By Margaret Bagnell,
Ellin Youse and Chrissy Wesney
An important documentary made a return to campus to revisit an important issue – hate.
Nov. 3, students attended a viewing of the documentary “The Anatomy of Hate: A Dialogue to Hope,” which was sponsored by PRIDE and the Women’s House.
In 2008 the director, Mike Ramsdell, began his journey to explore hate.
The final result of his six years of traveling was a documentary that goes inside multiple hate groups and explores what drives their protests and hatred.
The documentary covers topics such as white supremacy, Christian fundamentalism with an anti-gay platform, Muslim extremism, Israeli settlers and the U.S. in Iraq.
Ramsdell put together all of the footage from his travels in accordance with various academic experts to show that hate is triggered by the human species out of fear.
Compiled with principles of psychology and neuroscience, the documentary gave a well-rounded look at the origins and specifics of hate.
Junior Anthony Peddle, president of PRIDE, was one of the students that helped organize bringing the film back to campus.
“(The documentary) was here on campus in spring 2010. They wanted to come back to OWU this fall and present the newest student body of OWU with ‘Anatomy,’ to educate more and more people,” said Peddle.
PRIDE also helped sponsor the documentary to promote their organization’s principles.
“The executive board of PRIDE this year decided our main goal was to educate our campus, so that we weren’t known as the Alphabet Soup Group but rather a representation of the LGBTIQA community, and for all students and faculty to know what these letters represent … who these letters represent,” said Peddle.
Junior Jenna Culina and sophomore Meredith Harrison were also involved heavily in organizing the viewing as their house project for the Women’s House, and as executive board members of PRIDE.
Culina said she brought the movie to campus to help raise awareness of hate. She said she hoped that the film might change the way of thinking for a least one person.
“I think it was extremely moving, I think it was something that this campus needed because we can be very divided, even though we see ourselves as a liberal campus. It’s easy for us to separate and become two distant entities. And in lieu of some things that have happened on campus lately, some hate acts, I think this is what we needed.”
Culina said she was disappointed about the great difference in turnout from the previous viewing.
“I was a little disappointed in the turnout but I was comparing it to the huge amount of viewers that came to the showing in 2009, due to the threat of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket our showing of the documentary and which sparked a campus-wide Love Day, a peaceful rally against the church,” she said.
She explained the previous showing had hundreds of people whereas this one did not, but that the director felt they had a great turnout and that she was proud of the Ohio Wesleyan community for showing up.
After the viewing, the director held a question and answer session with the audience, wherein he thanked everyone for their attendance.
“You all came together on a night when I’m sure you have better things to do. But you came to watch a film about hate. Right there, that shows a tremendous amount,” Ramsdell said.
“The question’s not how you get involved. The question is when you do it and what you get involved with, because there has never been a time, and this is what gives me hope every single day, when the world has been more connected or more capable of being connected.”
Culina said that the documentary significantly changed the way she views the world.
“The documentary, as cheesy as it sounds, changed my perception completely. I was a tried and true ‘people hater.’ I wanted to be holed up in a museum as my work for the rest of my life so I would never have to deal with human kind,” Culina said.
“So cynical, but anyway, this film put me in a whole different mindset. The documentary was amazing and quite literally changed my perception of humankind, so I think that bold of a statement definitely gives one the knowledge of how important ‘Anatomy of Hate: A Dialogue to Hope’ really was,” she said.