In a World Where Hate Defeats Love

Ever wonder what a world where hate exists and love is hard to be found would be like? Look around. The nation, the state of Wisconsin, and our own UW-Madison campus have been showing glimpses all year of what a world dominated by hate could look like. But these incidents aren’t episodes of a TV show, and I’m not hearing about these events happening in another country from the safety of my bedroom. This hate is close, it is real, and it is personal.

Last weekend, right here in Madison, I saw highly offensive Native American headdresses and war paint all over campus. These students somehow seemed to find pride and power by discriminating against Native nations on land they used to call home.

Halloween weekend, I proudly looked across Camp Randall Stadium as Wisconsin beat undefeated Nebraska—a night that should’ve brought the entire campus together in unified celebration.  Instead, I was disguested by the sight of a racist costume depicting a Barack Obama mask being lynched. It shouldn’t even be necessary to explain the historical and derogatory connotation that goes hand-in-hand with a noose.

Within the last couple weeks, a UW-Madison student named Alec Cook was arrested for 11 filed sexual assault charges. These charges claim that Cook assaulted five women, just since March of 2015.

Although Cook might finally be facing the consequences for his actions, UW women all over the campus aren’t just celebrating the justice that is finally being served to him. So many more UW-Madison women are just breathing a sigh of relief that they don’t have to fear running into him at a party or alone at the library ever again.
In Cosmopolitan just this past Tuesday, the horrifying abuse story of a Wisconsin native was released. Sarah Engle was sucked into an emotionally abusive relationship that soon became physically abusive. The man attempted to murder Sarah by raping her and shooting her in the face, and succeeded in murdering her mother.

Although I shouldn’t be able to continue with more examples—I have to. Last weekend in Menominee, an innocent, UW-Stout business student was beat to death by a white male. Hussain Saeed Alnahdi was killed for no apparent reason besides his country of origin, Saudi Arabia.

Where is this hate coming from? What is driving this aggression inside these people?

Some blame the structural inequality that has made our nation unable to truly achieve equal opportunities and respect between genders, classes, and races.

Some have been looking to our national leaders for places to put blame. Trump has gained voters through the strategy of creating a common enemy. Trump villainizes immigrants and racial minorities in America, especially singling out people from the Middle East as threats that need to be eradicated. But Trump isn't who needs to be blamed.

At the end of the day, there are people in this country willing to defend the systematic inequality set up in our country. At the end of the day, there are people who believe that hating another group of people will fix the nation’s problems.

No matter the motives—power, money, pleasure, etc.—at the end of the day, there are people willing to live life hatefully.

It’s time our leaders and our personal problems stop being used to validate hate. It’s time for each person to recognize our individual biases and stop allowing them to control our actions.
Please UW-Madison: for the American Indian students who had to ask someone to take their offensive costume off at a party, for the African American students who cringed at public display of a black mask being hung, for the five girls whose lives will never be the same because of one, dominant male student, for the countless others who haven’t felt safe enough to share their own stories, for Sarah Engle, and for Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, and for everyone else that hate has changed the life of or taken the life from—let’s remember how to love.
I was taught everyday as a little girl that love is the single most powerful thing in the world. That kind words are words you can never regret saying. I was taught the most important lesson you could ever learn was how to love others and yourself.

So let’s learn to love again UW-Madison. Let’s stop being afraid to show how much we love one another. Our fear to love is allowing hate to dictate our campus. We need to actively become braver, stronger, and kinder to each other. Because at the end of the day, the only thing that can defeat hate is love.