Zooming in on hate: INACH special - Why do people hate? Understanding the Roots of Intolerance with Arun Mansukhani

Zooming in on hate: INACH special - Why do people hate? Understanding the Roots of Intolerance with Arun Mansukhani

In our interconnected world, hate speech and intolerance have become all too common, leaving many wondering: why do people hate? Delving into this pressing question, we recently sat down with Arun Mansukhani, a clinical psychologist based in Spain. Through our conversation, we explored the underlying reasons behind hate and discussed actionable steps to combat it effectively.

Arun Mansukhani brings a wealth of expertise in trauma psychology and a deep understanding of human behaviour to our discussion. He shed light on the inherent dichotomous thinking ingrained in our brains, leading us to categorise the world into in-groups and out-groups. This natural inclination, fuelled by our need for belonging, often serves as a breeding ground for intolerance.

Online anonymity amplifies these divisions, providing individuals with a shield to spew hate without accountability. Arun underscored the importance of empathy in curbing destructive behaviour, emphasising how physical closeness fosters emotional connection and understanding. However, the digital realm’s lack of proximity makes it challenging to cultivate empathy, allowing hatred to flourish unchecked.

Not everyone harbours the capacity for psychopathic behaviour. While a small percentage exhibit consistent psychopathic traits, most individuals exist on a spectrum, capable of both empathy and intolerance depending on circumstances. Factors such as perceived threats, group dynamics, and emotional responses further shape one’s propensity for hate.

To combat hate, Arun proposed practical strategies aimed at fostering empathy and bridging divides:

  1. Information Dissemination: While informative, merely presenting facts often fails to sway entrenched beliefs due to cognitive biases, so we need education on a deeper level.
  2. Public Demonstrations: Protests and public displays can empower marginalised groups but may inadvertently strengthen extreme viewpoints.
  3. Intergroup Contact: Facilitating meaningful interactions between diverse communities fosters empathy and reduces prejudice. Building bridges and fostering understanding through dialogue and shared experiences emerge as potent antidotes to hate.

Despite the challenges posed by online hate, Arun remains optimistic about humanity’s capacity for progress. He highlighted gradual advancements in civil rights, LGBTQ+ acceptance, and gender equality as testament to society’s evolving attitudes. While change may be incremental, collective efforts to foster empathy and combat hate are paving the way for a more inclusive and compassionate world.