As many of you may have noticed, Radford had a very vocal visitor this past week. This visitor has said a lot of hateful things to anyway unlucky enough to walk past him. He’s made students cry, he’s made them shout, he’s made some of them laugh, and made a few so angry they become incapable of moving, because the only move they’d make would be to run up and punch him. It’s true that the crowd formed around him may seem jovial, mostly because of the signs held by those who stand next to him, but if you look more closely you can see the tension his hurtful words cause.
Hate breeds hate, and from what I saw on Wednesday those rallies were one wrong word away from becoming full blown riots. But where does all that hate come from? What could possibly drive someone to shout out racial slurs and condemn whole groups of people to Hell because of the color of their skin? Or to insult a student’s deceased father? It’s not something that you decide to do overnight. Hate must be taught, and unfortunately it’s a very difficult thing to forget.
So what can we do? Not just at Radford, but in our lives and in our futures, what can we do? The answer is simple, we stop teaching hate. We can’t help the generations that came before us, but we can protect those that will follow. Instead of practicing hate we can practice love and compassion. Leave the hateful be, because they have nothing to say that’s worth listening to. When we react out of anger, the hatred only grows.
So next time you see someone preaching hate, do your best to ignore them and walk on by. It won’t be easy, but if you can let your anger go, that hatred will die. Eventually, and I mean in the very distant future, there may even come a time when the idea of someone spending five hours telling college students that their choice in clothing will send them to Hell will be nothing more than a weird story grandparents like to tell. Something on par with “I used to walk ten miles up a hill in the snow every day to get to class.”
So stand strong, and stand together, because we are a powerful generation, and we can end hatred.