Why they hate us, was (Re: funny things to do on a bike)
"Tom Keats" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
> In article <email@example.com>,
> Zoot Katz <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
> > Thu, 6 May 2004 20:01:28 -0700, <email@example.com>,
> > firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom Keats) wrote:
> >>Bike-haters were just born that way.
> > The stereotypes and prejudices are built into the car-centric culture,
> > language and infrastructure. It's reinforced by restrictive
> > legislation and redneck radio.
> There are some who really have a hate-on for bikes and the people
> who ride them. I think it springs more from nature than nurture.
> These people seem to have a pathological need to hate something/
> somebody, and bikes are one target of opportunity. I suppose
> there are elements of both nature and nurture in their attitudes.
This is how I see it. There are some people who believe that the world is a
nasty, competitive place. They live as atomized individuals, and see the
world as made up of individuals, all of whom need to step on each other to
In addition to lacking a sense of connection to others, and seeing the world
in these bleak terms, they also feel relatively powerless. Working class
people by the very nature of how our society is structured do not have a
great deal of control over their work lives, and don't have a great deal of
money to change things.
So here they are, feeling powerless, fearful, and disconnected. They have no
ways to be compassionate towards themselves and this powerless, fearful side
of themselves. Instead, they despise this part of themselves, which they
understand to be weak.
One way people deal with hating a part of themselves is that they push off
what they don't like on to other people. In the case of these people who
feel fearful and powerless, they instead identify others as weak, and then
hate them for having those characteristics. It's much safer to hate others
than to hate yourself. Also, it is easy to fall into the belief that if you
only get rid of those people who embody that which you can't stand about
yourself, then everything will be all right.
Cyclists are identified as physically weak compared to cars. We don't go as
fast, we don't have a steel cage around us for protection. Thus, as
something that is weaker than the motorist, we are despised. But we are only
despised to the extent that the motorist hates his own powerlessness in
That "redneck" stations should encourage violence against cyclists is not
surprising. Working class white men are in an interesting situation. As
whites and men, they have a certain sense of entitlement, but because of
their education, background, etc. they will not be among the power elites.
There's a certain amount of frustration boiling in them. At the same time,
working class white men are among the few in American society (not sure
about other countries) where they have had a certain amount of tolerance, if
not outright encouragement, in externalizing their dark sides on to others,
and then committing acts of violence against those others. In this
situation, we get outright encouragement.
> We've heard the conjecture that this is the result of accumulated
> bad experiences & encounters with cyclists. I don't believe it is.
> I think their anger and hate is simply innate; it's their natures
> to be like that.
It is the nature of our ego minds to try to externalize what we don't like
in ourselves on to others, and then try to eliminate that characteristic in
them, or in a more extreme form, eliminate those people all together.
However, we don't have to collapse into that sort of behavior. If we
acknowledge our shadow selves, the parts of us that are violent, angry,
fearful (etc.), and are compassionate with ourselves for being that way, we
are then facilitating our own healing, rather than sending out destructive
feelings and actions into the world.
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