Today is International Day for Countering Hate Speech. It's never just a comment. Rise above hate! #NoToHate
A rather new international day. But even more important, because of growing intolerance world wide. Hate speech dehumanises individuals, communities and peoples. Xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred, homophobia and transphobia, misogyny and other types of intolerance are increasing rapidly. And social media make hate speech easier. Typing on a tablet or smart phone you do not look another person in the eyes, so you do no see the pain your words may cause.
We communicate with language. It is easy to forget that words also can be used as weapons: words can hurt! They could even be deadly. For that reason alone, it is very important to be thoughtful and to opt for kind and inclusive language.
For example, if you come up with nicknames to refer to (groups of) people, you may already be on a slippery slope of dehumanisation. Do ask yourself: Why would you refer to a person with a different political opinion as ‘crazy’?
Thinking about this may raise fundamental questions, which we as a society should talk about. Why are you afraid of someone who has a different religion or believes? What makes you feel threatened by a person with a different gender or unexpected gender identity? Human variation is only natural. Our cultural interpretation of this variation is subject to change, as we look at history! This applies to involuntary variations, like gender identity and sexual orientation, and to personal choices, like religion and political ideology.
Fear of things that are different, fear of the unknown, and fear of change I can understand. However, the choice to hatred I do not understand, and the incitement to hatred is even incomprehensible to me.
My personal choice is to continue to commit myself, as a human being and a heathen, to connection and inclusivity. Among other things through The Wyrd Thing Podcast and the Flame of Frith.
Hate speech is no freedom of expression! It is abuse of that right!
Everyone can exercise their freedom of expression, without using hate speech.
Feel free to say whatever you want – in a compassionate way.
Please choose for empathy and compassion, to make this world a better place.