Note Written by Peter Mapuor, $1,000 grant winner for PeaceTech Lab’s Juba Stop Hate Speech Workshop
I firmly believe that the uptick in online hate speech around the world has a lot more to do with ignorance than it does any issue having to do with ethnicity, tribe, race, or anything else. This ignorance is costing us greatly. All around the world, and especially in my home country of South Sudan, hate speech has caused violence, ignited conflicts, and has had a deeply enormous and negative influence. The world is more connected now, meaning that we can more easily and quickly communicate with people on a very large scale, but that has also meant that people with ill intentions can also easily and quickly spread dangerous speech on a very large scale.
That’s why, with the help of PeaceTech Lab, I’m excited to launch the Zero Ignorance Campaign because I think it’s time we get to the root of the problem using the same tools that people are using today for evil.
I’ll begin at the outset with what we envision for the #ZeroIgnorance211 campaign:
Awareness: We want to ensure internet users are equipped with a moral and ethical lense to identify hate speech.
Boldness: We want to empower people to proactively intervene on behalf of others when they see instances of hate terms being used towards another person.
Tolerance: We want to arm people with the capacity to perhaps not understand, but endure opinions that may differ from theirs without harmful reactions.
Responsibility: We want people to hold themselves and others accountable for the actions that they take offline and especially online. We want them to know that words do matter and what they say can have a severe consequence.
We know there is so much work to do, so we’ll be using every tool at our disposal, from vlogs and podcasts to radio shows to ensure that the very tools people are using to spread hate speech will be used to educate and create awareness and tolerance.
As we ramp up our campaign, we want to ask you: What’s the one thing you can do to eradicate hate speech?