Hate on the Internet: Two Hour Lesson Plan


Objectives:
  • Students will understand why it is important to carefully examine information posted on the Internet.
  • Students will acquire tips for using the Internet and develop skills for evaluating web sites.
  • Students will examine who hate groups are and what they do based on scenarios provided throughout the lesson.
  • Students will identify what hate groups are trying to accomplish when they use the Internet to publicize their ideas.
  • Students will become familiar with common terms used by hate groups.
  • Students will develop an action plan for what they might do when they confront hate on the Internet.
Requirements:

Materials:
handouts (attached): Identifying Hate on the Internet: Daniel's Story; Addressing Hate on the Internet: An Information Sheet for Internet Users; Addressing Hate on the Internet: Hate Site Propaganda; Addressing Hate on the Internet: The Pyramid of Hate; Fighting Hate on the Internet: A Web Site Evaluation.

Time:
one to two hours

Techniques and Skills: large-group discussion, small group discussion, writing skills, computer skills, obtaining consensus, critical-thinking skills, brainstorming

Key Words: pro-White, racialism / racialist, supremacy, superiority, separate and equal, mainstream, extreme, rights, pride, revisionist, RAC (Rock Against Communism), anti-Communist, anti-Semitism, anti-immigration, anti-Black, anti-gay, racist

Procedures:

Part I: Identifying Hate on the Internet


This is an interactive discussion, accompanied by handouts. Begin with the following background information:

When you go online, you have access to millions of strangers and they have access to you. Like any public space, some people in chat rooms and some people who create web sites are not the kind of people with whom you would want to share your identity because doing so might jeopardize your safety.


1. Begin a discussion with students about this topic by asking the following questions:
  • What are some of the ways that the Internet is a useful tool? (e.g., communication, education, entertainment, business)
  • Do you think that the Internet can be dangerous? Explain your thinking or give an example.
  • How have you heard the word "racist" used? How would you define the term "racist?"
  • Who knows what a chat room is? Explain.
  • Do you think that chat rooms can be a dangerous medium? Do any of you have any specific experiences with chat rooms that you'd like to share? (an example might address personal safety in chat rooms)
  • Do you think that chat rooms target a specific audience? Explain your thinking or give an example. (an example of a target audience might be children or young adults)
  • Have you ever been part of a chat room discussion in which either you or someone else gave out false information? Why do you believe people use chat rooms to create false identities?
1.Have students discuss what might happen if someone revealed his or her identity (e.g., name, address, ethnicity) to someone in the chat room who might be racist.

2. Distribute the Identifying Hate on the Internet handout. Have students read and discuss the story of Daniel (activity could be used in both small and large group discussions).

3. Brainstorm students' responses to other kinds of hate that could exist on the Internet.

4. Ask students if they've ever experienced such kinds of hate. Have students brainstorm what they could do if they encountered hate on the Internet.

5. Present students with the following scenario and have a whole group discussion with the questions that follow.
A group of students at your school designs a web site. On this web site is a message that names you and fifteen other students as not having passed your grade level tests. It also says that your scores are too low to even come close to fulfilling graduation requirements. The web site continues to say that you pay the principal every year so he will allow you to continue your education and ignore your test scores. The posting concludes with the statement: "We're gonna get you for this!"

  • How do you think you might react to this?

  • Why do you think some people do hateful things to other people?

  • If the other students say it was only a joke because everyone knows how smart you all are, how can this still be harmful?

  • Do you think the truth matters in this case? Why or why not?

  • Do you think that things like name calling, believing rumors and other misinformation, stereotyping or prejudice can eventually lead people to more hateful attitudes and behaviors? Explain your thinking.


Part II: Addressing Hate on the Internet


(The students should now have a glimpse into what "hate on the Internet" means.)


1. Ask students what they know about Freedom of Speech. Then, hand out or read the following passage and discuss the meaning of the First Amendment. Have the students brainstorm why hate isn't censored on the Internet.

