Americans believe speech can lead to violence. How can we counter it?

This week, the Pew Research Center released a report showing that 78% of Americans (and a majority within both parties) believe aggressive language from politicians directed at a group makes violence against that group more likely. We share this concern, and that’s why we research methods for identifying and countering Dangerous Speech – any form of expression that can increase the risk that its audience will condone or participate in violence against members of another group.

In response to Pew’s findings, Lauren Aratani of the Guardian newspaper turned to Susan Benesch, our executive director, for her insights. In the article, Aratani describes Dangerous Speech and quotes Susan as she gives examples of it from President Trump’s own language. Susan also makes the point that the most effective method of reducing Dangerous Speech is by shifting social norms, but that will only happen, she argues, when people begin calling out Dangerous Speech on their own sides.

You can read the Guardian article here.

And the Pew report here.