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Countering hate speech through arts and arts education: Addressing intersections and policy implications

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Abstract

Hate speech has become a growing topic of discussion and debate on a global scale, especially as advances in the internet transform communication on many levels. Among scholars, hate speech has been defined as any form of expression - for example by means of speech, images, videos, or online activity - that has the capacity to increase hatred against a person or people because of a characteristic they share, or a group to which they belong. In order to maintain the integrity of a functioning democracy, it is important to identify the best balance between allowing freedom of expression and protecting other human rights by countering hate speech. In addition to strengthening the legal framework to address the cases when hate speech can be considered criminal, and developing automated monitoring of online systems to prevent the spreading of cyberhate, counter narratives can be utilised by the targets of hate speech and their communities to create campaigns against hate speech. The employment of artists' expression and arts education have great potential for creating different counter narratives to challenge one-sided narratives and hate speakers' simplified generalisations. Because hate speech is not an easy issue to address in schools, clear research evidence, concrete guidelines, and practical examples can help teachers to contribute, along with their students, in combating it. A great body of evidence supporting the beneficial social impacts of the arts and culture fields is already available, but much more research, backed by sufficient resources, is needed to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of intervention strategies in countering hate speech through arts education.
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This is an author-produced PDF of a paper published in Policy Futures in Education. This paper
has been peer-reviewed but does not include the final publisher proof-corrections or journal
pagination. Citation for the published paper:
Jääskeläinen T (2019) Countering hate speech through arts and arts education Addressing
intersections and policy implications. In: Anttila E and Martin R (eds) Special Issue “Arts and
Culture in Education: Questioning and Reimagining Current Policies and Practices”. Policy
Futures in Education.
URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/1478210319848953
Publisher: SAGE
This document has been downloaded from ResearchGate:
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_arts_education_-_Addressing_intersections_and_policy_implications
Countering hate speech through arts and arts education
Addressing intersections and policy implications
Tuula Jääskeläinen
University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland
Abstract
Hate speech has become a growing topic of discussion and debate on a global scale,
especially as advances in the internet transform communication on many levels. Among
scholars, hate speech has been defined as any form of expression for example by means
of speech, images, videos, or online activity that has the capacity to increase hatred
against a person or people because of a characteristic they share, or a group to which they
belong. In order to maintain the integrity of a functioning democracy, it is important to
identify the best balance between allowing freedom of expression and protecting other
human rights by countering hate speech. In addition to strengthening the legal framework
to address the cases when hate speech can be considered criminal, and developing
automated monitoring of online systems to prevent the spreading of cyberhate, counter
narratives can be utilised by the targets of hate speech and their communities to create
campaigns against hate speech. The employment of artists’ expression and arts education
have great potential for creating different counter narratives to challenge one-sided
narratives and hate speakers’ simplified generalisations. Because hate speech is not an
easy issue to address in schools, clear research evidence, concrete guidelines, and
practical examples can help teachers to contribute, along with their students, in
combating it. A great body of evidence supporting the beneficial social impacts of the
arts and culture fields is already available, but much more research, backed by sufficient
resources, is needed to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of intervention strategies in
countering hate speech through arts education.
Keywords
arts education, counter narrative, dignity, freedom of expression, hate speech
Introduction
Hate speech has become a growing topic of discussion and debate on a global scale,
especially as advances in the internet transform communication on many levels, including
user-generated and anonymous online platforms where hate speech can be easily shared
(Chetty and Alathur, 2018; Gomes, 2016, 2017; Saleem et al., 2017). Very often the aim
of hate speech is to harm the reputation of vulnerable people from minority groups
characterized by disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, religion, sexual
Tuula Jääskeläinen (M.Ed.) has twenty years working experience in the higher education administration in Finland.
She has a general teacher qualification in arts university pedagogy, and is specialized in developing human rights
education through arts. Tuula is a doctoral candidate in music education in the Sibelius Academy, University of the
Arts Helsinki, Finland, and in the ArtsEqual Research Initiative associated with the Center for Educational Research
and Academic Development in the Arts (CERADA). Her research interests are in the field of higher education,
especially experiences of learning in the arts education. Correspondence to: Tuula Jääskeläinen, University of the Arts
Helsinki, P.O. Box 1, 00097 Uniarts, Finland. Email: tuula.jaaskelainen@uniarts.fi
orientation, or other equivalent characteristics, by making them seem worthless in the
social sphere (Gomes, 2016; Waldron, 2012). The most pressing issues arising from the
debate on hate speech are: Is hate speech harmful? Can words hurt as much as physical
attacks? If so, what can be done about it? (Heinze, 2016).
In their reviews of online hate speech, both Chetty and Alathur (2018) and Blaya
(2018) found that it is necessary to produce research, policies, and methods to identify,
prevent, and control increased hate speech in online activities. To counter hate speech,
they suggest intervention programs such as strengthening the legal framework,
developing automated monitoring of online systems, utilizing education for public
awareness, and empowering young people to produce counter speech.
Strengthening the legal framework for combating hate speech requires the social
and political context of a specific country to be considered, as there are different
legislations already in place in different countries (Bonotti, 2017). For example, in
Germany and Canada the law considers hate speech to be a crime, whereas in the United
States of America hate speech is permitted if the hate speaker does not threaten or use
violence or incite others to it (McConnell, 2012). As an example of a solution for
automated identification of the high volume of online hateful speech, Saleem et al. (2017)
propose an approach that uses content produced by self-identifying hateful communities
instead of keyword-based methods, which have been found insufficient for reliable
detection. Molnar (2012) suggests that art, education, and other cultural activities, which
have minimal risk of unintended side effects, can help prevent hate speech in the cases
where hate speech does not present an imminent threat of violence. A report by
Silverman et al. (2016) indicates that content creators collaborating with social media
companies and private sector partners can create cost-effective counter narrative
campaigns which increase awareness of, engagement in, and impact on combating hate
speech.
