"People who hate you are just your confused admirers" so the new wise men say. They say all the toxic smoke and vitriol that often comes out of our mouths when we talk about others can be traced back to the fact that we really admire the hell out of those people and often want to BE them. Kevin E. Taylor, author and pastor of Unity Fellowship Church New Brunswick, takes it a bit further by adding "Haters are people who would do what you do differently if they were you." Simply put, haters don't really hate you. They hate themselves because you're a reflection of what they wish to be.
During a recent conversation with Taylor, I spoke of a certain black, gay, author who I readily admit that I admire for his early work in the community. This man continues to baffle me with his rather shady antics and deceptions, that I assume are designed to elevate both his (and his partner's) status in said community. Taylor told me that I was just a hater because I desired the same status this brotha had, but softened the blow by assuring me that I would probably just handle myself with more integrity. At first, this peculiar insight caught me off guard but made perfect sense later once I thought about it. Still, I did not like wearing the label of HATER!
This ideology was made even more clear to me when I saw it enacted and personified on the screen. The brilliant contemporary drama, Pariah (2011), directed by Dee Rees and co-produced by Spike Lee, tells the story of Alike, a quiet 17-year old African American girl living in Brooklyn who is struggling to embrace her identity as a young lesbian. Her father, Arthur, is a successful detective on the local police force who just made headlines for making a major local drug bust. However, when he goes to visit his old friend, a local store owner in the neighborhood, there's always a troublesome, negative, and nasty brotha just hanging idly by wasting the day away with something derisive to say to or about everybody. We see and hear brothas like them all the time on the street corners and in the barbershops; brothas who have lost their way and now have nothing more to do than just HANG.
When Arthur is portrayed as a hero in the local news, slacker dude is shown muttering something like LOOK WHO'S MADE THE BIG TIME with all the venom, jealousy, and hatred that he could possibly muster. He's not the star of the show nor of the corner store, but in his 15 minutes of screen time, he personifies the heart of all HATERS = [H]aving [A]nger [T]owards [E]veryone [R]eaching [S]uccess.
Haters come in many forms. Most times we're able to identify the haterade in others while choosing not to see it in ourselves because it sounds so extreme. I'm told there is a proverb that says 'Hating is the sincerest form of flattery' and it seems so much more benign when we remix it and say haters only hate the things that they can't get and the people they can't be and it's only a twisted expression of adoration that makes them sometimes behave as they do. I have a cousin who says haters are her biggest motivators, meaning she's going to stand right in front of them and do what she do while they talk about her. Perhaps we shouldn't hate our haters so much unless the hateration is in us. It stinks either way!