Hater Blockers Block Out More Then The Sun
By Sergio Candido
In the 1980s Corey Hart famously crooned about wearing his “sunglasses at night”. An alarming number of Miami Dade College students seem to be taking his advice one step further by wearing their sunglasses inside classrooms, an act that many find strange and disturbing.
But the reasons for this action have nothing to do with fashion; they go from media brainwashing to a much darker and deeper place in the human psyche.
The trend of wearing dark shades, in the literal sense, has been promoted by several artists in the music industry including, Kanye West, Jay-Z and T.I.
But what are sunglasses for other than to block sunlight? Many people are using them to “block haters.”
According to the Urban Dictionary, a Web-based dictionary of slang words and phrases, hater blockers refers to “a very large pair of dark sunglasses used to block out the hate from anybody who is jealous of you in this world.”
The term has penetrated so much into popular culture that Miami Rapper Acafool released a song in 2006 titled Hata Blockas, with lyrics such as: “walk up in the club watch everybody stare, put the blockers on ain’t nobody there.” The lyrics conveyed the message that when you put your sunglasses on, all of your haters will disappear from your sight.
"I believe it’s stupid, they are just trying to look and act cool,” said Lisa Alexander, 21, a political science major.
As frivolous as it may seem, MDC students are embracing this practice and “blocking” their peers. Michael Lenaghan, professor of social sciences, believes there is a behavioral pattern among these students.
“There are at least nine students in eight of my classes who wear sunglasses. All of them tend to sit in the back rows and rarely engage in class discussions,” Lenaghan said. “Females appear to be particularly passive-aggressive.”
Others use it as a defense mechanism.
“They boast up your self-esteem. When I wear them I feel flawless,” said Stevre Losse, 22, a criminal justice major, who mainly uses his hater blockers when he goes to clubs.
Janice Mast, a professor of psychology, points out that the reasons for blocking communication in this manner can be social, emotional and physical.
“It depends on the person. Someone can be giving the finger to the world, others crying for help,” Mast said. “One of my students came to class with her sunglasses on, later I found out that she was suffering from severe depression.”
It seems justifiable for an emotionally unstable person to try to block communication with others. Carl Rogers, famous psychologist, in his article Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation wrote that “The mentally maladjusted person, the ‘neurotic’, is in difficulty first, because communication within himself has broken down, and second because, as a result of this, his communication with others has been damaged.”
Professor Mast later reflected on her personal experience: “I saw that student wearing the sunglasses in the class but I didn’t know what she was feeling. One makes assumptions by nonverbal actions when in reality the message can be completely different.”