Hate is not an opinion.

If you get nothing else from anything I ever write again, please promise me you will at least let this sink into your heart: hate is not an opinion.

Our personal opinions too often become so hyperbolized by our passion that they turn into anger, at which point we become hateful, not opinionated. We have all seen this happen. We all have that one facebook friend who posts racist, sexist, xenophobic content and tries to pass it off as their opinion rather than calling it what it is: hate speech.

So, what is an opinion? An opinion is a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

What is hate? Hate is an intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Do you see the difference? An opinion is a judgement, hate is an intense hostility.

Let me be very clear here: you can passionately express an opinion without also expressing hate. For example, I firmly believe that people who think feminism is irrelevant are being ignorant to the systematic devaluing of women in media, language, politics, religion, etc.. I do not believe that people who think feminism is irrelevant are stupid, misogynist pigs who deserve to be taken out in the name of woman’s rights.

We need to rise up and encourage those who spread hate to evaluate where their intense hostility is coming from and remind them that they can be opinionated without being hateful. Let’s foster a community that can respect each other no matter what our personal opinions are. Communicating your opinions is not a bad thing, but remember that the way you communicate them speaks volumes about your character.

Let me say it one last time: hate is not an opinion.