A perspective of young Caribbean women – global issues

  • Opinion by Isheba Cornwall (Mona, Jamaica)
  • Inter press service

As a black student from Jamaica, especially as part of Generation Z, I experienced countless attacks in the form of hate speech. This phenomenon has grown tremendously over the years, taking various forms and forms. One of the main reasons for this is the advancement of technology and even more the creation of new media or social media.

Interestingly, however, the same platforms used to perpetuate hate speech can also be used to combat it in creative ways. We need to realize that we are an unhappy generation of young people.

Because of the conflicting beliefs and views we have about identity, we are constantly struggling to embrace the uniqueness of the other. Sadness engulfs us and acts as a catalyst for hate speech. Which, if left untreated, catapults into violent behavior.

We are often not impressed by the power of language and are not interested in how our speech can cause harm. Many reasons come to mind when thinking about why the contagious disease of hatred continues to spread.

One of the main reasons is the lack of education that results from socializing in a way that glorifies hatred and celebrates violence. This is not an idea based on simple observation, but rather the reality for many Caribbean people – including me – who have been raised in vulnerable communities.

The sad truth is that the people in charge of caring for us have been raised in a toxic environment that fails to teach them how to communicate properly with other people, especially those who may be different from them.

Therefore, the need to express dissatisfaction is almost always done in a way that exudes hatred. That’s what they learned. And really, that’s what they know.

It’s like a full circle: the older generations teach us, their children, to express hatred, and so the cycle of hatred continues. Although there are many ways to combat this view, which encourages hate speech, including through social institutions such as schools and churches, other stakeholders have a role to play, including the media. They are needed to develop a community of emotionally intelligent and understanding people.

From the Caribbean’s point of view, hatred is spreading because of the negative stereotypes that emerge from our history, such as through colonization. Negative stereotypes see some groups or individuals as different or inferior to others.

For example, a man with lighter skin gets a job instead of a dark-skinned woman like me. Or a man gets paid more than a friend of mine who is a woman who is equally qualified.

Harmful stereotypes fuel hate speech and appear when we see the idea that one group is better and another lower. This pitted us against each other, and to reinforce this, we turn to social media and spew hateful comments at people from groups seen as “less than”.

Unfortunately, this way of thinking is ingrained in our minds, and without the desire to wean ourselves off these tendencies, hate speech – and ultimately violence – will persist.

Hate speech is one of those problems that can affect society and make it worse. Hate phrases and casual racist comments – the language used to emphasize our aversion to something or someone – are omnipotent, influential and dangerous.

Especially when many people believe them. Hate speech, if allowed to flourish, can lead to severe acts of violence on a large scale. And it is no secret that hate speech contributes to hate crimes.

Therefore, we need innovative and creative ways to combat hate speech. I believe that both traditional and new media can provide support. For example, by conceptualizing and creating educational, entertaining and engaging programs on television and radio for young people.

But to convince young people, they must believe that everyone who shares this information with them understands their circumstances and that the story told to them is relevant to their lives.

Given the theory of self-improvement – a theory that suggests that people who consume mostly television programs are more likely to perceive the real world in the way most often depicted in television messages, we could say that the constant display of programs that show acts of hatred as unacceptable can have a positive impact on viewers, which can affect their behavior.

With the rise of social media, the transmission of information is as fast as the speed of light, and unfortunately hate speech or cyber hatred is closely followed. I have never browsed social networks in which I have not encountered offensive speech. It is worrying that one person is not engaged in hate speech; rather, it is often a large group of people – perhaps due to misconceptions and misinformation.

Creative campaigns through social media platforms can also help combat the problem. This will not solve the problem; however, social media can be used to combat hate speech through “contradictions.”

It is the sharing of easily digestible content focused on inclusion, equality and diversity. Imagine fun videos teaching young people how to disrespect respect, or “live” sessions with influential people talking about their hate speech experiences.

Live sessions with influential people using humor and creative campaigns would be quite powerful nowadays and could make a very accurate statement so loud that young people would be forced to listen and pay attention.

Much more can be done, for example, by creating codes of conduct that would in some way influence online behavior. The ultimate goal would be to educate young people so that they want to be respected and not indulge in hate speech.

I can see and imagine a society full of love, peace and understanding. Although there is no single cure for hate speech, my desire is for young people to stand up and fight it so that this disease has no place in our society.

We need to rethink and redefine our ideas of identity, gender and race. And those who work together to create new pressure points to deal with hate speech need to listen to the voices of young people.

The author is a social media strategist, radio host and producer, and an integrated marketing communications program student at the Caribbean School of Media and Communications at the Mona Campus in Jamaica at the University of the West Indies, a member institution of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).

To learn more about the problems and work that the United Nations is doing to combat hate speech, visit Hate speech The united nations. Please join the #NoToHate Hate Speech Campaign (feel free to use the assets available here)

Source: UN Academic Impact, United Nations

IPS Office of the United Nations


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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter press service

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