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Timely New Documentary Series Explores ‘Why We Hate’

A counter-protester gives a white supremacist the middle finger. The white supremacists responds with a Nazi salute. Charlottesville August 12, 2017.
A counter-protester gives a white supremacist the middle finger. The white supremacists responds with a Nazi salute. Charlottesville August 12, 2017. (Photo: Evan Nesterak)

In our hyperpartisan and polarized country, ‘Why We Hate’ is a must-watch for every American.

A new documentary series titled “Why We Hate” premiered Sunday on the Discovery Channel and explores “one of humanity’s most primal and destructive emotions – hate.”

Directed by Sam Pollard and Geeta Gandbhir (Emmy winners for “When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts”) and produced by Hollywood veteran Steven Spielberg, the six-part docuseries aims to help people understand their own minds to prevent hatred from spreading.

Pollard made no bones about the subject matter’s relation to America today, telling NPR: “If you think about where we are in the United States with Trump as president, the idea that he demonizes people from other countries, specifically Mexico — that’s another way to sort of separate us from them.”

He then went on to compare it to the worst outcomes for such divisiveness: genocide, as with the Holocaust in Germany during World War II, and Cambodia.

The isolation of disadvantaged persons and groups can also lead to extremism, Pollard believes — referencing skinheads and gang members who are seeking a family to belong to. This appeals to the tribal nature of humans, which in turn leads to contempt towards outsiders.

Co-director Gandbhir insists that hate “is something that we all have in common. It is not unique to one society or one group of people.”

“Why We Hate” manages to show a wide variety of how hate is manifested, such as: a campaign in Colombia to reunify a bitterly divided country from the decades of war between government forces and FARC guerrillas; a de-radicalized white American man who now works to reform white supremacists; pro- and anti-Trump activists; the Israeli and Palestinian conflict; easily angered soccer hooligans and survivors of the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.

The series will also lean heavily on psychology, anthropology and neuroscience in their approach to the subject matter.

It is no surprise that the documentary is partnering with various causes that foster for more compassion and understanding between people. Listed on the Discovery Channel website are PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which actively leads social change to prevent childhood bullying; the Shoah Foundation; and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Education, which aims to create the next generation of human rights defenders.

Surely in our culturally and politically divisive times, this is a timely subject to tackle and learn more about.

“Why We Hate” airs Sundays on the Discovery Channel at 10 PM Eastern Time.


1 Comment

  1. mary van rynsoever October 31, 2019

    We missed the first one.to late at 10 can we see this on Netflix?


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