OPINION

Is it OK to hate someone because of their relatives?

PREJUDICE: Hating someone purely because of who they happen to be related to is not as unusual as you might think.
PREJUDICE: Hating someone purely because of who they happen to be related to is not as unusual as you might think.

An ageing boss called his favourite worker into his office and closed the door. The boss began to speak with great pride. "Henry, you've been working with this company for only six months, and yet though you started in the mailroom, within a week you were promoted to a sales position.

"Then, after only a month in this position, although there were others who had worked in this position for over 20 years, it was you I decided to promote to district manager of our sales department.

"Then, to everyone's shock, just three short months later, you were promoted to vice-chairman.

"Now that I am retiring at the end of the year, after long and careful thought, I've decided that on my retirement, I want you to have my job. Yes, Henry, I want you to take over the company!"

Henry looked at the old boss and said: "Thanks mate."

The elderly boss was shocked. "Thanks mate'? That's it? That's all you've got to say?

"I overlook every other person in this company to make you my successor, and all you can say in your gratitude is 'thanks mate'?"

Henry rolls his eyes and replies: "OK then. Thanks Dad."

You might think the booing of the United States' first lady, Melania Trump, last week has nothing to do with you here in Australia. But stay with me.

As Mrs Trump spoke about opioid abuse in Baltimore, she was met with boos the moment she stepped onstage from a crowd made up mostly of schoolchildren.

This rude audience also spoke throughout her speech.

Now, juxtapose this with the release of former US first lady Michelle Obama's memoir Becoming in November 2018. It became the second best-selling US debut for any book last year, second only to Bob Woodward's Fear: Trump in the White House.

Publisher Penguin Random House has signed Mr and Mrs Obama to a joint-book deal reported to be worth $65 million. Although Mr Obama has been out of office for almost three years, even their daughters' fashions still garner more attention from the mainstream media than the current first lady does.

We're all able to see nepotism for the discrimination that it is. But we're not always able to see similar vice in ourselves, where we dislike or even hate someone because they are related to someone we don't like.

Is Mrs Trump unattractive? It appears even in 2019 that not only is it "not what you know, but who you know", but also who you love and who you hate.

These discriminations above are not nepotism, but they're similar.

We're all able to see nepotism for the discrimination that it is.

But we're not always able to see similar vice in ourselves, where we dislike or even hate someone because they are related to someone we don't like.

If we are comfortable with this sort of injustice, then, carried to its logical conclusion, we would end up hating everyone, even ourselves, given that we're all related to each other somehow.

In the legend of Romeo and Juliet or the true story of the Hatfields and McCoys, we are reminded how senseless and tragic it is to hate people simply because of which family they come from.

Such stories are not as far from our Australian way of life as you might think.

Of the massive number of divorces each year in Australia, a massive number of them must be blamed - at least in part - on the spouses' family and in-laws and their inability to get on and to forgive.

These inter-family squabbles have ruined marriages and damaged lives, even the lives of children.

It's been said in humour that the difference between in-laws and outlaws is that outlaws are wanted. In real life, this thinking as brought results that are not so funny.

As Christmas is coming, what if you decided now that you are not going to fight or even speak badly about your in-laws this Christmas?

Nepotism's origin isn't all bad - it's that part in our heart that makes us love our kids, parents, siblings, and grandparents and even ourselves unconditionally. You have it in you. We all have it.

Could you, maybe then this Christmas, excuse it a little in others?

Twitter: @fatherbrendanelee