Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech
First edition, 2016
Genocide and mass atrocities are commonly preceded and accompanied by “dangerous speech”—hate speech that has the potential to influence people to accept, condone, or commit violence against targeted groups. Dangerous speech is consequently considered both a warning sign and an instrument of group-targeted violence. Counteracting its dissemination provides us with one avenue for preventing this type of violence from occurring.
The Museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide has worked with fellow Rachel Brown to produce Defusing Hate: A Strategic Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech. Informed by history and drawing from a range of disciplines—from political science to communications, from marketing to neuropsychology—the guide offers activists, religious and civil society leaders, and their supporters the strategies and tools they need to prevent dangerous speech from influencing audiences.
The guide is organized into a reference book and three workbooks, which are designed for use in workshops or with small groups.
About the Author
Rachel Brown was a Simon-Skjodt Center Genocide Prevention Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2014. She used her fellowship to conceptualize and author the Defusing Hate guide and workbooks, which she now draws from to provide technical support to organizations and assess new opportunities for pilot projects.
Prior to her fellowship, Rachel was the CEO of Sisi ni Amani-Kenya, a Kenyan NGO she founded to pioneer new strategies for building local capacity in peace-building and civic engagement, most notably through the creation of a text-messaging model and platform to support local community efforts. For this work, she was recognized as a 2012 PopTech Social Innovation Fellow (external link). She has also worked as a tenant organizer in Boston, Massachusetts, and as a consultant with organizations using technology for social impact, including Ushahidi, Internews, and Phandeeyar. She has a BA in international relations with a focus on global conflict cooperation and justice from Tufts University, where she conducted international research on the relationships between power structures, corruption, violence, and poverty.