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For some odd reason, openly expressing hatred toward groups seems more socially acceptable than toward individuals. While the targets of hostility change over the years, the sad practice continues.

Early in my life, the targets of blame and condemnation within my earshot were often Yankees (not the baseball team, but all persons above the sacred Mason-Dixon line), African Americans (called by a variety of horrible names), any religious group other than our own (particularly Catholics and Jews), and “foreigners” in general because little distinction was made among such groups.

Having perceived enemies somehow seems necessary for many persons to direct their fears and blame. So we often overhear the venom spewed toward well-labeled groups as if all individuals within such groups walk in lockstep and are of shared minds.

Group hatred allows us to act as if all blame can be directed toward those other than our righteous selves. Our problems would be erased by simply eliminating “them” — Democrats, Conservatives, Muslims, politicians, gays/lesbians, immigrants, Arabs, Jews, Baptists, etc.

The essence of talk radio is to bring group targets into sharper focus. Seeing persons as groups rather than individuals uniquely created in the image of God allows for our broad generalizations and justified hatred.

During an interview with World Series MVP pitcher Orel Hershiser several years ago, I joked that as a longtime Braves fan I liked the Dodgers as individuals just not as a group. But often that distinction is not made humorously.

The bottom line is that lumping people together makes us less loving.

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