Countering hate speech can also be connected with supporting human rights, for
example through Article 1 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “All human beings
are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (UN General Assembly, 1948). According
to Feldman (2013), hate speech annihilates dignity, and in that way detracts from an
individual’s assurance of political and legal equality and inclusiveness in society.
Intuitively, it seems obvious that human beings should aim to treat each other equally,
thus protecting the public dignity of our societal order. However, because of the
multiplicity of perspectives related to hate speech, it is not easy for policy makers and
practitioners for example teachers with their students to contribute to combating hate
speech.
In their review exploring teachers' perceptions and responses towards
cyberbullying, Macaulay et al. (2018) found that teachers see the education of their pupils
about cyberbullying awareness to be effective, but they need additional training to
increase their knowledge of how to reduce involvement in and long-term exposure to
bullying. Therefore, in this article I examine the potential of arts education to counter
hate speech in the light of recent research and discussion, in order to provide factual
knowledge for policy makers and practical tools for teachers, with their students, to
increase their confidence and ability to identify, prevent, and combat hate speech.
Hate speech and freedom of expression
What actually constitutes hate speech is not a simple matter to define. The problem in
defining hate speech is not in the hateful thoughts, but in the concrete harm that follows
from the publication and dissemination of hate speech. Many international courts do not
define the term hate speech, which makes it difficult to state where and when emotions
and incitements become hatred (Mendel, 2012). Among scholars (e.g. Gomes, 2016;
Mendel, 2012), hate speech has been defined as any form of expression for example by
means of speech, images, videos, or online activity that has the capacity to increase
hatred against a person or people because of a characteristic they share, or a group to
which they belong. In defining hate speech, it is necessary to clarify the difference
between insults (or offense), which are connected to an individual’s emotions, and
punishable hate speech (or defamation) (Feldman, 2013). According to Waldron (2012),
in order to be punishable, speech must attack social aspects of an individual in a society,
such as the status or reputation or dignity of the group, rather than effect how things feel
to them.
In order to maintain the integrity of a functioning democracy, the government
must protect both the equal human dignity of every person and free speech with open
debate engaging all viewpoints, as a precondition for democratic citizenship (Koltay,
2016; Tsesis,1999). Therefore, in combating hate speech it is important, and at the same
time challenging, to identify the best balance between allowing freedom of expression1
and protecting other human rights (Gomes, 2016; Heinze, 2016). Some scholars (e.g.
Bonotti, 2017; Heinze, 2016) argue that hate speech laws are not a solution to combating
hate speech in the cases where hate speech does not cause an imminent threat of violence.
They agree that hate speech bans may, under some circumstances, promote security in
order to preserve democracy for all citizens. However, in their opinion, hate speech bans
do not promote democracy, because within a democracy public discourse is the
constitutional foundation which allows citizens to express their opinions for and against
any policies, without being censored or penalized, even in cases in which their viewpoint
is considered hateful. It is a serious concern that hate speech bans can be abused by
politically powerful factions to censor speech that criticizes them (McConnell, 2012).
Hate speech bans are also often ineffective, because hate speakers can reformulate their
hateful speech in euphemistic and indirect forms, which can be as harmful as direct hate
speech (Bonotti, 2017; Heinze, 2016). Also, punishing hate speakers does not necessary
directly support the ability of their targets to speak in response (Gelber, 2012).
On the contrary, some scholars (e.g. Feldman, 2013; Koltay, 2016; Tsesis, 1999;
Waldron, 2012) argue that although free speech is an important value as an individual
right, and essential to democratic citizenship, freedom of expression cannot negatively
impact human dignity, equality, and reputation. Thus, just as protection against actual
physical attacks should be guaranteed in a democracy, so also should there be a formal,
symbolic recognition of human dignity, even when hate speech does not cause any
obvious harm to the members of the community attacked (Koltay, 2016). The right to free
speech cannot safeguard hate speech, because supporting hate speakers’ verbal freedom
can weaken a pluralist democracy, when outgroup members do not feel safe enough to
equally exercise their political and constitutional rights in a society (Tsesis, 1999;
Waldron, 2012). Therefore, the emphasis on equal human dignity and citizenship for all
individuals, and thus all groups and communities, should be an essentially pluralist
democratic concern, and hate speech laws can protect a minority individual’s ability to
participate fully as a democratic citizen (Feldman, 2013; Koltay, 2016; Waldron, 2012).
Harm from hate speech
What kind of harm can hate speech cause to the individuals, groups, and communities?
Some scholars (e.g. Gelber, 2012; Gomes, 2016) have reported that hate speech is
damaging in itself, and creates conditions for further and more serious harm, such as
human rights violations, discrimination, mental and emotional damage, disempowerment,
marginalization, silencing and suppression, and violence. According to Gelber (2012),
sometimes people, especially children being influenced by their peer groups, can use hate
speech without intending to harm, when they do not realise that they are using hate
speech, or when they do not understand the message. Often the response of the targets of
hate speech is to become angry and to defend themselves, but the response can also be to
become an activist in a society instead of becoming victimized.
There is also a debate among scholars as to whether hate speech can cause long-
term harm. Tsesis (1999) argues that the Holocaust, the Native American dislocation, and
Black slavery were made possible by repeated hate propaganda, which formulated over
long periods of time a foundation for a conceptual framework to promote systematic
intolerance, oppression, discrimination, destruction, and racist policies. As an example of
the long-term harm of hate speech, Hancock (1991) has outlined a chronology of Gypsy
history in which he shows the origins of the Holocaust against the Romani beginning in
the 15th century and leading stage by stage to the genocide of the European Romani
during World War II.
