Joining an anti hate group isn’t for everyone. Even when the daily death threats finally become as commonplace as the morning coffee anti hate work still brings with it challenges and negativity that most people understandably don’t want to bring into their lives. But the passion of the British public for tolerance remains strong with many groups and individuals asking how they can do their bit to help fight the evil that is hatred and racism in our country.
Probably the most important thing you can do is stand up to hate when you find it. This might seem a small thing but in being clear that you personally will not tolerate hate speech you cut off the oxygen supply for the hater. He’s lost his audience. There is also the hope that if you can explain why you do not find hate speech (be it racism, Islamophobia, Anti Semitism etc.) acceptable your words will have an educational effect and encourage those who mindlessly spout hate to think about what actually it is they are promoting.
It is crucial to tackle issues of hate leading to discrimination too. If you know of colleagues who recruit with a racial bias or who treat staff of one faith differently to another, blow the whistle. Many companies have safe and anonymous procedures to do this. To do even more to keep your workplace tolerant see if there are any equality and diversity groups you can join. Get involved. Share with your colleagues what you are doing and why and let your positivity be an influence for the good throughout your entire company.
Tackling haters face to face isn’t for everyone. There are circumstances where it is neither safe nor practical. Strangers spouting their views publicly in an aggressive manner may well be very dangerous to approach. The best suggestion in situations where actual abuse is taking place is to take a record of the incident. It is ideal to capture footage on a smart phone but failing that do try and memorise as much detail as you can so it can be relayed to the police afterwards.
Equally as important as confronting and reporting the perpetrator of the hate is supporting the victim afterwards. In most cases of public abuse the victim is a female on their own. Often these people are frightened and intimidated after being attacked. Support can take practical steps like helping them to a police station or buying them a coffee but on a deeper level it will help reinforce to the victim that the country isn’t filled with people who share the same views as the hater. This is important. Be upfront about it. Share the fact that the majority of people despise hate and the people who spout it. Help the victim to reclaim their faith in the world.
You may be lucky enough never to see an incident that requires intervention or victim support but this does not mean there are no practical ways for you to put good into the world. Support groups are crying out for donations. The money you give will help keep phone lines open, publicise educational anti hate material and support local communities in integrating and working together.
The modern world of technology even facilitates you fighting hate from the comfort of your own armchair. You can sign petitions to combat injustice, write to your MP to highlight incidents or issues in your local area, report intolerant individuals on social media and build relationships with people of other faiths and belief systems to strengthen unity between cultures in the country.
So whoever you are, whatever your ability, your confidence level or your circumstances you can add your voice to the increasingly vociferous determination of those who want a better world and are willing to put the work in to get it.
Roanna Carleton Taylor