HATE SPEECH – Jelena Vujic

University of Belgrade

“One of the features that has slowly grown to become the most striking in the political discourse is the use of words and expressions which either overtly or covertly express hateful meaning. The use of such linguistic means with the aim to insult the addressee(s) is commonly referred to as hate speech. It has profiled as a distinctive subgenre of the language of politics as across the world, political campaigns, parliamentary debates and political dialogues are full of derogatory terms and expressions  aimed at the other whose tone is intensively insulting end overtly aggressive. Examples from the US Presidential Campaign in 2016 and Serbian Presidential Campaign in 2107 will be provided at the event of the World Cafe as they contain a lot of  vulgar, harsh, insulting and discriminatory language like Mexico was deliberately sending rapists into the US.  (The Guardian, June 16, 2015.)

Webster’s dictionary defines hate speech as “speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people.” It is intentionally full of provocations with the aim of harming an individual or a group of people often on the basis of their race, gender, ethnicity, physical or mental features etc. The key feature of hate speech is intention on the part of the one who utters the hateful words.

From a more social and political perspective, hate speech is viewed as “advocacy, promotion, or incitement, in any form, of the denigration, hatred, or vilification of a person, as well as any harassment, insult, negative stereotyping, stigmatization or threat […] on the ground of race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, language, religion or belief, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics or status (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance’s General policy recommendation on combating hate speech).

Socially speaking, hate speech is defined as a failure of communication.”

– Jelena Vujic, University of Belgrade