Now more than ever, people must come together and put their differences and animosities aside.

Hatred. It’s an extremely difficult topic to discuss as it has caused so much heartbreak and controversy over the years and is still continuing to do so. However, not everything that’s important is easy to talk about. Which is why I have chosen to raise awareness of hatred; what it is, how it spreads, and the legitimate solutions that I think are needed in this difficult time for all of us to make society prosper.

Hatred is all around us and exists in many forms, whether global or local. It manifests in different ways, from whole country bans and concentration camps to verbal abuse — especially now when technology is so advanced and social media the popular choice for many. What is hatred? Theoretically it’s a human feeling that invokes animosity and causes tragedy. But it’s also more than just a feeling. It is the consequential pain that it inflicts on the public and the victims of hatred.

Sadly, there are too many examples of hatred. Discrimination of all types including racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny are all examples of this. One of the most horrific incidents to garner global attention was the barbaric mass shooting in a mosque, at Christ church New Zealand. In a safe place of worship, the shooter killed 50 people; that’s 50 more lives lost because of a feeling of resentment. Then there is the historic Ku Klux Klan extremism, fuelled by white supremacist hate groups which continue to thrive today — 154 years after their founding. Likewise, every concentration camp, whether in Nazi Germany or currently in China, has claimed countless innocent lives because of prejudices and religious or racial differences.

The media should be held accountable for some of this ongoing hatred which has etched itself onto society and into people’s brains. Hatred justifies the sense of superiority in the minds of some and embeds the sense of worthlessness in others.

Social media is extremely dangerous because it is so influential, stretching far and wide. This globalisation of communication and opinion-sharing has made it easier to spread hate and share extremist views. In fact, hate groups that support neo-Nazism use the same tools as advertisers to spread their insidious messages. Uninformed people are particularly susceptible to this online ‘brainwashing’, with individuals directing their hatred towards particular ethnic groups — currently Asian people.

I don’t believe in absolute censorship as it defies the purpose of a free society, but I do believe that in order to decrease the amount of hate and disparity that exists between people we should be taught, from a young age, to divert or reject hate. This is the only way we can raise a generation that loves or at least tolerates each other in a respectful and civil way.

Another way to minimise hate is to understand that the media is not always right and that we as a society should develop perception and perspective when it comes to identifying hate speech within the media. The lack of communication and trust that exists within the public is a facilitator of hate speech. The current global pandemic is likely to make matters worse, unless we open our eyes and begin seeing the bigger picture. This is no single person’s or country’s fault. Sometimes bad things just happen to everyone but we must not lose ourselves to hysteria, fear and anger.

I think now more than ever it’s extremely obvious that hatred needs to stop. We as the public have to be the ones who take action in making sure everyone feels safe in the world. We only get one life, so let’s live it with dignity and grace.

I will let you decide whether my words and advice are pointless or whether they make sense. As you weigh this up I urge you to think about the number of lives hatred has claimed over the decades and will continue to claim, unless we see it for what it is: blind fear.