I recently read Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics by Kay Whitlock and Michael Bronski (Boston: Beacon Press, 2015.). It is an accessible reflection on hate as it appears in our politics as well as our pop culture (including lots of talk about The Night of the Hunter, a film I think you like?). It also includes a list of further resources that would make this book a great choice for a small group that wants to discuss hate, violence, goodness, and justice.
The core argument:
We don’t have to be terrible people to hate:
“[I]njustice and violence arise from a totality of conventional actions, beliefs, policies, and practices that degrade others, even when there is no conscious intention to do violence to an entire segment of the population. It doesn’t take monsters to inflict terrible injury.”
Because hate is built into our norms:
“What if sensational acts of hate violence, which media accounts often represent as aberrant, actually reflect existing community norms?”
In fact, our social structures and political frames relieve us of the responsibility for our hate:
“the intense animus described as hate is politically mobilized, and… hate as a political frame shapes societal views about violence and effective responses to it.”
So, how do we change those structures? How can art and film and fiction help us?
You can read an excerpt here.