I am currently training as a volunteer for STOP HATE UK who had their official launch in Leeds this afternoon. STOP HATE UK raises awareness and understanding of discrimination and hate crime, encourages its reporting, and supports the individuals and communities it affects.
It was really inspiring to listen to victims of hate crime talk about their experiences and describe the importance of the support that STOP HATE UK has been able to offer. I can’t wait to complete the training and start to get more involved.
But why do people hate in the first place? How could we engage with those who might become perpetrators of hate crime and prevent them from offending?
I am re-reading Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed which I first read when I did teacher training over 20 years ago. It reminds us that the oppressed, in turn, tend to become oppressors. My admittedly limited experience of hate crimes fits this pattern. The perpetrators are themselves victims of oppression both economically and socially. In order to find some power, status and esteem for themselves, they in turn oppress.
I believe that the same effect can play out in the workplace. Old school managers strive to keep employees effective within roles that are tightly defined by job descriptions, targets, objectives and quality standards. The potential and aspiration of the individual comes a very distant second to their pre-ordained utility in the business. Over time this distorts and inhibits their development as a human. Essentially this style of management de-humanises and hatred, frustration, alienation and anger grow. At best, people retire on the job. At worst they express their alienation more powerfully through harassment, bullying and deception.
Progressive Managers on the other hand focus on the development of human potential. Their role is to help people to exploit the opportunities that the organisation provides to further their own development as a person. They build remarkable teams driven by the realisation of human potential – rather than the efficient but de-humanising fulfilment of a job description.