Monday, September 28, 2009

Hate Not, Hate Yes?

I try to not hate. I don’t hate people, for example. I may not like some of the things that people do, but I don’t hate the person. Well, I might feel a twinge of hate at that anonymous person in the car that just cut me off, or the person who nearly caused harm to my family, but in general, I try to not hate.

That said, I do hate some things. I hate green peppers. I hate racism, sexism, all of those isms. I hate when I break things. I hate it that I can’t sleep at night. I hate when my family is sick or hurting. I hate that I’m fat. I hate that I get frustrated.

Hate is a strong emotion. Hate has its place.

At my oldest daughter’s school conference I had an inkling that her school hates the word hate. Later, I asked her and K-Man about it.

Are you allowed to say hate at school?

(Both kids) Oh no! Hate is a bad word!

Is it? I find this a little odd. Curse words are probably bad. No, not bad, inappropriate. What are “bad” words? There are some. I won’t write them here because they ARE bad. Racial slurs. Those are bad. What else? Cancer. Cancer is a bad word when a doctor tells you that you or a family member has it.

Is hate a bad word? Am I bad for hating things? I don’t think so.

So, you’re not allowed to say, “I hate broccoli? What happens if you say that?

Oh! We’d get a detention.

Hmmm. I let the conversation trail off because I was a little taken aback. Apparently my kids are not allowed to express strong dislike for things. I can see the reasoning of not allowing kids to say they hate another person. I think that mostly people don’t REALLY hate one another (not talking globally and religiously and all of those very deep-seated biases) but just day-to-day interactions I don’t think people truly hate one another. Ignorance is a whole different thing.

But. I’m hearing that my kids can’t say I hate it when my friends tease me. They can’t say I hate feeling sick. I hate being scared when a storm rolls through. I hate doing homework when I’d rather play.

These are all valid emotions and expressions.

I hate that they are not allowed to express them at school.

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Life As I Know It said...

Banning the word and getting a detention for using it seems a little harsh.
But, having said that, I don't like it when my kids say 'hate', and discourage it. I don't remember why or how it started, but it's a strong word that I discouraged when my oldest was a toddler. I usually replace it with "dislike" or "don't care for" or something else.

Phoenix said...

I agree with the previous comment that detention for using a word such as hate seems harsh. I know I use the word sometimes - like you, it tends to be directed at things and actions rather than people. However, I think it's a word that is very much over used nowadays and people often don't think about what they really mean by it. It's like saying something is 'nice' (one of my least favourite words). Maybe we should all try harder to express what we really mean, rather than using, what has become, a catch-all word. Just my opinion though :-)

chelle said...

I totally agree with you being concerned at the absolute with banning the word hate. Yet kids are so concrete and so willing to test boundaries. I can totally imagine how something as innocent as "You cannot say you hate Joe" evolved into not allowing the word anymore. Fine line between censorship and controlling the situation.

Will they be having a book burning later with all the books that use the word hate? Me ain't been to a good bood burnin' in a long time ;)

Heather T said...

I hate censorship in school. 'Nuff said.

for a different kind of girl said...

To not allow them to use a word that expresses a feeling, an emotion is incredibly extreme, especially if there's some kind of punishment like detention tied to it. I don't think we love when our kids say they hate something, and perhaps offer up a different word, but I'm not going to label it a bad word by any means.

Madeline said...

I hate that...for you and for them. The school has taken that one just a tad too far.

mayberry said...

Wow. Context is everything in these kinds of cases. An absolute ban seems wrongheaded.

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