Listen carefully to the following passage. This is the freedom of Speech clause of the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."


2. In light of the First Amendment, have students consider the following scenario:

You are surfing the Internet and you type in "Confederate" because you are learning about the Civil War. You want more information about slavery and about how the South wanted to secede from the union. You come across a web site that has amazing graphics, a picture of the Confederate flag and a number of links to regional Ku Klux Klan groups.

ASK THE CLASS: What images or thoughts come to your mind when you see links to the Ku Klux Klan?

THEN: Perhaps you want to check your perceptions - you're curious - so and you click onto one of the KKK web sites. The site says the following:


"This is not a hate page. We only wish to express our pride in our White Heritage. There are many political groups who voice their opinions--Black groups, Communist groups. We believe everybody should be proud of what and who they are."


NOW ASK


What are your thoughts about this web site now?

What are some possible reasons why the site might offer a disclaimer?

Does anyone know what "propaganda" means?

How does the term "propaganda" apply to the example of the KKK web site?

Explain your thinking or give examples.


(THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRAINSTORM AND DISCUSS PROPAGANDA AND PUBLIC ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT CERTAIN HATE GROUPS.)
The web site goes on to say: "We continue to fight our battles to protect the rights of White Christians on the street and in the courts."


CONTINUE YOUR DISCUSSION:


How might standing up for one's rights lead to violence in this case?

What are some key words that might alert you to this?

Do you believe, at this point, that this might be a dangerous hate site?

Why or why not?


3. Refer to the Addressing Hate on the Internet: Addressing Hate Site Propaganda handout to continue the discussion of this scenario.

[NOTE: The handout incorporates the KKK web site example, to facilitate small group work as an alternative to a large-group discussion.]
4. Begin a discussion with the group by posing the following questions.
  • Do you think it is significant that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan use the Internet to express their ideas? Explain your thinking.
  • If a hate crime is defined as an act which results in injury or property damage or threatens violence, what is missing from the above example that would link it to hate violence?


  5. Continue with the following example. This example may be either read aloud or referred to in the Addressing Hate on the Internet: Addressing Hate Site Propaganda handout.

[NOTE: The language used in this example is offensive. You may want to discuss the use of such language with the students before proceeding.]

On May 16, 2000, the last two suspects in a 1963 Alabama bombing were indicted for murder. There were four suspects, three of whom were convicted, who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in which four young black girls were murdered in Birmingham, Alabama. All four men were members of the Ku Klux Klan organization known as The United Klans of America, one of the most violent hate groups in American history. In addition, James Knowles, a member of the United Klans of America, and one of two men convicted for the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald, a black teenager, testified at his trial that he killed Michael Donald "in order to show Klan strength in Alabama . . .. carrying out the orders" of his United Klans of American leader. The second man involved in Michael Donald's lynching said that "a nigger ought to be hanged by the neck until dead to put them in their place." In 1995, the American Knights of the KKK was established to reinvent the KKK as a civic organization for white people. And in 1999, this group changed its name to Church of the American Knights of the KKK. At a rally, this group told the crowd: "We hate Jews, We hate niggers. . . . I'm a Yankee and I have never heard the word thank you in the nigger vocabulary. . . . We don't like you niggers. . . . Tell me one thing your race has accomplished."


6. Continue the discussion by brainstorming some of the following questions with the group:
  • How might you connect the KKK's seemingly harmless web site to these acts of hate and violence?
  • Do you notice a pattern in the development of hate? Explain your thinking.
  • Refer students to the attached handout, Addressing Hate on the Internet: A Pyramid of Hate. Discuss the Pyramid of Hate as it relates to the example of the KKK web site.
  • A common reaction of people who use language as an act of bias is "They are just words. They don't mean anything!" How might a person refute such a statement?
  • Another common reaction of people who use language as an act of bias is "It's just a joke! Don't you have a sense of humor?" How might a person refute such a statement?
  • Do you think this means that a person should never make a joke? Under what circumstances are some jokes dangerous or acts of bias?
7. Continue by reading the following passage aloud:

