no one is born hating

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

Nelson Mandela was a super hero to me, a man whose extraordinary personal sacrifice changed the politics of his own South Africa which inspired dreams for peace and democracy around the world. Facing the death penalty for sabotage at his trial in April, 1964  Mandela spoke these words:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

He was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released in 1990 by President F. W. de Klerk who then negotiated with Mandela’s party to end apartheid in South Africa. Twenty-seven years of his life with no personal freedom, and Nelson Mandela became a symbol of freedom for his nation and the rest of the world.  In 1993 Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to end the oppression of apartheid in their country. Mandela became the first black president of South Africa in 1994.

This past weekend the news of another racially motivated massacre of ten Black people in the United States took place in Buffalo, New York, at a grocery store in a zip code the alleged 18 year old shooter stated in his manifesto he believed had the highest percentage of black people close enough to where he lived. According to Dustin Jones of NPR today the teenager said “the influx of immigrants, more specifically people of color, will lead to the extinction of the white race…decrease in white birth rates equates to a genocide.” This young man was not born hating, but somewhere along the way he was vulnerable to evil influences similar to those that enabled a 21-year-old white man to murder nine Black people while they held a prayer meeting in the Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina in June, 2015.

Meanwhile almost 5,000 miles from Buffalo, New York across the Atlantic Ocean, a 21-year-old Russian soldier was put on trial last week in Kyiv for allegedly killing a 62-year-old unarmed Ukrainian civilian riding his bicycle on a road in the Sumy region when the soldiers suspected the man of telephoning their location to Ukrainian defenders. Russians and Ukrainians may share the same color skin but radically different ideas about their governments – the ideals of democracy the Ukrainians believe in are very much like Mandela above who was prepared to die for his hope in a “democratic society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.”

I am at a loss to understand the ongoing mass shootings in my country, an experiment in democracy that has failed to deliver on its promise of harmony and equal opportunities for all. Not only has the nation failed in providing fundamental rights to all but also is currently in the process of a sitting Supreme Court actually reversing some of the precious fundamental rights that were guaranteed for the past 50 years. What’s that I hear? Oh, never mind. It’s only the cries of 166 million females in the US as we await the decision of 6 men and 3 women called the Supremes who will determine whether the government controls our bodies or we do.

If Mandela can be our north star, then we have the capability of teaching love to our children as surely as we teach them to hate the persons of different colors, different political beliefs any “other” from ourselves and our families. Portions of the human race are surely broken when we teach teenagers and twenty-somethings as children to hate enough to kill with weapons we refuse to prohibit.

But that’s a topic for another day.


Stay safe, stay sane, and please stay tuned.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in family life, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, politics, racism, Reflections, sexism, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is, The Way Life Should Be and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to no one is born hating

  1. Patricia says:

    Sadly you are right. Your post needs to be read world wide.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob says:

    All you need to do is watch children of all ethnicities and colors and genders and sizes play together to know that hate is a learned behavior.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wayside Artist says:

    Sheila, I really am at a loss for words and maybe hope. Thank you for writing a this.


  4. Your twitter button doesn’t seem to be working…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Annie…it is VERY slow, but I just checked the link.
      Thank you again for letting me know – I use this antiquated laptop because I am afraid the upgrade process would surely send me to my grave. Pretty fusses at me all the time about it. Says my eyes will be gone using this small print. Sigh. She begs me to get desk top. Sigh again.

      Liked by 1 person

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