The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:
“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”
Matching emotions to hate speech
Xorg has just arrived from the planet Xenovia and has just created a new social media account. After introducing himself and posting a profile picture, he received a lot of messages some of which have made him quite upset. This is what he received:
- Pleased to meet you, glad you made the journey.
- You’ve come here with your three eyes and taken our jobs.
- OMG! You’re green, that’s GROSS.
- You’re here but you can’t even speak our language, make an effort.
- Why don’t you stick to your own kind?
- Are your kids as ugly as you?
- **** off back to where you came from!
- It’s aliens like you that are ruining our country.
- I’m gonna cum round your house and ruin you.
- I hope you get ill, and die.
- I’m gonna cum round ur house, tie you up and beat you till you die.
- Why do Xenovians always come to our country - Go Home!
- Xenovians are dogs.
- Xorg go home!
- How many aliens does it take to change a lightbulb? None, they just ***** glow.
- **** you, you ***** ****** ****** *****
- I hate all Xenovians.
- Your mum stinks, bet she eats slime for breakfast.
- I thought the government prevents you guys from coming here.
- Welcome Xorg, So when are you leaving?
- Oh it’s lovely to see people like you really trying to be one of us...
- You’re not going anywhere near my daughter, or my son…
- Will you be my friend?
- We love Xenovians!
- You are the best thing that has ever happened to the human race!
These may look humorous, but take some time to put yourself in Xorg’s position:
- What would you do?
- How would you feel?
- How might you respond?
- Who would you go to?
Use the slides to help you with this activity.
Divide the group of young people into pairs/small groups and give each group a quadrant and the statement bank.
Using the quadrant from the warm-up activity, ask participants to place each statement in the quadrant to match with what you think its emotional characteristics are.
For example: I hate all Xenovians might be medium energy negative (red) while Will you be my friend? could be low energy positive (green).
Once completed, allow each pair the opportunity to share and discuss thoughts with the wider group and reflect.
Next use the provided emotion word bank to attach a feeling to each statement in the quadrant.
Ask groups to feedback on their quadrants; is there any agreement across the groups as to which emotions some of the statements evoked?
Ask groups to explain the features of that content that evoked stronger emotions (e.g. it targeted a protected characteristic group, it intended to cause offense, it threatened physical violence, and so on).