HomeQ&ADefinition of "hate": Is "I don't like" a sign of hate? ¿Qué pensais?

Definition of "hate": Is "I don't like" a sign of hate? ¿Qué pensais?


Sounds like a strange topic, but I just came across this strange post in this interesting thread by our friend Morbo:

Thats messed up im asian dont hate

posted by a newbie called donkagg

The story is simple, Morbo and others expressed their likes and dislikes of a particular language, liking the sound of some languages more than others.

This comment was posted by Jack

Please look up the definition of hate. There is none here. - Jack-OBrien

I am very surprised by the newbies definition of "hate". I think a simple statement of like or dislike cannot be considered a sign of hate or spite. Must we even be careful when expressing a simply like or dislike just in case we "offend"?

What do you think?

Odio pensó ver el nuevo miembro donkagg en una simple manifestación de "gustar o no gustar" de determinadas lenguas. La suya al parecer es asiatica y al manifestar algunos miembros que el sonido de dicha lengua les parece raro o no agradable al oído, ha dicho que esto es una señal de odio. big surprise ¿Es "odio" el simple hecho de que nos gusten algunas cosas más que otras y sobre todo que lo expresemos libremente? ¿Ya no podemos manifestar ni nuestros gustos con miedo a ver si "ofendemos"?confused

updated FEB 1, 2011
posted by 00494d19

21 Answers


Frankly, I think we have way overboard with this "sensitivity" thing, trying to be kind, sweet, and accommodating to everybody and for everybody.

If there is one thing I have learned in my life is that there is simply no way to please everyone. There is always someone who is going to be offended or hurt by what you say, even if you have the best intentions.

I have made the conscious decision to always speak the truth and, if I think it's important, to speak my mind. I don't much care if my views are popular or not. If I feel I need to say it, I say it and durn the consequences. I can take it.

Yes I am careful with my language. Yes I avoid confrontation. But every so often someone gets upset anyway. Oh well, too bad!

I may try to clarify and explain once, in case it's just a matter of a simple misunderstanding. But if after that the other party persists on being huffy, I reckon it's their problem not mine.

Editorial PS. The Forum software thinks I am being profane with the use of "durn" in its non-euphemistic way. See what I mean?

updated ABR 21, 2010
edited by Gekkosan
posted by Gekkosan
very sensible approach :) - Issabela, ABR 20, 2010
great:) - 00494d19, ABR 20, 2010

"Don't hate" doesn't mean "Don't hate"

I am very surprised by the newbies definition of "hate". I think a simple statement of like or dislike cannot be considered a sign of hate or spite. Must we even be careful when expressing a simply like or dislike just in case we "offend"?

Hi Heidita. I think that Marianne is correct on this one. The word "hate" in this sense does not carry the strong connotations that you are suggesting. Here in the U.S., the expression, "don't hate" is a set (slang) expression. It is often used by some people here (especially younger generations - albeit all too frequently) to express dissatisfaction with criticism.

To say "don't hate" (in this context) then, really just means "don't criticize." It also often carries with it the connotation that the person doing the "hating" (also referred to as a "hater") is only criticizing out of "sour grapes" (i.e. out of a sense of jealousy, or inability to get or do the very thing that they are criticizing). The term itself has just arisen in the last 10 or 15 years, and stems from the "hip-hop generation" (but probably had it's origins in terms used by common street criminals). In particular it is a corruption or contraction of an earlier expression, "Don't hate the player, hate the game." This expression also led to the accusative term, "player hater," used to refer to a person (now simply "hater").

A "hater" then might be defined as someone who goes through life disparaging the success of others or what others can do because of an inability to accomplish anything for themselves. In this sense, when donkagg is saying, "don't hate" he is essentially using the expression to discount any criticism leveled at his language/culture by saying something along the lines of "don't get mad at my language (and I assume by extension, "my culture") just because you can't understand it. As I said earlier, this is the idea of "sour grapes" that I was talking about. I imagine the original comment that led to this reaction was the following:

Yo nunca aprendería chino, japonés, alemán ni ruso. ¿Por qué?no me agrada el sonido de las palabras

The expression "don't hate" levels the accusation that the Morbo is knocking these other languages (or having "sour grapes") because of an inability to learn/understand them himself, so instead of remarking on the difficulty of accomplishing this he chooses to denigrate the languages instead, or as it might be put "hate on" the languages. You might say it is like he is saying, "Don't hate (get mad at/criticize) the languages, hate (get mad at/criticize) yourself for not being smart/good/skillful/competent/etc enough to understand them."

