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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 4: Hate Speech and the Internet 63


Chapter 4 Hate Speech and the Internet The Internet has changed the way people live their lives. This change has of- ten been for the good, and it has often been for the bad. For example, in re- cent years, politicians have made revolutionary use of the Internet to raise funds, network supporters, and communicate with their constituents. Much has also been written about the growth of advertising on the Internet (Schu- mann & Thorson, 2007). Unfortunately, the Internet also has played a role in the radicalization of individuals in the hate movement. The Internet has become the lifeblood of the organized hate movement. A Web Site associated with hate groups and hate issues first appeared in March 1995. That Web Site was created by Don Black, the leader of Storm- front. Black also introduced Web Pages devoted to the recruitment of chil- dren. His young son, Derek, produced and edited a section of the Stormfront Web Page that adapted Black’s racist message to the interests and reading and cognitive abilities of children. In the past, many of the individuals and hate groups operated in relative isolation from one another. When individuals did gather, they were required to travel, often long distances, to meet at some physical compound or loca- tion. Now, for the cost of a phone line, inexpensive computer, and software, individual White Supremacists are able to go to the Internet and find a poten- tially anonymous but congenial environment where they can openly express many of their beliefs...

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