To the contrary, however, some scholars (e.g. Desai, 2003; Heinze, 2016) see the
claims of a causal relationship between hate speech and long-term direct effects or
indirect harm to individuals, groups, and communities as too simple and straightforward.
They argue that there is not enough legal or scientific evidence to indicate that those
incidents in history were caused by hate speech. In this view, hate speech might be part of
the process, but other factors, such as government actions and policy, have had a stronger
impact on those consequences.
A recent example of the harm of hate speech is the case of three persons who
made deliberately offensive and provocative online posts called “trolls” in internet
slang and who were convicted in the District Court in Finland of systematic defamation
against a journalist.2 The court rejected their arguments of exercising the right to freedom
of speech, because the trolls’ attacks, made as false accusations posted online, continued
systematically for more than three years, and the primary motive was to undermine and
destroy the journalist’s professional credibility and reputation (Higgins, 2018). The
journalist received death threats, was mocked online as a subject of insulting memes, and
had her face photoshopped onto pornographic images, and her address, medical records,
and contact details were published online (BBC News, 2018b). Another victim in the
same case described how, after internet trolls’ systematic continuing defamation, she had
serious fears; for example, she was afraid to go shopping, she became afraid of arsonists,
she had everyday difficulties in sleeping and eating, she was not able to work, and she
suffered from anxiety and vomiting (Salminen, 2018).
Waldron (2012) emphasizes that although it is a serious concern that hate speech
can create imminent dangers of harmful or illegal conduct, the constituent concern is that
hate speech deflates the requisite conditions for a pluralist democratic process. On the
other hand, public incidents caused by the hate speakers can increase the empowerment
of opposition, and in that way strengthen instead of weaken the assurance of security for
the targets of the hate speech (McConnell, 2012). Both Gelber (2012) and Winter and
Frst (2017) suggest that, in cases where hate speech does not cause imminent danger,
the appropriate concrete response to hate speech is counter speech, which enables
counteractions against the silencing and disempowering effects caused by hate speech on
its targets. According to Reagle (2015), counter speech can expose hate, deceit, abuse,
and stereotypes by providing clarification, promoting counter narratives, and advancing
counter-values, such as sharing experiences and uniting communities.
Counter narratives
How can we overcome the seemingly polarized choices between hate speech bans and
free speech, and at the same time support the targets of hate speech and their
communities, so that they become capable of responding to hate speech? Gelber (2012)
suggests that we should utilize an expanded conception of counter speech, in which
freedom is not merely an opportunity but an exercise. This requires a reconceptualization
of freedom of expression in participatory terms, such as self-development, and
understanding that speech is capable of doing both good and bad things for people.
Gelber has adapted this idea from Nussbaum’s (e.g. 2003) theory of ethics, which entails
human functional capabilities as being necessary to foster human flourishing. When we
understand that speech has a constitutive role in the formation of individual capabilities, a
supported policy response, including adequate institutional, material, and educational
support, is focused on the targets of hate speech and their supporters instead of on the
hate speakers.
Counter narratives can be utilised in counter speech to support and enable a
response to hate speech, by giving a voice to people who would otherwise not have one.
These kinds of narratives aim to dispute and contradict a commonly held belief or truth
relating to cultures, people, and institutions by sharing a different point of view, based on
human rights and democratic values such as openness, respect for difference, freedom,
and equality (Gomes, 2017; Tuck and Silverman, 2016). Counter narratives do not
necessarily discredit the beliefs that have been previously established, but rather
deconstruct the narratives on which they are based by offering a different way of thinking
about the issues. For example, counter narratives can provide alternative and accurate
information against hate speech propaganda, and aim to deconstruct or delegitimise hate
speech narratives by using humour, appealing to emotions on the topics involved, and
offering different perspectives focusing on what we are for rather than against (Gomes,
2017; Tuck and Silverman, 2016).
In their Counter-Narrative Handbook, Tuck and Silverman (2016) advise how to
create counter narratives by planning a campaign, creating and testing the content,
running a campaign, advertising, engaging audiences, and evaluating campaigns. An
effective campaign is age appropriate, the language should be easily understood and it is
pitched at the right level for the audience to reach the right people, not necessarily the
most people. The most effective messages do not lecture the audience; instead, they offer
something to think about, feel, remember, and reflect on. In some cases, counter
narratives can also be misunderstood in particular, comedy is not necessarily easy to
use, because not everyone will find the same things funny. A project by Silverman et al.
(2016) shows that the process of creating counter narrative content can be slow, and
require an enormous amount of work. Therefore, a good option is also to expand and
redirect pre-existing counter narrative content.
A counter narrative campaign can be a counteractive community newsletter, an
awareness program, a discussion workshop about the effects of hate speech, a workshop
on writing replies and opinions to newspapers, producing radio or television
advertisements or an online video, or creating community art projects (Gelber, 2012). As
an example, Tuck and Silverman (2016) have illustrated instructions for a counter
narrative campaign against extremism.3 That kind of campaign can highlight how
extremist activities negatively impact on the people which they argue to represent. Also,
it is possible to demonstrate the hypocrisy of extremist groups, and how their actions are
often inconsistent with their own stated beliefs. The factual inaccuracies can be
emphasised by showing that something which has been regarded as true is in fact not
true, and by satirising extremist propaganda to undermine its credibility.
Tuck and Silverman (2016) also caution that there are security considerations in
running counter narrative campaigns. Negative responses and abusive, threatening, or
racist comments, even from the extremist groups, can be a consequence of the campaign.
Therefore, it is crucial to estimate beforehand whether securing the campaigner’s
personal details and social media accounts is needed. In addition, it is worthwhile to
consider possible risks before running the campaign, and whether the campaign can be
linked to the campaigner’s organisation or not.
