“When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow down or do obeisance to him, Haman was infuriated. But he thought it beneath him to lay hands on Mordecai alone. So, having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus.” (Esther 3:4-6)
Haman feels offended by one man, but projects that anger onto the entire Jewish population. It is striking how quickly hatred of one person can extend to hatred of a group, and even confuse distinctions between groups. After the 9/11 attacks, for instance, hate crimes increased against anyone who “fit the description” of what many white Americans conceive of Muslims. Though many Muslim Americans were quick to assert that the terrorists did not represent them, anger was projected on all Muslims and those mistaken as Muslims.