The Opposite of Hate

Photos by Brandon Parigo, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Author and political commentator Sally Kohn encourages connections

During the 12th annual Pride Lecture Oct. 23, Sally Kohn introduced herself by sharing two things to know about her:

1) She is a left wing progressive who—as a community organizer—has petitioned for LGBTQIA rights, immigration reform and an end to mass incarceration.

2) She’s supergay.

Knowing these two things, it seems out of character for her to take a position at Fox News. She thought so too and assumed everyone working there would know she had organized against them and dislike her because of it. What she learned was that her co-workers were regular people, “complicated, messy, sometimes mean, and sometimes kind” but people all the same. She also learned that she hated them.

The revelation shocked her, she’s an activist against hate. It inspired her to research the why and how of hate, its history and the psychology behind it. It became the subject of her book, “The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity.”

Kohn shared three things gleaned through her research.

  • Hate is not inevitable.
  • Hate is changeable.
  • Hate is preventable.

The takeaway Kohn says is “the opposite of hate is connection.” Through connections, we can enact policies that remove the institutional and structural ways our communities are divided, change the way we speak to one another and provide spaces that foster connection and engagement with different races, religions and political or economic spheres.

Kohn quoted Brené Brown, “people are hard to hate up close,” and challenged the audience to escape their comfort zone and do three things that build a connection where it otherwise wouldn’t be: Read a book about a different culture, talk to someone with opposing views or do something kind.

About Sally Kohn

Sally Kohn is one of the leading progressive voices in America today. The author of ‘The Opposite of Hate’ (April 2018, Alqonquin) and host of ‘State of Resistance’ podcast, Kohn is a CNN political commentator and columnist. Before that, she was a Fox News contributor—and before that she worked for more than 15 years as a community organizer. Kohn’s writing has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, New York Magazine, More Magazine,,, USA Today, Time, Afar Magazine and more.

About the Pride Lecture Series

The UMKC Division of Diversity and Inclusion’s Pride Lecture Series aims to:

  • Recognize the value of LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally) students, faculty and staff.
  • Affirm that LGBTQIA perspectives and experiences benefit and enrich the educational and professional experience for all on our campuses.
  • Support LGBTQIA community members in harnessing and commanding their power to influence social, political and economic issues in the community, legislature, business and civic organizations and in institutions of higher education, including our own.
  • Raise funds to support students in our LGBTQIA community to use their personal power when faced with loss of financial support from family.

| Article by Julie Bunge, Strategic Marketing and Communications

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