Combatting Hate and “Dangerous” Speech
For the past few years, I was the lead volunteer organizer for Nonprofit Tech Club Austin, part of TechSoup Connect (2015-2021). The club affiliates with NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, TechSoup, and locally, startup incubator Capital Factory. This means our “reach” has local, national and global.
One benefit of our partnership with TechSoup specifically is we learn about inspiring new ideas from other tech club chapters, as well as from TechSoup and its divisions like Caravan Studios and the Public Good App House. A 2019 webinar on hate speech and those monitoring it globally was particularly eye opening. This post shares information presented during that program as well as additional discussions and resources I have since discovered.
This post was written in 2019 and it has become one of my most-read. I continue to update it as more information becomes available. One new discovery is the Dangerous Speech Project. They sum the problem up well:
“People don’t commit violence against other groups – or even condone it – spontaneously. First they must be taught to see other people as pests, vermin, aliens, or threats. Malicious leaders often use the same types of rhetoric to do this, in myriad cultures, languages, countries, and historical periods. We call this Dangerous Speech. Violence might be prevented by making it less abundant or less convincing.
Only a few years ago, I believed the United States was more egalitarian and tolerant than ever. I did not see racism in Texas, and mostly witnessed an ever-growing appreciation for differences in terms of culture and ethnicity. In fact, since returning to Austin in 2013, I was impressed by the new monuments on the Texas State Capitol grounds, including the stately Tejano and African American History installations. They are well worth a visit.
But in 2016, an eruption of hateful speech at the national level occurred from which I am still reeling. It was like a long dormant volcano had erupted, causing an international avalanche of hateful speech and behavior. This led me to seek solutions about how to combat hate in the context of the nonprofit sector.
I was encouraged to learn the Council of Foundations launched a program in 2020 aimed at alleviating hateful behavior (and funding). “In late 2020, the Council on Foundations (the Council) launched the Values-Aligned Philanthropy project to continue to build on their previous efforts within the philanthropic sector to respond to growing concern about the issue of funding hate and extremism.” Follow the link above to read more and download a recent report.
The United Sates Department of Justice has a relatively new webpage that includes a link, “Get Help Now.” Visit the website often for periodic updates about hate, and actions taken to deal with hateful actions and hate crimes. Keep up the good work!
The following are also working to identify, monitor and to develop ways to combat dangerous rhetoric around the world. Visit them online and support their work.
We believe everyone has the power of peacetech so we leverage low-cost, easy-to-use tech and local partnerships to put the right tools in the hands of the people best positioned to make a difference: activists, peacebuilders, and NGOs in some of the most violent places on earth.
Hatebase is a software platform built to help organizations and online communities detect, monitor and quarantine hate speech. Our algorithms analyze public conversations using a broad vocabulary based on nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and class, with data across 80+ languages and 200+ countries.
The Metamorphosis Foundation offers IT solutions, developed according to the needs of the clients or as part of the project. At the same time, we offer favorable and quality services for development, adaptation, localization and updating of web content.
- ADL: Fighting Hate for Good. To learn more about the work of the Anti-Defamation League to combat hate, follow the link. “ADL’s dual mission includes a mandate to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Hate and violence have a chilling effect on society. In ADL’s tradition of calling out what divides us and shining a light on what can unite people, we work with diverse communities and with law enforcement to identify hate and then to mobilize people to work vigorously against it.”
- ALA: American Library Association has a helpful page on its website, “Hate Speech and Hate Crime.” It outlines important definitions and discusses legal issues.
- Asian Americans have seen a rise in hateful behavior during COVID-19. Check out AAPI and report hateful behavior online. This was formed by the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University. You might also like to read an article by Abdi Mohamad for NextAvenue, “What Could Reduce Rising Hate Crimes Against Asian American Elders” (March 5, 2021). Also, Amna Nawaz and Vignesh Ramachandran discuss for PBS News Hour, “How to address the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes” (March 4, 2021).
- Black Enterprise, “Meet the Founder Whose App Helps Track Racial Incidents and Find Missing Black People” (October 19, 2021).
- Bullying is an act of hate and we need to be mindful and combat it. From Hannah Natanson, John Woodrow Cox and Peter Stein of the Washington Post, “Trump’s words, bullied kids, scarred schools: The president’s rhetoric has changed the way hundreds of children are harassed in American classrooms” (February 13, 2020).
- TechSoup Global hosts Caravan Studios. Public Good Tech to Combat Hate Speech Pinterest board, where Caravan Studios is curating tech solutions and discussions on combating hate speech. They note, “we encourage you to include your own links to relevant resources, important data sets, lexicons, and reports by adding them into the editable Webinar Resources doc.”
- The United Nations shared a synopsis of its findings in, “UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech” (May 2019). That was part of a discussion about genocide. “Stopping Hate Speech” is a brief but insightful video (below) about how hate crimes follow hate speech, “Words kill.” To follow the UN News page on Hate Speech, follow the link.
- Take Back The Tech provides some excellent ideas in, “Hate speech: strategies” (no date).
- Western States Center, “Confronting White Nationalism in Schools Toolkit” (referenced by PBS on November 19, 2019, see video below).
- Jeff Merkley, United States Senator for Oregon (June 5, 2020), “Merkley Announces Legislation for National Policy Misconduct Database.” We will be watching to see if this becomes a reality and hateful action will be tracked as closely as hate speech.
Positive Thinking Support
There are more helpful websites and apps than the below online, but I wanted to point out a few that I like. You might also enjoy reading about resources I share on, “Dealing With Stress.”
- Achieving Positive Thinking Worldwide is a California-based nonprofit that got in touch with me a few years ago via Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog. Follow Yvette L. Kelley on social media for constant positive messages.
- Calm app, “We’re a small and mighty team passionate about mental fitness, relaxation and sleep.”
- Happify seeks to instill happiness. “… The brain we’re born with can be changed. Technically speaking, they call that neuroplasticity; we can change it by adopting new thought patterns, by training our brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.”
- MakeUseOf shares an article by Saikat Basu, “Change Your Mind: 8 Really Inspirational Websites For Your Days & Life” (August 23, 2013).
- Pozify is a social networking platform that rewards you for promoting and spreading positivity while solving the problem you can’t trust anything on the internet.
- Stop, Breathe & Think is an app that helps users practice mindful breathing to create space between thoughts, emotions and reactions.