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Defusing Hate

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 worked with our former Genocide Prevention Fellow Rachel Brown to produce Defusing Hate: A Strategic Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech. Informed by history and drawing from a range of disciplines—including political science, communications, marketing, and 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.

  • Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech

    This reference book provides an overview of dangerous speech and explores how those seeking to prevent violence can strategically preempt and counter the influence of dangerous speech.

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  • Workbook 1: Understand Context and Conflict

    Gather insights about the environment you’re working in and identify the situations you seek to prevent. 

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  • Workbook 2: Select and Guide Audiences

    Understand how the people you want to reach behave so you can set clear goals about how you want to change their behavior over time. 

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  • Workbook 3: Design Medium, Speakers, and Message Content

    Select speakers and mediums, design an overall strategy, and develop message content to influence your target audiences. 

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