Why this theme?
Online hate speech can take many forms and can be expressed on a variety of platforms. Not only do young people need to be able to recognise hate speech, they also need to understand what options are open to them in how to respond to this content too. This begins to move the learners away from analysing their own personal understanding and emotional responses and how to begin to change group situations where hate speech is present. The use of humour and reporting mechanisms are two examples of reactions young people can take independently to reduce the prevalence of hate content.
The recognition of images, words and expressions, and symbols which explicitly or implicitly express racism or discrimination in our everyday social life, professional life, as well as in the media, is an important step towards combating online hate speech. Awareness, education, informative and cultural campaigns should be organised (McGonagle T, 2016; Iszak, 2015) and media literacy should be promoted (Iszak, 2015), in order for the young people to be able to recognise, reject and react to messages of hatred through the internet. “Citizenship education” encompasses the skills to spot hate speech, as well as the strength and knowledge to counteract such messages of hatred (UNESCO, 2015). Society and civil society organisations also have a crucial role in the prevention of online hate speech by developing counter-actions and counter-speech, promoting non-discrimination, tolerance, and raise awareness towards the phenomenon through activities and campaigns (Perry and Olsson, 2009; Iszak 2015).
These questions are provided as examples to initiate and guide discussions around the topics in this theme.
- Do you encounter hate speech within your own social groups online?
- What form does any hate speech take? Video/image/meme?
- What options do you have available to you that enable you to counteract hate speech?
- Can you think of any situations (on/offline) where something was misunderstood that was not intended that way?
- How was the misunderstanding resolved? Can this be applied to on/offline situations?