Combatting Hate and “Dangerous” Speech
The past few years, I have been one of the lead volunteer organizers for Nonprofit Tech Club Austin. The club affiliates with both NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network and NetSquared, a division of TechSoup. This means our “reach” is both national and global. Join us on Facebook. We only ask group members to approve the rules for civil dialogue. Programs occur monthly and are free of charge as a public service.
One benefit of our partnership with NetSquared specifically is we learn of 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 was living under the illusion that 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 State Capitol grounds, including the Tejano and African American History installations. Both are grand statements of appreciation.
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.
The following individuals and organizations are working to identify, monitor and to develop ways to combat dangerous rhetoric around the world. Visit them online and support them today!
Achol Mach Jok, Specialist | PeaceTech Lab (Africa)
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.
Timothy Quinn, Chief Technology Officer | Hatebase
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.
Christopher Tuckwood, Principal | Hatebase
Filip Stojanovski, Program Coordinator | Metamorphosis Foundation
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.
The IT industry is constantly on the rise with new solutions and innovations, whereby the needs of changes in the operation also arise. We test and evaluate opportunities every day, working with new partners to provide the highest quality services.
- 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 Associates 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.
- 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.
- Stomp Out Bullying has discussed hate speech in, “What We Can Do About Hate Speech” (April 22, 2019). “Currently, the U.S. has no concrete law that addresses or prevents hate speech. Sometimes the law may get involved if the hate speech is perceived as a genuine threat to harm, but most of the time there’s not a lot anyone can do legally. However, just because it isn’t technically considered a crime in the U.S., that doesn’t mean that hate speech doesn’t influence society.”
- 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!
- 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.