Really well written and taught-provoking article about the ever-growing hatred in the big land of US of A. Just read it

Why the USA is so full of hatred.

I arrived on the web during the last months of 1994. It was during that time that I first came into contact with the vitriol of so many Americans. However, having been the victim of extreme abuse for a lifetime, I tried, as is normal with all victims, to fix up the situation. Naturally, that didn’t work, because the problem wasn’t mine.

Through two decades of vitriol and venom from viperous ‘vermin,’ (to take a cue from V for Vendetta), I have wept my way through these horrific onslaughts. For the first time, during the past twenty four hours, I know completely and utterly, to the nth degree of my being, this is NOT me. This is a very wide section of the people of the United States of America, and I have to ask why.

I think I have some answers, and I’m going to use the words of some Americans to share with you what I think it is.

Lynne Murphy, an American linguist, currently living in England, taught at one of the South African universities, shortly after apartheid went. She tells the story of how, during her first semester, none of the students responded to anything she said. She admits to feeling more and more anxious, and the more anxious she felt, the harder she tried to be an interesting and good professor. Nothing changed. The class remained mute and seemingly unresponsive and uninterested in what she had to say. At the end of the semester, she handed out a form to try to find out what she was doing wrong. To her surprise, everybody loved her!

At that point, she realized that there was a vast cultural difference between South Africans and Americans, and as she taught in other countries, she realized that it wasn’t only between Americans and South Africans. It was pretty much international. I’m going to quote her. “Of course, that wasn't a problem. The problem was that as an American, I was used to near-constant positive reinforcement from students, colleagues, friends, strangers…just about everyone. Once I reali{s/z}ed that the problem wasn't my teaching or my relationship with my students, but my expectations about them, that particular anxiety abated.”

In other words, Americans want to be flattered, stroked, cuddled, loved, acknowledged, applauded, commended, and paid tribute to. And if they don’t receive their hourly dose of that, they grow anxious and depressed, and if there is a particular person who has omitted to acknowledge their existence, then that person, by virtue of omission, has been rude, nasty, ugly, and not only a prize bitch but is almost elevated to being an enemy of state. Not stroking somebody’s ego in the USA is akin to a major attack on that person.

Now why would that be?

She gives an interesting explanation. “This, in turn, is due–paradoxically–to the facts that American culture rests on a belief in the primacy of the individual (rather than the group) and that it is achievement-oriented, rather than ascription-oriented–i.e. it's about what one does rather than what one is (we saw this recently in the discussion of social class). The individualism means that we can't just rely on the knowledge that we belong, we have to be reassured of it fairly regularly. In the words of Stewart and Bennett (1991: 139)”

In other words, whereas in the rest of the world, I might be admired and accepted because I’m a courageous person, have strong integrity, speak well, am kind, write well, am capable of incisive thinking, etc., in America, unless I have achieved a certain financial or prestigious position, I am neither admired nor accepted. So, people elsewhere in the world are accepted and belong simply because of their values, morals, abilities, personality, etc. They don’t have to achieve anything to be accepted by the group. In America, if one doesn’t achieve, the group doesn’t accept you.

Now there’s a BIG problem with that. You’re only as good as your last achievement, and in a world that moves forward as rapidly as a stream flowing a mile a minute, that means that the awesome achievement you managed yesterday is no good today. So your acceptance by the group means that you are constantly in danger of being evicted from your social arena, your business world, and anyone else whom you value. So Americans tend to feel shitty and driven all at the same time, and the lower they are on the totem pole, the shittier they feel.

Put that together with what American writer, Lance Freeman, has to say. “And that’s just physical freedom. Mentally, you are truly imprisoned. You don’t even know the degree to which you are tormented by fears of medical bankruptcy, job loss, homelessness and violent crime because you’ve never lived in a country where there is no need to worry about such things.”

It’s bad enough that Americans constantly need their inner core (ego, feelings, soul, etc.) stroked in order not to feel anxious or left out, but then add to that that their capitalistic society puts them in constant danger of being on the streets, bankrupt, without food, money, home, or the things we take for granted in the rest of the developed world.

Now add another factor. The short form of what brainwashing and indoctrination is, is hearing something over and over again. It doesn’t matter if it’s an advertisement on a television or a message from the local pastor or imam. They’re all constantly saying the same thing over and over again, and when one is hearing this, this ‘indoctrinates’ the brain to believe what is being said, regardless of whether it is true or not.

So when one has political parties and business corporations cynically and ruthlessly telling people that someone else is to blame for their misery, those people, over a period of time, develop an intense hatred and anger towards the other. Um. Sound familiar?

I lived through 40 years of apartheid in South Africa but I never ever experienced the degree of hatred and malice that I have come across in this country. The constant trolling of someone who doesn’t share the same political opinions. The lack of acceptance of anyone else who has a different religious viewpoint are all indications of a people who have never become comfortable with themselves because they live in a country where standing on the carpet being applauded and lauded is mandatory for acceptance, and at the same time, there’s an army of others tugging at the carpet trying to pull it from beneath them. Anyone would feel hatred and anger when this has been a lifelong situation.

This is, of course, not something that can be healed overnight. Not only do the political and economical systems have to change, but the very culture on which the USA is based. If life is to be achievement oriented, people will never feel comfortable with themselves for long periods of time. And if they feel they are constantly in danger of losing what they have, then they will see others as enemies.

So there you have it, the reason why so many Americans are full of hatred towards others.


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