The “Impact Hub. Social Up! Actions for Change” is a two-year pilot initiative that combines the online and the offline in activism against hate speech while at the same time reinforcing the toolbox of activists with social entrepreneurship skills, thus making their campaigns sustainable and independent from public funding.
How do we tackle Hate Speech?
The Internet is overflowing with hate speech. Thus, we need to find ways how to keep counteracting it. For us, the question became: how ca we inspire young Poles to take action against hate speech online?
In 2014 and 2016, the Center on Prejudice Studies of Warsaw University conducted research on hate speech in Poland and found some concerning conclusions. One example is that over the two year period, a significant amount of young Poles encountered hate speech against Jews while on the internet: an increased of 15.5% (from 58.7% in 2014 to 74.2% in 2016). However, Jews are not the primary targeted group in Poland. Regarding Muslims, young Poles encountered 24,5% points more hate speech online, an increase from 55,3% to 79,8% over 2 years. At the same time, there is no effective program in Poland to counteract hate speech online, especially since the government does not perceive these tendencies as harmful.
We need to make Internet a safer place especially for people with minority background and a place where the ideas of civic engagement will be promoted, liked and shared. The action needs to be taken now because the statistics shows it clearly.
Thus Humanity in Action Poland has initiated a new two-year pilot initiative entitled “Impact Hub. Social Up! Actions for Change” with which we address the key challenges of human rights education and empowerment to action. Our idea is simple: combining the online and the offline in activism against hate speech while at the same time reinforcing the toolbox of activists with social entrepreneurship skills, thus making their campaigns sustainable and independent from public funding.
The program aims to:
- raise awareness on hate speech of Polish teenagers by developing innovative interactive books promoting values of diversity and linking history & human rights education;
- engage Polish teenagers in a dialogue on hate speech by inviting YouTube influencers (role-models) to create videos and vlogs on the subject and by developing chat bots which will explain the subject to school goers in an engaging way;
- empowering Polish activists to be brave and bold in planning social campaigns by devising programs on human rights activism and social entrepreneurship so that the activists will be independent from public funds.
Origins of Hate
Hate Speech: What about the Psychology?
Dr. Michał Bilewicz from the Center for Research on Prejudice at the University of Warsaw discusses how prejudices and stereotypes allow for social distance between groups to widen, allowing for a psychological distance to hate.
Interview with Professor Zdzisław Mach
Professor Zdzisław Mach discusses how the relatively small contact of ethnic Poles with socio-cultural differences is linked to both the historical homogenization of Poland after World War II and the increase in modern expressions of hate speech.
A Three-Part Project to Meet the Challenges
The new initiative is, in a nutshell, a platform for young people to develop sustainable civic actions, to connect social entrepreneurship to democratic values as well as to raise awareness and strengthen the trend of reacting to hate speech/hate crimes instances. Drawing upon the diagnosis of the current situation in Poland, as well as Humanity in Action Poland’s expertise, the project focuses on the following components: the Knowledge Hub, Trendsetting Hub, and the Social Actions Hub, described in more detail below. All the three hub pillars are interconnected and complement each other.