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The Communication of Hate


Michael Waltman and John Haas

The book was awarded the 2011 NCA Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression.
This book sets out to explore how hate comes alive in language and actions by examining the nature and persuasive functions of hate in American society. Hate speech may be used for many purposes and have different intended consequences. It may be directed to intimidate an out-group, or to influence the behavior of in-group members. But how does this language function? What does it accomplish? The answers to these questions are addressed by an examination of the communicative messages produced by those with hateful minds. Beginning with an examination of the organized hate movement, the book provides a critique of racist discourse used to recruit and socialize new members, construct enemies, promote valued identities, and encourage ethnoviolence. The book also examines the strategic manipulation of hatred in our everyday lives by politicians, political operatives, and media personalities. Providing a comprehensive overview of hate speech, the book ends by describing the desirable features of an anti-hate discourse that promotes respect for social differences.


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Chapter 3: Conceptual Properties of Hate-Motivated Speech 33


Chapter 3 Conceptual Properties of Hate-Motivated Speech I hate all Frenchmen without distinction, in the name of God and of my people, I teach this hatred to my son. I teach it to the sons of my people.… I shall work all my life that the con- tempt and hatred for this people strike the deepest roots in German hearts. Ernest Arndt, 1802 (Chirot & McCauley, 2006, p. 85) In this chapter we discuss the nature of hate speech and provide a range of examples of this unique form of discourse. We have noted that a widely ac- cepted definition of hate is extreme negative feelings and beliefs held about a group (or individual representative of that group) because of their race, eth- nicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation (Perry, 2001). It is important to remember what distinguishes hatred from anger: Anger is an emotion that (a) one might have for an individual (not a larger social group), (b) does not pre- vent one from having sympathy for the objects of one’s anger, (c) is usually the result of personal insult or injury, and (d) is likely to promote impetuous action (Olson, 2002; Sokolon, 2006; R. K. Whillock, 1995). Because hatred is an emotion that one feels for a social group, hatred, unlike anger, need not be the result of personal injury or insult and is more likely to prompt delib- erative action. Unlike anger, the hateful mind is not capable of sympathy but hopes for evil to befall the hated...

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