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. We work to find the best ways to do this – while protecting freedom of expression.
This brand-new introductory guide develops the concept of Dangerous Speech, illustrates why it’s useful for preventing violence, and explains how to determine which messages are indeed dangerous. We discuss how digital and social media allow Dangerous Speech to spread and threaten peace, and we conclude with methods for intervening to decrease the risk of violence.
The winner of Brazil's 2018 presidential election has a long history of Dangerous Speech, as well as calls to violence against black and indigenous people, LGBTQ people, and women.
Myanmar's genocide of Rohingya Muslims was shaped by uniquely modern forces, like social media and rising ultra-nationalism. But if we learn from the factors which fueled this 21st-century atrocity, we can better predict and prevent the next ones.