2019 – 8th Grade National 3rd Place Winner
Maya Chugh Singh, New York.
Hate or Love:
Which has a greater impact on society?
Hate is an infectious disease. It is powerful and spreads quickly. Love does not have the same impact. Although love has positive impact, hate has a greater impact on society because it can be dangerous when used by powerful people, it takes a lot of love to reverse a small amount of hate, and hate can provoke positive change.
Hate is harmful in the hands of powerful people. During Reconstruction, the Southern government put in place the Black Codes, which essentially gave slavery a new name. The newly freed slaves, or Freedmen, were forced to sign wage contracts that they couldn’t read. They worked on the same plantations and made no money, just like when they were slaves. Sharecropping also put some Freedmen into debt. Hate also hurt them physically. If they tried to leave the plantation without passes saying who they “belonged to”, they’d be beaten or killed. These laws fueled by hate were made by southern government officials who wanted to maintain control.
It takes more love to reverse an act of hate than there was hate in the first place. In terms of weight, it’s like saying it takes one ton of love needed to reverse one pound of hate. In the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, he describes his personal experiences as a lawyer trying to get innocent people off of death row. He tells stories of cases where an act of discrimination and ignorance, both types of hate, changed a person’s life, such as Walter McMillian and Jimmy Dill. Whether it was visiting Walter’s family, working nonstop, or just having a friendly conversation with Walter, Bryan was dedicated to helping. They won the case, and Walter was released from prison after being on death row for six years because of an act of hate fueled by discrimination. Jimmy Dill wasn’t so lucky. As hard as Bryan Stevenson worked, which included going to the Supreme Court; it wasn’t enough. Jimmy was executed on April 16, 2009. All the love and time Bryan Stevenson put in still wasn’t enough because acts of hate by individuals were so powerful. Hate killed Jimmy Dill and put Walter McMillian on death row.
Hate provokes positive change that love cannot do. The horrible mass shooting that happened in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 is an example of this period some Parkland survivors started Never Again, an organization that organized the March for Our Lives marches. The movement they started affected people nationally, from government officials trying to change gun laws to school walkouts all around the country. They use this tragedy to change the world, something they wouldn't haven't been able to do if they hadn't gone through everything that they have. They used to hate they faced to spread love. Love is good, but it has no impact without hate.
Hate can be dangerous, potent, but also galvanizing for good. Love cannot be all of those things. Whether good or not, hate has greater impact on society.
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