For most people I'm about to state the obvious. Though there are some who never figured this out.

The kind of hatred that was on display in Charlottesville over the weekend, the kind of hatred that would lead a Nazi loving man to ram his car into a crowd of anti-protestors injuring so many and taking the life of a young woman, is learned behavior. It is unnatural.

If a white kid were born on an island with Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, gays, straights, old and young, and raised unencumbered by negative influences, he would not hate entire groups. Racism and hatred for people unlike us is learned behavior. Often from the family itself, but sometimes not. Sometimes it is introduced in later years by people who exert a negative influence. Think of how cults operate, latching on to people who have fallen adrift in their lives. In any case, left to our pure human selves without being taught to hate we tend not to. Thus the oft repeated phrase that most people are inherently good.

I was horrified to see what many people were saying on Facebook and other social media this weekend. Many downplayed the hate groups in this country. Some were twisting things to call media the real bad guys in all this. I never want to abandon the belief that most people are inherently good. After this weekend I'm worried the numbers are not as great as I had hoped.

The first time I can remember seeing the ugliness of racism and hatred was in my own home when I was a child. I was having my 8th birthday celebration. I was allowed to invite several friends to my house for a backyard pool party. One of the kids I invited was a friend from school who was black. In my house this wasn't even questioned. This was years after the Civil Rights Act had passed. Well wouldn't you know, the mother of one of my best friends showed up with her son and immediately became furious that there was a black child there. I watched the whole thing go down. This woman angrily confronting my mother, spitting out the words, "You never told me there was going to be a colored kid at this party!"

My mother tried to calm her down to no avail. The woman complained that she did not want her son changing into his swimsuit in the same room as my black friend. Didn't want them even playing together. My mother didn't know I was watching and hearing when she said, "Your son is one of Jeff's best friends, and I'd hate for him to not be here. But if you feel this strongly about it you can take your son and go home, because this other little boy isn't going anywhere."

The woman decided in an angry fit to let her son stay but she wasn't going to hang around as planned and condone my having a black friend. She left in anger. I remember being shocked and disgusted by her. I also remember being proud of my mother.

I think love comes far more naturally than hate. But perhaps both can be learned behaviors. Let's hope so.

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