Why We Hate




Throughout history, hate and conflict have been part of the human experience. From horrific extremes such as the Holocaust or the Rwandan genocide, when hate has fueled mass destruction, to everyday incidents like playground bullying or malicious trolling on social media, hate shapes our lives in myriad ways. And while all humans have the capacity to hate, few understand what sparks it and transforms it into a destructive force.

Why We Hate explores one of humanity’s most primal and destructive emotions: hate. At the heart of this timely series is the notion that if people begin to understand their own minds, they can find ways to work against hate and keep it from spreading.

Drawing on cutting-edge journalism, deep historical investigations and ground-breaking research in psychology, biology, and neuroscience, Why We Hate traces the evolutionary basis of hatred and its powerful impact on individuals and societies throughout human history. The science behind the behavior is a powerful tool to help us understand what drives conflict, enabling people to have real, tough conversations about these issues and behaviors.

Along the way, Why We Hate reveals contemporary links to ancient and evolutionary behaviors and uses science as a basis for unlocking the truth about hatred and human nature.


1. Origins
Evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare searches for the origins of hate (Original airdate: October 13, 2019.)

2. Tribalism
Why do we divide the world into "us" and "them?" Cognitive scientist Laurie Santos examines tribalism, asking why love for our group can make us hate other groups—in politics, sports, even warfare—and how tribal thinking shapes our perceptions. (Original airdate: October 20, 2019)

3. Tools & Tactics
If we all have the capacity to hate, what does it take to awaken our worst tendencies? Journalist and author Jelani Cobb investigates how "hate tools" like propaganda, dehumanization, the Internet, symbols and more can incite, amplify and spread hatred. (October 27, 2019)

4. Extremism
What drives us to embrace hateful ideas? Extremism expert Sasha Havlicek explores the complicated factors that draw people toward ideologies that fuel hate and violence from white national to Islamic terrorism or toward de-radicalization. (Original airdate: October 27, 2019)

5. Crimes Against Humanity
What makes us take part in the worst extremes: genocide and crimes against humanity? International criminal lawyer Patricia Viseur Sellers investigates the perpetrators, from leaders to followers, as well as those who resist the power of hate. (Original airdate: November 3, 2019)

6. Hope
How can we resist succumbing to our worst impulses and awaken our better angels? Neuroscientist Emile Bruneau explores how we can use our capacity for critical thinking, our brain plasticity, education and cooperation to help combat hate. (Original airdate: November 3, 2019)

7. Behind the Series (Ep. 101)
The filmmakers behind the series discuss how their own personal stories inspired them to explore the root causes of human hate. (Original airdate: October 13, 2019)

8. Why We Hate: The Reckoning (Ep. 102)
A special two-hour event hosted by Tamron Hall featuring the Why We Hate documentary and a roundtable conversation about the documentary and the ongoing events surrounding George Floyd's death. (Original airdate: June 21, 2020)

Where to Watch