Intersections in countering hate speech through arts and arts education
In order to be effective and enticing, counter narratives can combine real and fictional
elements. Artistic expression often enjoys a wider degree of freedom of expression than
formal speech, and therefore artistic freedom can offer a creative way to navigate
between freedom of expression and combating hate speech (McGonagle et al., 2012).
Although artistic freedom is often allowed to be provocative, artists are also responsible
for being mindful that their artistic expression does not use hate speech. There is a recent
case from 2018 in Spain demonstrating how artistic expression was considered criminal
by the government. The Spanish court condemned rapper “Valtonyc” (Josep Miquel
Arenas) to three-and-a-half years in jail for incitement to terrorism, insulting the crown,
and making threats, based on one of his songs where he criticized the King of Spain
(Telesur, 2017). In a pluralist democracy it is problematic if any single narrative is
considered to be the only “normal” one, and even more serious if the narrative includes
hate speech (Gomes, 2017). The employment of artists’ practices has great potential for
creating different counter narratives to challenge one-sided narratives. Also, teachers can
utilize arts education in schools to make activities with students to counter hate speech,
which may offer a constructive way to handle hate speech.
Various artists have already utilised counter narratives in their art works, which
can serve as examples of methods for teachers to adapt in arts education in schools. One
example of how visual art can be used to create a counter narrative, even without speech,
is the artist Ana Teresa Fernández’s artwork “Borrando la Frontera” (Erasing the Border).
This project took place in 2016 in three places along the border of the United States of
America and Mexico, where members of the cultural organization Border/Arte
“removed” parts of the border fence by painting large sections sky blue, allowing the
fence to visually blend into the sky and to symbolically erase a long-standing physical
barrier separating families and causing harm and sorrow to them (Taylor, 2016).
Although counter narratives usually aim to construct something new, in the artistic
activism by the “Hate Destroyer”, Irmela Mensah-Schramm, graffiti-erasing is used as a
way to counter hate speech. She is 72 years old, and since 1985 she has been going out
every morning in Berlin looking for racist, homophobic, or anti-Semitic graffiti or
stickers, to permanently erase them, scratch them off, or cover them with paint (Caruso,
2017).
An art installation can also provide a space where people can participate in
cooperatively building a counter narrative through dynamic conversation, instead of
being isolated with their stressful emotions. Artist Matthew Levee Chavez noticed how
people suffered post-election anxiety and uncertainty during the day after Republican
Donald Trump’s presidential election win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in
the United States of America in 2016. He set up a therapy desk in a bypass subway tunnel
in New York and offered hundreds of travellers post-it notes, encouraging them to put
their thoughts and drawings on the wall, such as “9/11 Never Forget, 11/9 Always
Regret” (Leigh, 2016). As another example, a counter narrative against hate speech in a
massive art work at a public festival can reach many people. “Wall of Hope” was a 15
meters wide and 2 meters high art work made by artists EGS and Jani Leinonen at the
World Village Festival 2017 in Finland, as a part of Amnesty International Finland's
(2017) campaign against hate speech. The wall consisted of pieces of hate speech sent to
Amnesty International, which were covered over by the artists’ works illustrating hope. A
human figure in the art work framed the hate speech, showing how every individual is
responsible for expressing their emotions in a constructive way, instead of through
discriminatory hate speech.
The Council of Europe (2018) introduces creative ways in which young people
can counter hate speech in different contexts, by combining various art forms and
methods such as participatory theatre, storytelling, pictures, and videos, in order to
address different types of hate speech. For example, the Living Library is a participatory
work meant to challenge prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination, by offering the
possibility to borrow people, who can be, for example, victims of hate speech or activists
in combating hate speech, instead of books. With the message “Don't judge a book by its
cover!” it shows that despite our differences, people share a common humanity with
similar concerns and hopes. In Finland, the ByHelpers (2017) community fights against
the bystander effect by encouraging people to help strangers in everyday life, with the
slogan “Act when you encounter hate speech instead of giving your silent approval to the
situation. Don't be a bystander, be a #ByHelper!”. They also utilize art to gather people
together, for example by organising a community art painting event, the “Wall of Art”, in
a park in Helsinki in 2017, where people could imprint the figure of their hand with
different colours.
Visual artist Eetu Kevarinmäki (2017) started to investigate aggressive chatting
on Facebook, and made art works based on the comments, including hate speech, which
were shown in his exhibition “Vihapuheen Estetiikka” (Aesthetics of Hate Speech) in
Helsinki in 2017. The exhibition included a sound art work and 400 photos, in which he
had opened the code behind the Facebook profile photo of hate speakers as a text file, and
added the hate speech text in between the code. As a result, there was an abstract and
broken profile picture, which illustrated how humanity is fragmented by hate speech. A
photo can also use counter narratives to raise awareness and hope. In her “Precious Baby
Project”, photographer Angela Forker has photographed medically fragile babies, or
babies with disabilities, in her home studio in Indiana, as a way to show strength,
potential, and love. She uses fabric and other ordinary items in her work, and places them
to create a unique environment meant to show the potential of each baby, for example by
giving the appearance of the baby flying, steering a boat, or running (Stumbo, 2018).
Music can also be used to enhance counter narrative activities against hate speech.
“Love Music Hate Racism” (2018) started in 2002 in the United Kingdom as a response
to rising levels of racism, and over concerns about the success of the British National
Party. The movement uses music to promote diversity and a multicultural society, and to
involve people in anti-racist activities at their music events, from local gigs to large
outdoor festivals.
