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Dealing with Hate Speech

This article explains to the youth the concept of hate speech, why people are spreading it, and it provides advice that you can follow to avoid being a victim of it.

What is Hate Speech?   

Hate speech is a form of communication where the person writing the content has the intention of attacking you on the basis of gender, religion, race, and/or disability. The most common types of hate speech on the Internet are from unknown sources. The person sending the hateful comment or content will typically create a fake account (troll) and use it to protect themselves from being identified. While they are comfortably sending all of the messages, you, on the other hand, are receiving them and being affected negatively.  

Although in most cases, people use troll accounts to send messages, in some cases, they are sent from a real profile which you might be familiar with. Thus any message that is created to harm you, whether it is valid or not, can be defined as hate speech. 


Why do people post hate speech online? What is the best way that you can respond to it? 

Being the target of online hate speech can be extremely painful. A very important part of evaluating the situation is understanding that when a person creates any kind of hate speech, it is automatically a sign of weakness on their part. Similar to any kind of bullying, people who intentionally hurt others, do so because they are unable to deal with their insecurities and weaknesses and as a result try to transfer it on others. Which is why in most cases, hate speech is based on false facts and inaccurate information. Imagine a person who is unable to be strong so instead, they create a false strength. It is sad that in many cases people don’t reach out until the thread has gone too far and what could have been stopped at the beginning has become viral and more difficult to control. 

There are numerous reasons as to why a person creates hate speech, here are a few: 

  • Unable to deal with their own insecurities  
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Conditioned by surrounding that aggression defines strength 
  • Seeking attention 
  • Diversion of emotions where some people are unable to deal with their own negative emotions and resort to diverting the negativity on others 
  • Victims of hate speech, so to protect themselves, they might create hate speech to empower themselves after falling victim to hate speech themselves 

It takes thirty seconds for a post to go viral online. The moment you receive the message, you have automatically become the target of hate speech and should immediately recognize it. In most cases, you might feel you prefer not to tell anyone, as you might either feel that you are somehow responsible for the other person’s behaviour or in some cases be concerned that if you talk, it might have a negative effect on you. Reaching out is the most vital step to putting a stop to any kind of hatred. The moment you face any kind of hate or witness it, you are automatically responsible for doing something about it. While it may seem that the Internet has become a place for ongoing negativity, it is still very much a safe place. Reporting the troll account is extremely important to help save others from facing a similar situation.  


How do I make sure I don’t fall victim for hate speech?   

Anytime we face anything that is negative, we tend to personalize it and, in some cases, allow it to control us. No matter what the situation, you must never allow yourself to believe what is not true or relevant. One of the best ways and strategies to overcome any situation is to take control of the situation. Therefore, separating yourself from the incident and creating distance can be a useful way to help you understand more of what is really happening. Taking care of yourself and not carrying the weight alone is extremely important as well. Create the following checklist which helps you deal with any situation that you might face:

REPORT-BLOCK-DON’T SHARE-REACH OUT! Follow the steps and move on knowing that you have taken care of the situation. Separate yourself fully from the incident and take charge of the situation.  

Whether you have been directly affected by hate speech or not, being an advocate and helping to put an end to any kind of negative online behaviour will result in self-empowerment.    

When we help others and empathize with them, we immediately feel a sense of satisfaction. By taking a stand when you happen to see any kind of negative online behaviour, the results will surely be positive as it has been found that doing good, in ways big or small, not only feels good but also gives you a sense of purpose which will manifest in vigorous mental health.  


How do I make sure I do not become a hater myself? 

During any sort of situation that you might find yourself in, that may or may not trigger negative thoughts, it is always important to ask yourself what you would like the end result to be. When you face any kind of hatred online, you have the right to decide what you want to do with the situation. Alternatively, if you learn to recognize your emotions and control your thoughts in order to avoid losing control of the situation, you will ultimately reach a solution in which you decided on. If you are ever facing any kind of online negative behaviour, it is extremely important for you to always keep in mind that your online reputation is important, and you are the only person in control of it. By allowing the hater to trigger a negative response, you are willingly giving them the ability to predict others' perception of you. Attempt to master the art of not allowing people to trigger your negative reaction, instead, always stay in control and decide on the action yourself. 

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