Toast the New Year with Some Haterade

January 2nd, 2017

There is a feeling I have kept to myself for years, because I have never heard of a similar feeling in someone else.  Also, the feeling is rooted in hate, which is generally regarded negatively. It is not pure hate, though, since the feeling has led to positive life changes and fuels a lot of my ambitions. I call it: hatespiration.

An explanation starts a long time ago, in my undergraduate years. I had my share of bad anthropology professors who made students dislike learning and drove potential future anthropologists into other fields. As a former biology major, I had already been driven from one field into anthropology already, so it was disheartening to see poor teaching in my new home. I knew that I could do a better job if given the chance, and if I was right, I could have a real impact on anthropology and the community. The wonderful professors I have met taught me how to be a good instructor, but the terrible ones really lit the fire for me to want to be good.

Sidenote: I also got into making comics due to hatespiration: at the same time that I was underwhelmed by the worse professors I experienced, I also thought that I could make better comics than what was in the local paper. Thus, a hobby was born that continues even after the hatespiration has faded into the past and I found great positive inspirations to learn from.

Sidenote 2: Now I keep my distance from who I consider to be bad professors, so you’re safe. Maybe. 😉

Why bring this up now? In a tumultuous 2016, I think my relationship with hatespiration has become relevant and it is time to try explaining it and give it a fun name. The results of the presidential election in the United States left many anthropologists reeling as the candidate running on a platform of ignorance and hate became the victor. (That brand of hate tears down the innocent for personal gratification.) As anthropologists have dedicated their lives toward knowledge of humanity and the dispelling of misconceptions, the realization that there is still a lot of ignorance out there is disheartening. I think this turn of events is a mixed blessing, though. It is harder to fight against something when it is hidden, and after the victories of the past decades, there are fewer clear objectives that those fighting racial inequality can focus on. Anthropologists teaching the cultural basis of racial inequality might have felt overconfident that their message was getting out there as dissent was driven underground. The election brought racism back into the open so we now know that we have a lot to do still. It is time to be hatespired by the world around us and really aim to change it.

Hatespiration in our time extends past just the social science professors. The past few years have brought up a lot of understandable anger and resentment regarding the inequality seen in our institutions. While protests have a role in producing positive social change, a plan with more tangible effects is to tap into hatespiration and become part of the system that needs to improve. We need great people to become teachers, police officers, lawyers, politicians, and journalists. While there are already heroes in all of these fields, we really need more of best to overwhelm the worst of them. If we get new great people into these positions, all of the the problems in our society will be addressed.

My path to where I am today had strange detours and influences. I find myself trying to spread knowledge and understanding in a world that rejects it. We who want to see good people of all backgrounds succeed need to keep fighting against the injustice in the world. If you have a strategy or career path already, keep working on that. If you are still at crossroads, it may be time to find the one you will be best at. Be hatespired, inspired, whateverspired: just get out there and be good.


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