The overuse of this phrase has led it to become a bit of a trite expression here in such a way that it has really lost any of its bite (if it ever really possessed any to begin with). In essence then, the purpose of the phrase is more to discount or "put-off" the opinion of the person (and by extension, the person himself) who is making the criticism.

updated ABR 21, 2010
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
Very well said, Ira. - --Mariana--, ABR 20, 2010
Thanks for saying this! - TheSilentHero, ABR 20, 2010
Preach on brother. - jeezzle, ABR 20, 2010

In the United States we are into our third decade of:

  1. "I can do and believe whatever I want"
  2. "If you don't like what I do or believe, you are a racist/bigot/sexist/homophobe."

The two concepts don't always work well together. Frankly, I'm tired of the overly-sensitive generation and the culture that has evolved to support it. Boo-hoo.

I think I just created an ironic black hole.

updated FEB 1, 2011
posted by 008f2974
I fully (?) agree, dogbert - AntMexico, ABR 20, 2010
Wish I could give you more than one vote! : ) - mar959, ABR 20, 2010

Please remember also that the expression "don't hate" is used by young people to say "Hey, cool it." It's not always a very strong expression of feelings.

For example, "That shirt you're wearing is ugly." "Hey, don't hate. It was very expensive."

After reading the thread I think that donkagg was offended by the whole idea of the thread -- that there are languages people don't want to learn. However, Jack cleared up any animosity by saying "There's no hate here." I would have been good if Morbo said: I mean no offense to anybody by pointing out their language.

In any event, I agree with both the opinions of Mountaingirl and Gekkosan --->

"Hate" is a strong word and should be used with caution.

Some people are oversensitive and we can't please everyone.

updated ABR 21, 2010
posted by --Mariana--
"Don't be a hater" is another common expression, which goes along with what you are saying Marianne. There are a lot of words thrown around now that don't carry such a strong meaning anymore. - Nicole-B, ABR 20, 2010

Este es un hilo muy interesante, Heidita...

Por mi parte, no tengo confianza que el forero asiático sea sincero en su comentario. Cuando busqué su pérfil, vi que recibió dos flags por spam en otros hilos.

Pero, dejo mis dudas al lado, si por casualidad sea un comentario sincero...

The word "hate" is an ugly word and nobody wants to be accused of "hating" many things. Maybe we could agree that we "hate" evil, for example, or that we "hate" the thought of being forced to eat fried worm eyes stewed in eel sauce.

The word itself itself, however, is one of the current "hot button" words that carries with it much unspoken implication. A person who is accused of "hate" is also implied to be a bigot, narrow minded, and possibly an embodiment of evil itself.

I have seen many thoughtful, well-meaning people shut down on forums because they used the word "dislike" or suggested that they "did not agree" and suddenly someone made a leap to interpret "hate" in there somewhere and the original posters were branded as bigots, etc.

Of course, this did not happen here, but Jack's comment was well timed and right on to put a stop to any possible escalation.

updated ABR 21, 2010
posted by mountaingirl123
I agree! we need to be very careful and maintain a balanced approach hating bad/evil things rather than people . - FELIZ77, ABR 20, 2010

It's quite interesting just reading the various understandings of the word hate. Frankly, I am floored by Izanoni and Marianne's suggestion that it's a slang phrase that doesn't really mean much at all.

How in the world are we supposed to communicate if words change meanings that drastically in a generation?

I'm used to the word being used in a political context. The left in this country came out with a bumper sticker in response to the "Family Values" message espoused by followers of the Reagan Administration from 1981-89. It was this:

The "pro-family" message of the day was against special rights for homosexuals, against pornography, and against abortion. The notion that this represented "hatred" was the political response from the left. I alway believed that our current excessive use of the term "hate" was directly connected to this.

Apparently this misuse of a word and mischaracterization of a movement for political purposes has resulted in confusion far great than I realized, with a great generational divide in the understanding of the word "hate".

Again I just have to wonder... how are we supposed to communicate?

updated FEB 1, 2011
posted by Goyo
Hey Greg, even though I get the feeling that you and I are likely on opposite ends of the political spectrum when it comes to many issues, I think that you are right when you say that the use of the word "hate" (in its traditional sense) has been bandied - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010
about far too often as a rallying cry (and quite frankly, a very offensive rallying cry) by far too many in the political arena. - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010
In any event, no matter what your political leanings, I find it hard to picture you as a proponent of "hate" in any sense of the word, so to coin another hated expression...."Shake them haters off, man!" :) - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010

Since I'm quickly becoming an 'old timer' some of these slang words could cause me trouble. For example, some people in the news these days are accusing others of being motivated by hate, and they mean it in the worst of terms. For example, when one is called a racist, or hatemonger or whatever, only because of a political belief, it's not meant to mean "don't criticize", it's meant to smear in the worst possible way.