Addressing implications for practice and policy
Arts education can offer a creative and effective way for policy makers and practitioners
to combat hate speech, as they try to balance between respect for human dignity on the
one hand, and freedom of expression on the other, as human rights and preconditions for
democratic citizenship. Recent research by Van de Vyver and Abrams (2018) provides
evidence that people’s greater engagement with the arts predicates greater pro-sociality
through volunteering and charitable giving; therefore, art can act as an important social
psychological catalyst towards a cohesive and socially prosperous society. A literature
review by Menzer (2015) suggests that music, drama, and visual arts activities are
positively related to both social and emotional competencies in early childhood. Catterall
(2009) and Catterall et al. (2012) arrived at similar conclusions in their studies, which
indicate that young people who have arts-rich experiences in school become more active
and engaged citizens than their less artistically involved peers in voting, volunteering,
and generally participating in society.
Research by Rose et al. (2017) shows that artists and cultural organizations can
have a remarkable role in equity change work through diverse and avant-garde forms,
such as bringing creative visions, forming political resistance against poverty and human
rights abuses, unifying and healing communities, and advocating for equitable
economies. Arts and cultural activities can bring many benefits and high value to both
individuals and society by creating the conditions for change, such as creating spaces for
experimentation and risk-taking and developing the ability to reflect in a safer and less
direct way on personal, community, and societal challenges (Crossik and Kaszynska,
2016). In addition, a literature review of interdisciplinary studies exploring the social
impacts of arts and culture by the Department of Canadian Heritage (2016) found arts and
culture to have multiple and positive impacts on and benefits for society; however, the
measurement of these characteristics is very difficult and there is no current consensus
around the conclusions.
Although there is a great body of evidence available on the social impact of arts
and culture, research by Silverman et al. (2016) shows that with regard to increasing the
understanding of the impact of interventions in countering hate speech, much more
research is needed. They suggest the use of offline market research techniques to better
understand web users’ online content, offline opinions, and behaviour changes. This
should also include in-depth interviews with intervention providers who work with young
people in order to deepen our understanding of youth attitudes and behaviour. Testing
and comparing the impact of counter narratives is one way to increase the available
scientific evidence on countering hate speech. Because hate speech is not at all a simple
and easy issue to address at schools, research evidence, concrete guidelines, and practical
examples can help teachers in their efforts to combat it.
There is a recent example (BBC News, 2018a) of the complexity of this issue in
Finland, from a secondary school which was drawn into an argument with a Nationalist
member of parliament, who accused it of encouraging hatred. Three 15-year-olds
designed a poster as part of a city-wide event to highlight social issues. They chose
immigration as their theme, presenting migrants in a cramped boat, facing a choice of
who to turn to. To the left of the boat, under the name "Suomeen" (to Finland), the
students set photos of the President of Finland and a Greens member of parliament, while
the Nationalist member of parliament and her party leader were put to the right of the
boat under the caption “kuoleen” (to death). The poster caused a heated debate over
whether it was appropriate for a social studies project at school.4
Rather than focusing on the public accusation of inciting hatred, the episode
around the poster can be seen as a call for training teachers to better handle issues around
hate speech in schools. For example, in place of the use of more extreme language, the
teacher could have steered the students towards a more sensitive message, including
diverse perspectives that did not detract from the overall meaning. It is understandable
that overreactions occur when handling burning political topics with young people.
Because of the ethical ambiguity that exists in hate speech discourse, any communication
is, in reality, not always so simple. It is expected that teachers encounter challenges and
resistance from some of the students, their parents, and other teachers from diverse
backgrounds and beliefs, and with varying positions of power and perspective, when
addressing issues around hate speech. Even tiny differences of opinion within the
conversation on hate speech can lead to intense disputation, and this is often the reason
why it is safer and more comfortable not to interfere with the topic in a school
environment. However, fear of missteps and public blaming should not discourage
teachers from activating their students to address the issues around hate speech.
Emcke (2016) highlights that those who do not interfere and attempt to tackle hate
speech, actually allow the space for hate to grow by tolerating it with their silent
acceptance. That is why practical work with democratic values, such as openness,
inclusion, equality, and justice, is one of the most important ways to counter hate speech.
Hate as an emotion is not an efficient response to ideological hate speech. Instead, using
tools which hate speakers cannot use may undermine hate speakers’ credibility. Those
kinds of tools can be many things, from deciding not to join the call of hate, to taking the
time, again and again, to carefully elaborate ourselves and our differences, backgrounds,
and frameworks related to hate, even before the hate is expressed. Education is an
important factor in deconstructing intolerance, prejudice, and discriminatory attitudes and
behaviours, and thus teachers at schools may have a crucial role to play in encouraging
young people to combat hate speech. Because hate speech bans cannot reach the roots of
hatred, arts education can offer ways to disclose what is hidden, and to examine the
ignorance, misunderstandings, and false beliefs within the historical and cultural contexts
of hate speech (Molnar, 2012).
In countering hate speech, counter narratives can be considered as a method
which works best when combined with other policy approaches (Gelber, 2012). Waldron
(2012) points out that counter speech alone is not a sufficient response to hate speech,
because it legitimates the issue by suggesting that we should be engaged in conversation
with hate speakers, trying to convince them and others that minorities should be treated
as full and equal citizens. In a functioning pluralist democratic process all citizens,
including minorities, are worthy of equal citizenship without such conversations. Also,
Coustick-Deal (2017) reminds us that counter speech is often defined by those who
already have the privilege and freedom to exercise it without fear or harm. For example,
research by Munger (2017) showed that counter speech as a reply to racist Tweets
reduced racist hate speech, but only if people thought that the reply was written by a
white male avatar. The counter speech was produced by automated Twitter bots, and
included one sentence: “Hey man, just remember that there are real people who are hurt
when you harass them with that kind of language.If the avatar was thought to be a
person of colour, the counter speech showed no measurable impact, and in fact the avatar
was more likely to receive a negative response. Therefore, work for structural changes is
needed to create spaces where everyone can feel equally safe to counteract these
influences, including in arts education (Jääskeläinen, 2016).
