When Coretta Scott King stated that "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group." She was spot on. Newer scientific evidence is showing that what is generally called homophobia, is not so much that, but is more akin to racism and bigotry of all types. Once someone has become deeply entrenched in their anti-gay feelings, those feelings tend to remain regardless of the amount of evidence that their beliefs are completely unfounded.
the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology defines hate as a "deep, enduring, intense emotion expressing animosity, anger, and hostility towards a person, group, or object." Because hatred is believed to be long-lasting, many psychologists consider it to be more of an attitude or disposition than a (temporary) emotional state.
In order to combat hate on many levels the FBI released the following bulletin in 2003 to assist law enforcement identify possible hate groups or groups of people who may be falling into the trap of hate. While this model was developed using skinhead groups as the subject matter, the seven stage model, according to the FBI profilers, would seem to hold true in all haters, in all forms of hate towards other people.
The seven-stage hate model: The psychopathology of hate groups
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin/March 1, 2003
By John R. Schafer, MA and Joe Navarro, MA
Definition of Hate
Hate, a complex subject, divides into two general categories: rational and irrational. Unjust acts inspire rational hate. Hatred of a person based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or national origin constitutes irrational hate.
Both rational and irrational hate mask personal insecurities. Everyone experiences personal insecurities in varying degrees throughout their lives. The more insecure a person feels, the larger the hate mask. Most people concentrate on the important issues in life, such as earning a living, rearing a family, and achieving personal goals. These pursuits give meaning and value to life. Nonetheless, irrational hate bleeds through day-to-day activities in the form of racial barbs and ethnic humor. Not all insecure people are haters, but all haters are insecure people.
With respect to rational hate, haters do not focus as much on the wrong done to them or others, but, rather, on their own helplessness, guilt, or inability to effect change. The object of rational hate often is despised or pitied. In the same way, irrational hate elevates the hater above the hated. Many insecure people feel a sense of self-worth by relegating a person or group of people to a lower status.
Stage 1: The Haters Gather
Irrational haters seldom hate alone. They feel compelled, almost driven, to entreat others to hate as they do. Peer validation bolsters a sense of self-worth and, at the same time, prevents introspection, which reveals personal insecurities. Further, individuals otherwise ineffective become empowered when they join groups, which also provide anonymity and diminished accountability.
Stage 2: The Hate Group Defines Itself
Hate groups form identities through symbols, rituals, and mythologies, which enhance the members' status and, at the same time, degrade the object of their hate. For example, skinhead groups may adopt the swastika, the iron cross, the Confederate flag, and other supremacist symbols. Group-specific symbols or clothing often differentiate hate groups. Group rituals, such as hand signals and secret greetings, further fortify members. Hate groups, especially skinhead groups, usually incorporate some form of self-sacrifice, which allows haters to willingly jeopardize their well-being for the greater good of the cause. Giving one's life to a cause provides the ultimate sense of value and worth to life. Skinheads often see themselves as soldiers in a race war.
Stage 3: The Hate Group Disparages the Target
Hate is the glue that binds haters to one another and to a common cause. By verbally debasing the object of their hate, haters enhance their self-image, as well as their group status. In skinhead groups, racist song lyrics and hate literature provide an environment wherein hate flourishes. In fact, researchers have found that the life span of aggressive impulses increases with ideation. In other words, the more often a person thinks about aggression, the greater the chance for aggressive behavior to occur. Thus, after constant verbal denigration, haters progress to the next more acrimonious stage.
Stage 4: The Hate Group Taunts the Target
Hate, by its nature, changes incrementally. Time cools the fire of hate, thus forcing the hater to look inward. To avoid introspection, haters use ever-increasing degrees of rhetoric and violence to maintain high levels of agitation. Taunts and offensive gestures serve this purpose. In this stage, skinheads typically shout racial slurs from moving cars or from afar. Nazi salutes and other hand signals often accompany racial epithets. Racist graffiti also begins to appear in areas where skinheads loiter. Most skinhead groups claim turf proximate to the neighborhoods in which they live. One study indicated that a majority of hate crimes occur when the hate target migrates through the hate group's turf.