Listen carefully to the following passage. This is the Freedom of Speech clause of the First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  


8. Facilitate a discussion based on the importance of the First Amendment using some of the following questions as a starting point:
  • How can you relate this clause from the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights to hate speech on the Internet?
  • Why might a person pay attention to a web site that supports words or acts of bias?
  • Using the example of the KKK web site, what tactics did the Klan use on the Internet to attract followers?
9. Continue by reading the following passage aloud or photocopy the shaded section and distribute it to students for future reference.

Hate groups seek to attract followers by saying things that will make people feel better about themselves, even if these things are not true. For example:

Some sites hide hate behind Anti-Authority and Anti-Conformity messages.

One racist, rock music record label calls itself the "pro-white alternative" and asks listeners to "ignite the revolution." Hate communicated in this way appeals especially to rebellious teens that often reject authority without examining it or its intentions.

Some sites focus on Holocaust Denial.

These are web sites that allege that the Holocaust did not happen, despite the fact that it is one of the most well documented historical events. This propaganda is presented as academic fact and takes advantage of a web user's difficulty in distinguishing between reputable and disreputable web sites. The Holocaust is a real tragedy, demonstrating actual and extreme acts of violent hate.

Some sites encourage White Rights and White Preservation.


Groups like the National Organization for European American Rights (NOFEAR), led by David Duke, claim that they are not racist; instead, they are "anti-immigration" or "racialist." They claim that they are not anti-Black; but they offer partial and distorted information to "prove" white superiority.  



Part III: Fighting Hate on the Internet


1. Ask the students to make up an example of a web site that demonstrates ANY level of the Pyramid of Hate. Instruct them to imagine that they come across this web site as they surf the web. Brainstorm with them: Now that we've discussed "Hate on the Internet" and you have more information about it, what would you do if you came upon a "hate site?" What, if anything, should you do? Allow this to develop into a discussion.

2. Provide students with Hate Crime brochure (produced by the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission), attached.

3. Read the following aloud, or photocopy the shaded section to distribute to the class, or copy the information onto the board as class notes. After reading the passage, ask the class what they might do if they were to come across a web site that is suspicious. How might they handle the situation if they are not sure whether it is a hateful web site?

The First Amendment protects speech that is critical, annoying, offensive or demeaning. But it does not provide protection for:
  • libelous speech (saying things about people that you know are not true in an effort to make them look bad)
  • copyright infringement (using a literary or artistic work without the permission of the person who owns the right to use that work)
  • speech that threatens people (declaring that you plan to hurt specific people)
  • speech that harasses people (repeatedly saying things that injure specific people emotionally or deeply affect them physically)
 


  4. Refer students to the handout, Fighting Hate on the Internet: A Web Site Evaluation and discuss.

5. Continue the discussion by breaking the class into small groups. Have the small groups brainstorm what actions they might take if they were to encounter a hateful web site. The following are some acceptable responses:

  • make a note of the web site address

  • remove the hate site from your screen

  • install filtering software in your personal computer

  • let responsible authorities know about the threatening, hateful and violent material you find (parents, teachers, police)


Identifying Hate on the Internet: Daniel's Story

Scenario:


 
Daniel, a twelve-year-old boy, entered a chat room one day from home. Another boy who was in the room greeted Daniel and they proceeded to "chat." They discovered that they were both White Sox fans, so the boy typed, "Perhaps we can meet one day and go to a baseball game. What's your real name (not online name) and home phone number?" Daniel was excited to go to a game and he entered his information. As they continued writing, they discussed their families' origins. Daniel wrote that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors from Europe who were liberated after being in concentration camps for two years. The other boy didn't respond and logged offline. Within five minutes, Daniel received numerous e-mails saying: "Die Jew!" He received repeated phone calls repeating the same message. His parents finally were forced to disconnect the phone. When they asked what happened, Daniel told them the story. They asked him who the other boy was, but Daniel didn't know his real identity. When his parents asked to see the hate-filled e-mail messages, Daniel told them he deleted them as soon as he got them because they were so disturbing. Fortunately, Daniel did not give out his home address.


