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How does hate speech make me feel?

Media Production

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Recap

Remind participants that hate speech and hateful content triggers strong emotional responses in people involved in the situation. Identifying these emotions and using strategies (meta-moments) to regulate our emotional state allows us to take appropriate action in a conflict situation; action that may diffuse the situation peacefully, or at the very least do nothing that would exacerbate it.

The Media analysis unit explored how selection and editing of imagery may evoke strong emotional responses that require regulation.


This Media production unit explores hate speech scenarios that would produce strong emotional responses, and gives participants the opportunity to act out and explore those scenarios - how people would feel, what they might do/how they might behave, and what steps they may take to regulate their emotional state or take control of a situation.

Prompt Questions

These questions are provided as examples to initiate and guide discussions around the topic in this focus area.

  • Can you think of any scenarios where someone may be hateful/prejudiced against someone else?
    • What characteristic might they target?
    • Why might they target this characteristic?
  • What might be the feelings of…
    • The target?
    • The person/people being hateful?
    • Bystanders/other people present?
  • What actions might the target take to manage the situation? (e.g. escape/confront/deescalate)
  • What actions might bystanders take to manage the situation? (e.g. leave/remain passive/confront/join in, etc.)
  • What strategies could someone involved use to regulate their emotional state?

Main Activity

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.”

Scenario role-play

Learners, working in groups, will act out a variety (or just one, depending on group size) of the scenarios portraying situations where hate speech may occur - both online and offline. Learners will be provided with:

  • Pen portraits for each character in the scenario.
  • The situation.
  • The conflict or issue.

Using role play and spotlight drama techniques learners will perform their scenario to the rest of the group.

Begin by reminding learners that hate speech is speech that targets individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of their protected characteristics (such as race or nationality, religious belief, disability, sexual orientation and transgender identity). Hate speech enables or encourages discrimination and violence against individuals with protected characteristics and certain forms of hate speech are illegal. Explain to learners that as part of efforts to address hate speech, they are going to be participating in an activity designed to encourage reflection on why people might use hate speech and how that makes those involved feel.

Brief the learners thoroughly on how to behave:

Explain that the scenarios they are going to use are based on real-world experiences of hate speech and that they are not intended to make the group feel uncomfortable. Highlight that the use of explicit, offensive or profane language is not permitted, however reassure them that they won’t get into trouble if one or two slip out. Be clear that there are some hate speech terms that are not acceptable, for example you might wish to allow “redneck”, but not “raghead”. You should be clear where the parameters lie, allow a few indiscretions, but have clear red lines which, if crossed will result in the scenario being stopped.

Let the learners know that if at any time they feel uncomfortable about the performances they can simply say a code word or phrase. This should be agreed by the learners and should be clearly unrelated to the scenarios. For example, “Cowabunga, dude!”.

Re-iterate that the purpose of these scenarios is not to make the learners uncomfortable, or bring back historical negative situations but to help them understand why people hate, and how to control your emotions when you encounter this.

You should also agree some broad ground rules before starting this activity such as:

  • Keep the conversation in the room - once the activity is over, it doesn’t get repeated outside the classroom.
  • It is OK to disagree, but out of character it is not OK to judge or ridicule.
  • When discussing or performing, listen to others.
  • There’s no such thing as a stupid question.
  • You are entitled to talk to a member of staff if something happens that makes you upset.

“Teachers tell us that the most effective ground rules are:  

  • written in pupils’ own words.  
  • visually displayed in the classroom.
  • physically signed by pupils in some cases (like an informal contract).
  • monitored by pupils themselves.
  • kept to consistently by the teacher as well as the pupils.”

(PSHE Association, 2015)

As the adult in the room you should use your professional judgement to decide when best to end the scenario. This may be controlled by time, behaviour or that the piece has reached a natural conclusion. Whatever stop point you decide upon should still provide an opportunity for the main points to come across:

  • Hate speech has a number of reasons and ways of starting.
  • All the participants will feel differently about the situation.
  • It’s important in a conflict situation to consider how to self-regulate out of the red towards another, less extreme feeling.

Note:

For Scenario 2 - unbeknownst to the “actors” in the scenario, distribute the audience cards to those who will be watching the performance. They have a big role in this scenario.