Stage 5: The Hate Group Attacks the Target Without Weapons
This stage is critical because it differentiates vocally abusive haters from physically abusive ones. In this stage, hate groups become more aggressive, prowling their turf seeking vulnerable targets. Violence coalesces hate groups and further isolates them from mainstream society. Skinheads, almost without exception, attack in groups and target single victims. Research has shown that bias crimes are twice as likely to cause injury and four times as likely to result in hospitalization as compared to nonbias crimes.
In addition to physical violence, the element of thrill seeking is introduced in Stage 5. Two experts found that 60 percent of hate offenders were "thrill seekers." The adrenaline "high" intoxicates the attackers. The initial adrenaline surge lasts for several minutes; however, the effects of adrenaline keep the body in a state of heightened alert for up to several days. Each successive anger- provoking thought or action builds on residual adrenaline and triggers a more violent response than the one that originally initiated the sequence. Anger builds on anger. The adrenaline high combined with hate becomes a deadly combination. Hard-core skinheads keep themselves at a level where the slightest provocation triggers aggression.
Stage 6: The Hate Group Attacks the Target with Weapons
Several studies confirm that a large number of bias attacks involve weapons. Some attackers use firearms to commit hate crimes, but skinheads prefer weapons, such as broken bottles, baseball bats, blunt objects, screwdrivers, and belt buckles. These types of weapons require the attacker to be close to the victim, which further demonstrates the depth of personal anger. Attackers can discharge firearms at a distance, thus precluding personal contact. Close-in onslaughts require the assailants to see their victims eye-to-eye and to become bloodied during the assault. Hands- on violence allows skinheads to express their hate in a way a gun cannot. Personal contact empowers and fulfills a deep-seated need to have dominance over others. (most hate crimes are committed with knives, fists, baseball bats etc.)
Stage 7: The Hate Group Destroys the Target
The ultimate goal of haters is to destroy the object of their hate. Mastery over life and death imbues the hater with godlike power and omnipotence, which, in turn, facilitate further acts of violence. With this power comes a great sense of self-worth and value, the very qualities haters lack. However, in reality, hate physically and psychologically destroys both the hater and the hated.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that this hate model has a wider application. For example, when a coworker becomes a hate target for reasons other than race, sex, or national origin, the hater immediately seeks out others in the office who dislike, or can be persuaded to dislike, the hated coworker
(Stage 1). The group establishes an identity using symbols and behaviors. They use a lifted eyebrow, a code word to exclude the hated coworker from a lunch invitation, or any number of other actions to demean and isolate. The haters even may adopt a name for their group
(Stage 2). At this point, the haters only disparage the hated coworker within their group
(Stage 3). As time passes, the haters openly insult the hated coworker either directly or indirectly by allowing disparaging remarks to be overheard from afar
(Stage 4). One morning, the hated coworker discovers his desk rearranged and offensive images pasted over a picture depicting his wife and children
(Stage 5). From the sophomoric to the terroristic, acts of hate have the same effect. Eventually, the haters sabotage the hated coworker's projects and attempt to ruin the individual's reputation through rumors and innuendos
(Stage 6). In so doing, the haters make the work environment intolerable for the hate target (Stage 7). Scenarios like this occur every day across America and, indeed, around the world. The targets of hate may change, but the hate process remains constant.
Advice on how to address the young haters: The FBI report suggests that you do not ask a young hater questions such as "Why do you hate?" "Can't you see what you're doing is wrong?" "How would you like it if someone picked on you because of your race [sexual orientation, etc.]?", they have pat answers, they are proud of their hate and feel justified. Instead the report suggests asking about their families, their future plans, their educational goals and employment plans. These answers can often give insight into their own self worth and it also forces the young hater to see them selves as they really are, making them less resistant to rehabilitation.
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