Conclusions
In addition to strengthening the legal framework for addressing cases when hate speech
can be considered criminal, and developing automated monitoring of online systems to
prevent cyberhate, utilizing arts education to create culturally sensitive and effective
counter narratives can provide a practical and creative way for policy makers to increase
awareness of these issues, and for teachers to empower students to counter hate speech.
Countering hate speech requires us to use other ways than expressing hate
ourselves, and according to recent studies on various types of beneficial social impacts,
the arts have the potential to provide a more positive means of communication. Arts
education can be utilised to create efficient counter narratives, which can provide space to
support diverse viewpoints that can question hate speakers’ simplified generalisations.
However, much more research, supported by sufficient resources, is needed to evaluate
the impact and effectiveness of intervention strategies in countering hate speech through
arts education. In order to address policy recommendations around arts education-based
intervention strategies, more focused exploration needs to be undertaken into the
specifics of what counter narratives could look like in arts education in diverse cultural
and educational contexts, how they are facilitated in practice, and how these actions are
connected to policy implications.
Although there is not yet enough evidence on the impact of using arts education in
countering hate speech, the brave art works of artists creating influential counter
narratives can encourage people to join together and act. Just as was written by an
anonymous by-passer on one of the post-it notes in the art installation in the New York
subway station (Leigh, 2016): “LET’S USE THIS ANGER. LET’S ORGANIZE!”.
Funding
This work was undertaken at the Center for Educational Research and Academic
Development in the Arts (CERADA), University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland, as part of
ArtsEqual Research Initiative, supported by the Academy of Finland's Strategic Research
Council under Grant 293199/2015.
Acknowledgments
I thank Dr. Christopher Ten Wolde for valuable comments on the initial manuscript.
Declaration of conflicting interests
The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Notes
1. The Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the
right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any
media and regardless of frontiers” (UN General Assembly, 1948).
2. “The concept of punishable hate speech or hate speech crime is not contained in
legislation [in Finland]. Cases investigated by the Hate Speech Investigation Team are
categorised as ethnic agitation, aggravated ethnic agitation or infringing the right to
practice a religion in peace. The Helsinki Hate Speech Investigation Team also
investigates cases of online defamation, aggravated defamation, illegal threats and other
crimes, if the act is committed against someone on the basis of their race, skin colour,
descent, national or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation or other
equivalent grounds.” (Karuselli uutiset, 2017)
3. Extremism is the vocal or active opposition to our fundamental values, including
democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of
different faiths and beliefs. We also regard calls for the death of members of our armed
forces as extremist.” (HM Government, 2015: 9)
4. According to the National Core Curriculum for Basic Education in Finland
(FNCC, 2014: 1516), Discussions of values with the pupils guide the pupils to
recognize values and attitudes they encounter and to also think about them critically” and
“Basic education promotes well-being, democracy and active agency in civil society”.
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... Vihapuhe ilmiöinä ja erityisesti siihen puuttuminen alkoivat kiinnostamaan minua yhä enemmän, ja etsin lisää tietoa siitä, miten erottaa rangaistava vihapuhe sananvapauden rajoihin mahtuvasta loukkaavasta puheesta ja minkälaisia seurauksia vihapuheella voi olla yhteiskunnalle. Vihapuheen kohteeksi joutumisen seurauksena on yksilötasolla usein emotionaalista pahoinvointia, mutta yhteiskunnan kannalta keskeisin ongelma on, että vähemmistöryhmiin kohdistuva vihapuhe voi heikentää demokratian toimivuutta, kun vihapuheen kohteeksi joutuneet eivät tunne oloaan turvalliseksi, jotta voisivat käyttää poliittisia ja perustuslaillisia oikeuksiaan yhteiskunnassa (Jääskeläinen 2019). ...
... Myös Suomen lainsäädännössä sananvapaus antaa mahdollisuuden kovaankin kritiikkiin, liioitteluun ja provosointiin, mutta panettelu ja solvaaminen on kielletty -tosin käytännössä rajanveto rangaistavan ja sananvapauden rajoissa pysyvän puheen välillä on erittäin vaikeaa (Korhonen et al. 2016). On tärkeää ja samalla haastavaa löytää sopiva tasapaino sananvapauden ja muiden ihmisoikeuksien suojelemisen välillä, sillä sananvapaus on tärkeä ihmisoikeus toimivan demokratian mahdollistamiseksi -sen avulla esimerkiksi estetään poliittisesti vallassa olevien tahojen mahdollisuus sensuroida heihin kohdistuvaa kritiikkiä (Jääskeläinen 2019). ...
... Vastapuheen avulla vihapuheeseen puututaan nimenomaan vahvistamalla ihmisarvoa, suvaitsevaisuutta ja toisten kunnioittamista, ja myös taiteilla on tällaisessa viestinnässä merkityksellinen rooli, sillä taiteen avulla tuotetut monimuotoiset vastanarratiivit (counter narratives) voivat luovasti ja osallistavasti kyseenalaistaa vihapuheeseen sisältyviä yksipuolisia ja syrjiviä narratiiveja (Jääskeläinen 2019). Savan (2007, 73) mukaan "taide voi osaltaan herättää aistimaan ja näkemään sellaista, jota ei ennen ole osannut, halunnut tai uskaltanut nähdä" ja johtaa muutokseen, puolustamaan hyvää elämää yhteiskuntaan aktiivisesti vaikuttamalla. ...
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Written in Finnish, Toiminnasta sanoiksi [Action into Words] is an anthology that provides collegial accounts on multidisciplinarity, reflections on teaching, historicity of the arts, inclusion, and neo-materialism as a starting point for a critical reflection on the work of a university teacher in the arts. The book also evokes ideas about the societal significance and the role of an arts university as the constructor of future society and contributor to the common good. The book is available at Uniarts Helsinki's web store and as an open access publication in Helda Digital Repository of the University of Helsinki.