Instructions:

  • Divide the group up into smaller groups. All the scenarios work with a core group of four learners performing with others as an audience or in a participatory bystander role.
  • Allocate scenarios to each group. Explain that the scenarios are simple, and that each group will have basic information for each actor - it’s entirely up to the actors how elaborate to make the theatre piece. Encourage learners to get creative! Can they create some props?
  • The rest of the learners will form the audience. Ask them to divide themselves into groups. The size and number of groups is completely up to you. Explain to the audience that they will be given five minutes to answer a set of questions after each scenario, as a whole group.
  • After each scenario is acted out, ask the follow-up questions. If you don’t have access to a screen, you might want to print out the slide and hang it up somewhere. Work through the follow-up questions as a whole group.

Scenario 1 follow-up questions

(Select as many as is appropriate/time allows)

  • How well did Jade handle the situation?
  • How well did Jade handle her emotions? Relate back to MoodMeter - what colour was she?
  • Was there anything Jade could have done differently?
  • How well did Lily manage the situation?
  • Was she right to react in the way she did?
  • What feelings did Louise (the mum) express? Again, link back to MoodMeter.
  • Was Matt (the dad) right to leave? (only if he did, in fact, leave)
  • What could be a possible outcome if if Matt immediately goes online to post messages on social media?
  • What regulation strategies did any of the characters make use of? Also has a link to MoodMeter.
  • How would the scenario have changed if Jade/Lily/Louise/Matt reacted with the opposing emotion?

Scenario 2 follow-up questions

(Select as many as is appropriate/time allows)

  1. How well did Luke handle the situation?
  2. How well did Luke handle his emotions? Relate back to MoodMeter - what colour was he?
  3. Was there anything Luke could have done differently?
  4. How well did Alex manage the situation?
  5. Was he right to react in the way he did?
  6. How well did the friends manage the situation?
  7. Why did the friends behave this way? How were they feeling?
  8. (If relevant...) How did the audience intervene? Did this make the situation better or worse?
  9. What if Alex continued this attack online? What might he do/say, and what might happen as a result?
  10. How would the scenario have changed if Luke/Alex/the friends reacted with the opposing emotion?

Scenario 3 follow-up questions

(Select as many as is appropriate/time allows)

  1. How well did Anna handle the situation?
  2. How well did Anna handle her emotions? Relate back to MoodMeter - what colour was she?
  3. Was there anything Anna could have done differently?
  4. How well did the woman manage the situation?
  5. Was she right to react in the way she did?
  6. How well did the bus driver manage the situation? How was he feeling?
  7. Why did the men behave in the way they did? How were they feeling?
  8. (If relevant...) How did the other passengers react/intervene? Did this make the situation better or worse?
  9. Who do you think is behind the ongoing abuse (online and offline) against Anna? Why are they behaving in this way?
  10. How would the scenario have changed if Anna/the woman/the bus driver reacted with the opposing emotion?

Closing

Ask learners to consider what they can take away from performing/watching the different scenarios. These prompt questions may prove useful in guiding their reflection:

  • How did these performances make you feel?
  • Which regulation strategies helped in the scenarios?
  • Where there any approaches/strategies that made things worse? (e.g. increased conflict rather than resolved it)
  • How do you feel about the reactions of the audience/bystanders? What should/shouldn’t they do if they see an incident of hate online/offline?

Outcome Criteria

  • Understand the factors that motivate individual action within a hate speech scenario.
  • Regulate your own emotions when faced with hate speech.

Resources

Understand the factors that motivate individual action within a hate speech scenario. Regulate your own emotions when faced with hate speech.

Resource

Scenario 1

Exploring the feelings and actions of those involved in a hate speech scenario through drama.

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Scenario 2

Exploring the feelings and actions of those involved in a hate speech scenario through drama.

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Scenario 3

Exploring the feelings and actions of those involved in a hate speech scenario through drama.

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Rollespilsscenarie

Exploring the feelings and actions of those involved in a hate speech scenario through drama.

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Rollenspiel-Szenarien

Exploring the feelings and actions of those involved in a hate speech scenario through drama.

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Σενάριο, παιχνίδι ρόλων

Exploring the feelings and actions of those involved in a hate speech scenario through drama.

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