"HATE SPEECH ONLINE" WORKSHOP
At the beginning of June, we visited our high school on project days in Marindol. Gymnasium students were eager to learn some new things about our society and had no idea what we had prepared for them.
We started with an introduction of the Brave New You project, defined what hate speech is and what stereotypes they know. As we wanted our youngster to truly understand the anguish of discriminated people, we have begun with a "Take a step forward" activity through which youngsters realised they know nothing or very little about the lives of marginalised individuals. As the activity proceeded they have learned that many people don't have the same opportunities and basic human rights as they do in real life. At the evaluation of the workshop, we talked about how they felt when they were behind in the game, what rights were violated and how unfair it was. We concluded that the biggest gamble in this world is where and to whom you are born.
In the second part of the workshop, we divided youngsters into smaller groups where they were recognising hate speech and figured out some possible solutions to alleviate this kind of behaviour. We presented the hate pyramid that starts on the personal level with stereotypes, unkind remarks and hate speech that can escalate to ridiculing, bullying and social avoiding. Those two levels are key to stopping the violence as it is not socially acceptable yet. And it never is. The pyramid then advances to a collective level where hate is expressed through different forms of discrimination such as economic, political, social and educational discrimination. This kind of discriminations lead to violence and the pyramid ends with the systematic and intentional killing of one particular ethnic group.
The damned process of hating cleared a lot of things for the youngsters. We found some examples going on in the world for each and every category and they were disappointed to see how much hate is going on every day.
In the last part of the workshop, we looked closely into hate speech online. We recognised that it is reckless behaviour that hides behind anonymity, which one of the key factors for its reoccurrence of hate speech because it gives a false feeling of safety and there are no real consequences for this kind of behaviour. We asked youngsters to find some counterarguments to hate speech when encountered on social media. They have listed that you should stand on the side of the victim and point out that certain comment is hate speech and try to make the alternative argument because even if people don't comment a lot, they still read the comment section. Youngsters would like to counter hate speech with a respectful attitude and equal treatment of marginalised individuals. They have learned that reporting contentious post once is not enough as the algorithm checks the first time and the second time the post or person is checked by an expert.