... Vastapuheen avulla vihapuheeseen puututaan nimenomaan vahvistamalla ihmisarvoa, suvaitsevaisuutta ja toisten kunnioittamista, ja myös taiteilla on tällaisessa viestinnässä merkityksellinen rooli, sillä taiteen avulla tuotetut monimuotoiset vastanarratiivit (counter narratives) voivat luovasti ja osallistavasti kyseenalaistaa vihapuheeseen sisältyviä yksipuolisia ja syrjiviä narratiiveja (Jääskeläinen 2019). Savan (2007, 73) mukaan "taide voi osaltaan herättää aistimaan ja näkemään sellaista, jota ei ennen ole osannut, halunnut tai uskaltanut nähdä" ja johtaa muutokseen, puolustamaan hyvää elämää yhteiskuntaan aktiivisesti vaikuttamalla. ...
... Taiteen positiivisia vaikutuksia hyvinvointiin, terveyteen ja sosiaaliseen muutokseen on tutkittu yhä enemmän (Anttila et al. 2017). Tutkimustulokset osoittavat, että taiteen harrastaminen on yhteydessä ihmisten vapaaehtoistyöhön ja hyväntekeväisyyteen osallistumiseen, ja erityisesti nuorten taideharrastukset ennakoivat aktiivisuutta yhteiskunnallisessa vaikuttamisessa (Jääskeläinen 2019). Taiteiden äärellä ja niiden avulla on mahdollista löytää henkilökohtaisia keinoja rauhoittumiseen, tasapainoisen elämäntavan löytämiseen ja vastoinkäymisistä selviämiseen (Lehikoinen 2020). ...
... Käytyäni ihmisoikeuskasvattajan koulutuksen minua alkoi kiinnostaa, miten eri taiteilijat ovat taideteoksissaan ilmentäneet ihmisoikeuksien edistämistä vastapuheella -tai paremminkin vastanarratiivien avulla. Kokosin esimerkkejä puhuttelevista taideteoksista ja taideprojekteista eri taiteenaloilta ja kirjoitin niiden pohjalta artikkelin vihapuheen torjumisesta taiteen ja taidekasvatuksen avulla (Jääskeläinen 2019). Löysin esimerkiksi taideopettajille helposti lasten ja nuorten kanssa toteutettavan aktiviteetin, joka on Euroopan neuvoston kehittämä Elävä kirjasto. ...
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Tämä artikkeli perustuu omaan kokemukseeni opettajaksi kasvamisessa taidealojen yliopistopedagogiikan koulutuksen kautta. Artikkelin keskeisenä teemana on ihmisoikeuskasvatuksen sisällyttäminen osaksi taidekasvatusta. Ihmisoikeuksia tarvitaan demokraattisen yhteiskunnan rakentamiseen ja ylläpitämiseen sekä siellä toimimiseen yhdessä. Demokraattinen yhteiskunta ei toteudu itsestään vaan edellyttää asiasta muistuttamista ja ihmisoikeuksien aktiivista harjoittamista samalla tavalla kuin minkä tahansa taidon oppiminen ja ylläpitäminen. Tämän vuoksi ihmisoikeuksien tulisi kuulua kaikkiin kasvatusprosesseihin mahdollisimman varhaisesta iästä alkaen ja eri koulutusasteilla osana valmistautumista elämään moniarvoisessa ja demokraattisessa yhteiskunnassa. Esittelen artikkelissa ihmisoikeuskasvatuksen materiaaleja ja esimerkkejä taideteoksista taideopettajien opetuksen tueksi. Käytännöllisenä ihmisoikeuskasvatuksen esimerkkinä on lasten ja nuorten aktivoiminen vihapuheen vastaiseen toimintaan. Viimeisen vuosikymmenen aikana erityisesti digitaalisten laitteiden käytön yleistyminen yhä nuoremmilla lapsilla on nostanut esiin ongelman vihapuheen leviämisestä verkon kautta. Pohdin taiteiden potentiaalia toimia vastapuheena ja vastanarratiiveina vihapuheen vastaisessa aktiivisessa toiminnassa. Oleellista on ymmärtää, että vaikka ei itse olisikaan joutunut vihapuheen kohteeksi, on tärkeää aktivoitua tuottamaan ihmisoikeuksia edistävää vastapuhetta, jotta passiivisuus ei mahdollista vihapuheen laajenemista ja normalisoitumista yhteiskunnassa. Tässä artikkelissa esittämäni materiaalit ja esimerkit auttavat taideopettajaa pääsemään alkuun ja tarjoavat mahdollisuuden olla opiskelijoiden kanssa edistämässä ihmisoikeuksia ja siten rakentamassa tasa-arvoisempaa yhteiskuntaa ja maailmaa taiteiden avulla.
... En praktisk og kreativ måte for beslutningstakere å skape effektive mot-narrativ kan skje ved hjelp av kunst/kunstpedagogikk (arts education). Det finnes mange eksempler på dette i kunsten og kunstpedagogikken (Jääskeläinen, 2019). Kunst/kunstpedagogikk kan skape et rom der ulike perspektiver kan nyansere og kritisk stille spørsmålstegn ved de ofte forenklede generaliseringene som hatefulle ytringer dreier seg om. ...
... Kunst/kunstpedagogikk kan gi redskaper til å undersøke falske sannheter, uvitenhet og misforståelser innenfor den historiske og kulturelle konteksten som de hatefulle ytringene befinner seg i. Kunst/kunstpedagogikk kan også gi mot. Forskning viser at barn og unge som aktivt involveres i kunst/kunstpedagogikk i skolen blir mer aktive og engasjerte når det gjelder valgdeltakelse, frivillig arbeid og generelt samfunnsengasjement enn barn og unge som ikke får delta i aktiv kunstpedagogisk virksomhet i skolen (Jääskeläinen, 2019). ...