If someone were to publicly tell me to "not hate" I would be offended, because publicly the word still means what it used to mean. Also, when someone tells you to "not hate", there is the implied accusation that you are a hater, or that you just did or said something that was hateful. When people refer to a 'hate crime' they're not talking about someone being critical, and in my mind, when someone is accused of being a 'hater', it's in that same bad light.

I realize this is internet drivel, that we are cyber people in cyber space and that nothing is real, what we're looking at is nothing more than a glowing LCD panel.

Even though we've been told, from our President on down, that "it's only words", I personally believe, and my Bible teaches that words have power. Solomon said that "the power of life and death are in the tongue", and of course that is through the use of words.

It's an amazing thing for one to be accused of hate because of 1) being of a conservative political persuasion and 2) refusing to give someone money because they are 'on the streets', but that same group never said thank you when this person was given a job, and learned the skills necessary to create wealth on their own. That person now is doing extremely well for themselves. It makes me wonder, who was hating whom?

updated FEB 1, 2011
edited by Jack-OBrien
posted by Jack-OBrien
When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before the, as the hypocrites do in the synogogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly Matthew 6:2-4 - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010
Are you tring to tell me something?? :~) - Jack-OBrien, ABR 20, 2010

Heidita, I don't know if has anything to do with being Asian, but when I saw the title of Morbo's post, I did feel that it might be a touchy subject. When I looked at his explanation, I said to myself, "uh-oh, some people might really get offended here".

Had I joined SD perhaps just a couple of days ago and would read Morbo's post now, I would get the feeling that there's discrimination in this site. I think that one's language is so integral to one's person that if you tell someone you don't like to learn his language for some reason, he may take it to mean simply that you don't like his language and might even feel that you therefore also don't like him.

However, since I had been with SD for more than a month now and I am already quite familiar with Morbo and his topics, I understand where he is coming from and did not personally feel bad about his latest topic. But as I said, I felt that someone else might take offense.

I have 2 friends from another Asian country, which I will not mention anymore as it might just aggravate matters, but I know they get quite upset when they hear even the slightest negative comment about their language. It must be my awareness of my friends's attitudes that made me conscious of the possible effect of Morbo's topic on others.

I am glad that you took notice of donkagg's reaction and started this thread so that others may give their comments on the issue.

As far as I am concerned, I know Marbo meant well and I would not impute any malice to what he said. However, if it has anything to do with my being Asian, I did feel that it may just be a sensitive topic to discuss.

updated FEB 1, 2011
posted by Rikko

I am not a native speaker, so it is true that this person might be very young and have used it this strange way. I can only agree with this though, if a simple thread of a forum expressing likes and dislikes triggers an answer like this...what will come next?

I think we all have the right to like or dislike a language or anything for that matter. You can often hear the following:

English is used for business.

French for love.

German to talk with your horse.

I mean, if a German gets offended by this, I think that is plain silly. It is just a joke.

Frankly, I think we have way overboard with this "sensitivity" thing, trying to be kind, sweet, and accommodating to everybody and for everybody.


updated ABR 21, 2010
edited by 00494d19
posted by 00494d19
Don't hate" really doesn't have the connotations you seem to think it does, and it's not strange or unusual either. The conclusions you're drawing are flawed. - TheSilentHero, ABR 20, 2010

Since when have the terms/words 'I don't like' and 'I hate' ever been synonomous (sic) ?

According to the O.E.D. since c. 897 (their earliest citation). Their 1st meaning/gloss: "1. trans. To hold in very strong dislike; to detest; to bear malice to. The opposite of to love." Note: one of the meanings given is "to bear malice to" which relates to such phrases as "hate crime" and, perhaps the reaction expressed to Mobo's post. However, another shade of meaning (what might be intended by someone who says "I hate spinach.") has been around for a very long time.

In many ways this is similar to someone suggesting that the word 'pig' be abolished from the English language because it is 'insulting'/'offensive'. Obviously, when someone says "You are a pig!" or refers to policemen as "pigs" the intent is to insult. Need this mean that one object to the farmer who says"I raise pigs?" The blanket condemnation of a word (despite its many meanings) because one meaning could cause offense to someone, somewhere is, basically an indication of ignorance.

updated ABR 21, 2010
posted by samdie
Thank you Samdie...great post - Izanoni1, ABR 20, 2010

Like others have said "Don't hate" is a slang phrase, and not talking about actual hatred.

updated ABR 21, 2010
posted by TheSilentHero

It would be great if people would think very carefully before they use such emotive language as 'hate'. Some people use words as if they carried no meaning at all and so cheapen them and trivialise the impact that such words can have on other people.

When I was a child they used to say "sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me!" What a load of tosh/rubbish/ baloney.!!!

