jokes.
- Discrimination: economic, political, educational, employment, housing, and criminal justice disparities.
- Biased Motivated Violence: murder, rape, assault, arson, terrorism, vandalism, desecration, and threats.
- Genocide: the act of intent to deliberately and systematically annihilate an entire people.
Inquisitively, I dove into this topic. Where does hate begin? What are the stages of hate? What can we do about it?
Most documentation shows that we learn prejudiced behaviors and attitudes around age four. Specialists state it is a learned behavior from family, friends, teachers, and the media. Early on, we develop opinions regarding gender, gender identity, race, religion, or disability.
If we cultivate such opinions at this young age, we must educate our children as early as possible. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute uses the Pyramid of Hate as a curricular tool to encourage students between 14- 18 to learn about the effects and consequences of bigotry and intolerance and how their own attitudes and experiences affect the existence of prejudice—ultimately, teaching them to assume their role to squash the escalation of hate.
Parents and teachers, you can begin by creating an environment where it is safe to express emotions regardless of the topic. Avoiding taboo topics such as race, gender, politics, etc., is doing a disservice to the population as a whole.
First, you must check yourself at the door. What are your views on such topics? What is the source of those opinions? Are you willing to participate and mediate these hot topics? Can you do so respectfully and impartially? Can you make it okay to not be okay?
What a delight if our school curriculum tackled emotions head-on, identifying them, exploring the root causes, and ultimately developing healthy coping skills. Heaven forbid we improve relationships, mental health, break through societal norms, and become one loving earth. Whoa.
Today, ask yourself if your beliefs and behaviors are adding to the good of mankind. Do you stereotype, dehumanize, and discriminate yourself? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Take responsibility for how others may emulate your behavior or speak your words.
With such a volatile emotion as hate surrounding all of us, becoming self-aware of your own emotions, feelings, and actions and gathering as much knowledge as possible is an excellent step in the right direction. Annihilate hate and become a beacon for positive actions and reactions. We might just change and save the world.
Where do you sit in the Pyramid of Hate?