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Østern, T. P. & Jääskeläinen, T. 2019. Kunst, kunstpedagogikk og menneskerettigheter som motstand mot hatefulle ytringer og rasisme på kunstfeltet. På Spissen/Dance Articulated 5, 2. (http://ps.noda.no/index.php/ps) // Abstract: Hatefulle ytringer, rasisme og aggresjon på kunstfeltet er farlig fordi vegen fra ytringer til fysisk vold kan være kort. Dermed kan hatefulle ytringer skape redsel og dempe kunstnerskapene hos dem som rammes. Kraftfulle mot-narrativ mot hatet kan skapes gjennom kunsten, og kunst- og utdanningsinstitusjoner har et særlig ansvar.
... Teachers and students from different backgrounds, countries, cultures, ethnicities, religious backgrounds should be asked to follow the page and actively participate in the dialogs and activities. Based on the strategies mentioned by [8]; [9]; [10]; [11]; [5]; [12]; [13] and Paulo Freire's 3 pedagogical approach, the page should focus on the following: [1 ] Students and instructors from different backgrounds enter into dialogue with each other to gain knowledge of the reality of Covid-19, and to critically reflect on the pandemic. The Twitter learning environment should be characterized by mutual trust, respect, care and members' support of one another. ...
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The spread of Covid-19 worldwide has been associated with hate and racism speech on social media which sometimes encourages violence and bullying in the different communities. Some officials, public figures and even common people, including students, have been expressing hate, racism, negative, hostile, and intolerant attitudes towards certain groups of people based on their color, origin, race, religion or social/political stance. This study surveys students and instructors’ views of Covid-19 five months after the outbreak of the pandemic, and whether they consider it a punishment from God to certain countries or not. Based on the findings, it proposes the creation of an anti-hate Twitter page to teach students tolerance rather than negative sentiment associated with Covid-19.
... Hate speech has become a live area of cyberpsychology studies on a global scale. It has been defined as written, graphical or a video content that has the ability to escalate enmity against a single person or a whole group (Jääskeläinen, 2020). As this term was coined in the 90's, historically other studies often use expressions referring to abusive, offensive behaviors, intimidating, insults, threats, dehumanization, discrimination, all on the basis of ethnicity, religion, politics, sexual orientation, popularity, and other minorities (Coliver, 1992;Walker, 1994;Wentraub-Reiter, 1998;Boyle, 2001; Cohen-Almagor 2011; Erjavec, K. and Kovačič 2012a, 2012b; Cohen-Almagor, 2014). ...
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As online hate is ubiquitous and spread on the cyberspace, new studies are needed to understand its nature and evolution. We have researched young adults from Poland, India, Romania and Bulgaria to study their hate experiences. We have found out that online hate is an inherent part of their cyberspace activities. This implies a necessity of ongoing education at this field as current skills of participants on dealing with hate speech and possibilities of support as well as legal responsibilities remain relatively low.
... I have become an activist in countering discrimination, and have developed my teaching to include human rights education. I have started to act for change (Jääskeläinen, 2019). ...
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Jääskeläinen, T. (forthcoming). Individual becomes collective becomes individual: Collective Memory-Work as a reciprocal and continuous learning process for hybrid artists. In R. Hamm (Ed.) Special Issue “Collective Memory-Work”. Other Education: The Journal of Educational Alternatives, 9(1). Abstract: Collective Memory-Work is a method that aims to question and change the general ways of thinking that lie behind our theoretical assumptions. One of the principal ideas in memory-work is that individual persons actively participate in their own formation as social beings and parts of existing social structures. In this way, the individual becomes the collective. The Collective Memory-Work approach was originally developed within a feminist framework, but it has been widely adapted to more general contexts, including the arts. In this article I reflect on my experiences as a learner in the light of memory-work’s potential for, and challenges in, bringing the individual into the collective and then back from the collective to the individual. At the same time, I present the role of arts in my experiences of using the memory-work method. Finally, I discuss the potential of Collective Memory-Work as a reciprocal and continuous learning process for hybrid artists, enabling them to develop their identity as artists and introduce their artistic methods and products into collective learning processes in order to meet the growing needs for creativity, collaboration, change, and well-being in society.
... Increasing online hate content has motivated researchers and educational institutions to enhance the awareness of the users on hate content [48]. In addition to strengthening the legal framework, Appropriate expressions can be used to reduce the influence of hate content by means of arts education [49]. Determining the sources of harm is significant to frame policy measures to counter hate content effectively [50]. ...
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Chapter
Hate Speech ist nicht nur ein Online-Phänomen. Vielmehr begegnen Schüler*innen und Lehrer*innen diesem Phänomen auch im analogen Raum der Schule. Dieser in der aktuellen Diskussion eher vernachlässigte Aspekt wird im vorliegenden Beitrag in den Fokus gerückt. Auf der Grundlage begrifflicher Eingrenzungen und einer Sichtung der Forschungslandschaft werden die Analysen einer didaktischen Fallarbeit vorgestellt. Die Ergebnisse zeigen eine mikrosoziale Varianz von Hate Speech-Situationen, die in den vier typischen Realisierungsvarianten (1) distanzierend-pauschale Gruppenabwertung, (2) statusorientiert-pauschale Gruppenabwertung, (3) konfliktbelastet-personale Abwertung und (4) statusorientiert-personale Abwertung systematisiert wird. Die Ergebnisse werden schließlich im Hinblick auf ihre Relevanz für pädagogisches Handeln befragt. Am Ende steht der Vorschlag für eine Thematisierung von Hate Speech in der Lehrkräftebildung.
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