By: Hafeez ul Rehman
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will really hurt me!”
In a recently concluded workshop which was successfully organised by a lahore based organisation “ Bargad” on the most important topic of today’s time “Hate speech and Religious exclusion”, where youngsters belonging to different religions participated and proceeded the interesting discussion ahead.
It opened several diverse perspectives of hate speech happening around us all which we rarely pay heed to.
As far as hate speech is concerned, it starts from single individual to a group on the basis of attributes such as religion, gender , ethnic origin , race, disability and sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, Hate speech has successfully settled its strong roots in educational Institutions where students are bullied and hated with offensive words. A friend belonging to a minority community once narrated his experience of being teased on the basis of his skin tone and religious belief during school years.
Similarly, hate speech on the name of gender differences in educational institutions is quite alarming as well. According to a report by Child Trends, “overall percentage of students who reported hate speech differ for males and females by the percentage of 8% and 7% respectively, males report higher rates of race and ethnicity related hate speech, while female reports higher rates of gender- related hate speech with 1.9% and 0.6% respectively .”
The report further revealed that “ Asian students had the highest rate of reported hate speech, while non- Hispanic (white students) had the lowest 8.8% and 1.7%, respectively.” This shows how the menace of hate speech is deeply induced in the educational Institutions— which are basically meant to bring the diversity and inclusive behaviour among students.
A realistic analyzation of the causes of such behavioural patterns in the educational institutions shows a bigger societal flaw. Students take on this loathsome technique due to bigotry, racism, anger, showoffs and out of feeling of being superior and powerful. Parental upbringing, lack of proper sensitisation for certain issues and overall surrounding environment play huge role in deciding perspectives of children.
The resulting impacts are putting many students’ academic career and even lives in danger-zones. However, it can be curbed if efficient policies are introduced in the form of establishing conducive class environment where all cultures are respected and appreciated, building class empathy, introducing inclusive syllabus and by making groups of students in the class where they can analyse hate speech on their own.
This way they will have a sense of realisation, understanding and absolute awareness of the causes and consequences of hate speech and this might drive them not to use insensitive language in educational institutions or anywhere else.