Recent events in Anaheim have raised many questions about the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.
Questions about why people hate, what fuels and sustains organized hatred and more importantly whether or not there is a solution, have been central in these conversations.
Different specialists have a unique perspective on the progression of emotions from a mere idea to a movement that condones violence and is bequeathed along generational lines questions. Dr. John Schafer, behavioral analyst for the FBI, created the “Seven Stage-Hate Model” to explain this progression.
Schafer’s “Seven Stage-Hate Model identifies the stages in which hatred grows into violence and explains how organized hate groups create an environment that breeds more anger and hatred.
The battle to contain and disarm violent hate groups is one that appears to be nearly impossible and the rate at which these groups expand, renders efforts near futile.
Schafer’s model, depicts a progression of uncontrolled emotions and also shows the point at which hate groups seek out new followers and begin to plant seeds of hate. Since these groups can only survive if they have new, passionate followers, this may be the point at which hate groups can be stopped. There may be value in working to cut off their supply of new members.
Hate, like happiness, sadness, anger or excitement is an emotion, which is defined as “a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological change that influences thought and behavior.” Human behavior, when operating based on emotion, is oftentimes distinguished from both logic and knowledge.
Hatred has the ability to exert a powerful force over our behavior and the effect can be catastrophic. It has fueled some of the world’s greatest crimes against humanity, such as the Holocaust in Germany, slavery and racism in the United States, the Rwandan mass genocide and the “ethnic cleansing” during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In each of these cases, a specific group of people was targeted, ostracized and oppressed because of their race, religion or ethnicity. Those who led these movements had deep-seated hatred, which grew from an idea into an organized group and eventually brutal acts that annihilated a population.
Examples of atrocities birthed out of hate are seen in every continent across the globe. Its effects are catastrophic and linger long after the initial incident.
In some cases, these acts of hatred are perpetuated by institutions created to defend and protect the rights of the victims. This creates great challenges in the battle to disarm the hate groups and address the emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical damage that has occurred.
Back-tracking to the roots
Each day the events around us evoke various emotions. The mere presence of these emotions is not a problem, but whether or not they dictate our behavior is. In his book, “Your Killer Emotions”, Ken Lender said “it is essential for you to control and master your emotions and make them work for you so that you can think and evaluate clearly.” Suppressing the emotion is a common coping mechanism, but accepting the problem and addressing the root of the emotion is paramount.