Anyone who has ever been teased/mocked at school will know that words can really hurt people. I am Not into political correctness - which is sensitivity gone crazy - but a balanced approach would be beneficial for all people. By balanced I mean that we avoid two extremes of either: 1. Not being able to say anything in case an oversensitive person is offended by the use of a words such as bum... and 2. Becoming so insensitive to people that we care little or nothing about what we say and the impact that has on upsetting people.

Just showing Respect for all people and following the Golden rule/guideline that is common to all/almost all people groups in the world :Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

Since when have the terms/words 'I don't like' and 'I hate' ever been synonomous? (meant the same thing?) Finally I don't think we should be encouraging the use of words such as hate here in this community. Yes ,we can hate bad things like terrorism child abuse and war but even if we find some people are hard to interact with and may find it hard to get on with we can still show respect for them even if we find it hard to like them. After all it maybe 'me ' that has the problem not them

updated ABR 21, 2010
edited by FELIZ77
posted by FELIZ77
I really like your comments about "balance" and following the Golden Rule. - --Mariana--, ABR 20, 2010

It's quite interesting just reading the various understandings of the word hate. Frankly, I am floored by Izanoni and Marianne's suggestion that it's a slang phrase that doesn't really mean much at all.

Hi Goyo. Let me just clarify so as to avoid any possible ambiguity. I am not trying to discount the fact that the word hate can and still does carry a stronger connotation; however, at the same time the use of the slang expression is not the same as using the word in the more traditional sense. I am sure that you are probably familiar (as many people over 30 might be) with the somewhat playful reproach made popular years ago by certain shampoo commercials, "Don't hate me because I am beautiful" The origin of the slang use of the word "hate" bear a striking resemblance to the way in which this expression was used. Over the years, however, the phrase(s) became so watered down that they are often not even used or taken in a confrontational manner. For example, the following slang expressions have become trite to the point that in most cases, they are often used as mere throwaway phrases (when being used as slang expressions) and, I would guess, only in the extremely rare case carry with them any sense of hostility by the speaker.

• Don't hate

• He's a hater

• Don't be a hater

• Don't be hating

• Don't hate on me

• He's always hating on me

• He hates on everybody

It is extremely doubtful that anyone who is used to hearing such expressions bandied about might become confused and mistake them for other expressions using the word hate that might carry more serious intonations. For example, the following phrases, as far as I can tell, would not be confused with any of the slang expressions (which employ the weakened sense of the word) listed above.

• Don't be so hateful

• He's a hatemonger

• Don't be a hatemonger

• You shouldn't hate people for no reason

• Why do you hate me so much?

• He's always so hateful

• He hates everybody

I am not sure why it is surprising to anybody that words that pick up slang meanings should be able to be used in both ways. I assure you that one who is familiar with both usages should have no trouble distinguishing between there meanings when they are being used. For me, the use of the expression, "don't hate" reminds me of the way that the word "awesome" is used nowadays.

Before the 1960s, the word awesome meant only "awe-inspiring" with the definition of awe being "terror, dread or wonder." After the 1960s, however, the word began to be used in a different way, and the ensuing decades stripped the word of much of its potency to such an extent, that it is often used as nothing more than a throw away catch phrase, "That's awesome, dude."

To me, I prefer the original sense of the word. In my opinion, God is awesome or the universe is awesome; pizza can never be awesome neither can I be inspired to awe by a movie nor a joke nor any other mundane triviality that someone chooses to tack the word awesome onto. At the same, when my 7-year old son comes to me with a giant smile on his face and says to me, "that was awesome, dad!" It really doesn't matter to me how un-awe-inspiring or mundane the event may have been which he is referring to because my response will always be the same. I am still going to smile at him, look him in the eye and tell him, "it sure was, buddy! It sure was!"

updated ABR 21, 2010
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1

I think the meaning of don't hate depends on the country. In my country there is nothing serious about this word. In fact, I don't like seem to be harsher. We often teasing a girl when she say "I don't hate you", because the opposite of "hate" is "like" so "I don't hate you = I like you" tongue wink

BTW, I also feel the sensitivity of the thread, I don't think it's a good idea to criticize a language or to compare one another. All the languages are beautiful, they are just different.

updated ABR 21, 2010
posted by Krama

I don't think that "I don't like..." can be qualified as hate, having in mind that we all have rights to make a choice. But we have to be careful with our statements, because:

  1. we often give opinion of things we’ve heard very little about i.e. we don’t have sufficient knowledge
  2. our likes/dislikes are not permanent.

I’ve learnt one thing in life and that is, not to make strict claims about anything, as life always directs you into situations in which you are forced to revoke your own claims...

updated ABR 21, 2010
posted by luz_72
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