There is a problem with hate speech in Poland. According to the study performed, nearly two-thirds of young Poles had come into contact with hate speech online, with roughly the same amount encountering verbal hate speech from their peers or on the street. That’s why Stefan Batory Foundation decided to initiate campaign against hate speech.
Young people hear it everywhere: at school, in the coffee shop, on the street. Hate speech is present and common in their daily life. Many of them do not even recognize hate speech for what it is, because they feel “everyone” use such terms.
– Surprisingly a lot of people accept hate speech and do not see anything inflammatory in it. The research we conducted last year shows that the more we hear hate speech, the less sensitive we become to it and the more we accept it. – says Michał Bilewicz from Warsaw University Centre for Research on Prejudice co-author of the Report Hate speech in Poland 2014
Report was conducted for the foundation by the CBOS research center and based on sample groups of Poles aged 16 to 18, and adults. Results of that survey were basis for that campaign, as the data were alarming.
The minorities most frequently targeted were non-heterosexuals, black people, the Romani, Muslims and Ukrainians, the report said.
Suprisingly, despite the fact that racist hate speech is most common, about 90 % of teenagers think it’s inappropriate and should be banned. On the other hand the survey showed that hate speech against non-heterosexual people receives the highest acceptance in Poland. 35 percent of adult Poles and 38 percent of young Poles see as acceptable the statement: „I understand that some people can have homosexual inclinations, this is a kind of handicap, weakness […] But poofs-activists who want privileges for homo relationships and child adoption should be fought”. The level of acceptance for anti-Muslim hate speech is also relatively high. 15 percent of adult Poles and 19 percent of young people think that the statement: „Muslims are stinky cowards, they can only murder women, children and innocent people” is admissible.
Also report Discrimination at School – Unjustified Presence conducted by Anti-discrimination Education Association shows that hate speech is ubiquitous. Young people that encounter hate speech at school are very often defenceless. Teachers don’t know how to prevent it, and here are no procedures that describe how to react. Very often, even if teachers react, they mostly focus on punishing causer, forgetting at the same time about the victim. Young people are left on their own. Very often they are more prone to addictions, depression, they back away or even try to commit a suicide – says Marta Rawłuszko from Anti-discrimination Education Association.
However it is not that difficult to help those young people. Actually it’s easier than we think. First step is to identify the problem. We should not treat hate speech amongst peers just as the youthful prank, innocent joke, or as a part of the play. We should not agree to the hate speech on the streets, at schools and on the internet. – says Agata Szypulska, campaign coordinator – The best way is to react and say Stop! – Szypulska adds.
The aim of the #StopHateSpeech #StopMowieNienawisci campaign was initiated to draw public opinion’s attention to hate speech problem. It’s targeting young people aged 15-18. As the survey „Hate speech in Poland” indicates, young people more often come into contact with hate speech, and are more likely to accept it to specific minority groups than adults.
We want to get through to young people that are not aware of the meaning and strenght of the words they use. Sometimes they use hate speech to gain the acceptance of the group of peers, or to be more noticed amongst them. We want to show them that what they say, either on the internet or in the reality, has meaning and makes hate speech more acceptable and more common. We are sending strong and straight message – hate speech is cruel, violent and … makes you look stupid.
Campaing was initiated by Stefan Batory Foundation within Citizens for Democracy Programme and financed by the EEA Funds.
Internet action was prepared in cooperation with K2 Media Agency. Films were produced by BBDO Warsaw Agency.