Book Chapter: Countering hate speech

May 13, 2021

Taylor & Francis an informa business

Counterspeech refers to communication that responds to hate speech in order to reduce it and negate its harmful potential effects. This chapter defines hate speech and examines some of its negative impacts. In such scenarios, counterspeakers can play a calming role and try and prevent hateful rhetoric from turning into violence. This can involve countering hateful hashtags as they emerge following critical events or sending preventive ‘peace text’ messages promoting calm during key events or responding to false rumours. Before examining the concept of counterspeech more directly, it is important to understand that counterspeech is based on a set of assumptions. The chapter examines the audiences, goals, and tactics of counterspeech and then its messaging and effects. The importance of source credibility in persuasion is not unique to counterspeech and has been advocated as far back as at least Aristotle, who saw the credibility of the speaker to the audience as a central component of effective rhetoric.

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