Directions:

In your small groups, read the scenario above. As you read, think about how you might react, each step of the way, if you had been Daniel. Then, answer the following questions together as a group.

1. Describe, in your own words, what happened to Daniel.

2. How was he feeling before the hate message? After the hate message?

3. What could he have done to avoid this experience?

4. What would you have done if you had been in the chat room when these hateful messages popped up?
5. What are some of possible ways that people can protect themselves from this kind of hate on the Internet?

6. Do you think it is ever safe to reveal personal information over the Internet? If yes, when? If no, why not?

Addressing Hate on the Internet: An Information Sheet for Internet Users


DID YOU KNOW…..? An Information Sheet for Internet Users


Did You Know?
  • For years, hate groups have created written materials of every kind to spread their propaganda. As communication technologies change, these groups have kept up--from standard broadcast-band and short-wave radios to public access cable television. Most recently, bigots of all kinds have recognized the Internet's power and have begun to use it to spread their hateful messages. Especially troublesome are hate sites that target adolescents using rebellious rock music, such as the Resistance Records web site. (Source: Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online: An ADL Report on Internet Bigotry, Extremism and Violence, New York, NY: Anti-Defamation League, 1999.)
  • The Internet, when used appropriately, can be a valuable tool in education, enrichment, commerce and entertainment!
  • Some web sites are well researched and truthful while others are filled with inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies.
  • Chat rooms are filled with all kinds of people, not all of whom are who they claim to be.
  • There is no "truth police" on the Internet. There are no "fact checkers" who watch out for inaccurate information.
  • People who create and post web sites are not obligated to provide proof for what they are saying on the web site.
  • Many web pages look official but may be inaccurate or filled with hate.
  • There are many hundreds of hate sites on the Internet.
  • Many hate sites try to lure young people with anti-authority messages.
  • Attractive graphics are an easy way to entice new viewers, despite the web site's hate-filled message.


Addressing Hate on the Internet: Hate Site Propaganda


DIRECTIONS: In your small groups, read the following scenario and answer the questions that follow.
You are surfing the Internet and you type in "Confederate" because you are learning about the Civil War. You want more information about slavery and about how the South wanted to secede from the union. You come across a web site that has amazing graphics, a picture of the Confederate flag and a number of links to regional Ku Klux Klan groups.

You click on one of the links, just because you're sort of curious. It's a very official looking site, and the first thing that comes onto the screen is the following statement:

"This is not a hate page. We only wish to express our pride in our White Heritage. There are many political groups who voice their opinions-- such as

Black groups and Communist groups.

We believe everybody should be proud of what and who they are."

The web site goes on to say: "We continue to fight our battles to protect the rights of White Christians on the street and in the courts." You scroll down the screen, and immediately following the previous statement, there is a picture of a cross burning, and Ku Klux Klan members (wearing their traditional white robes and pointed hats) are encircling the flaming cross. The web site then offers ten reasons to support the Ku Klux Klan. The site describes the Klan as "Christian," "legal," "secret," and "free speech advocates." It continues: "We know that the strongest supporters are often not able to pay, and we wouldn't want to sacrifice our strongest members, so we only request donations if you are able to contribute. Our membership is free. You must fill out our membership registration form, giving us your name, address, and racial background. You cannot write comments because there are always Blacks who can't avoid using profanity. And since we don't want profanity on our site, they have ruined it for White Christians. Please register now and enter our chat room."  



1. How did your feelings about this site change from the beginning of the scenario to the end? Explain.

2. What do you already know about the Ku Klux Klan? Did this influence your response to the web site?

3. What if you encounter a web site that is equally attractive, free and seems to be "Pro-Rights," but is a group that you've never heard of before. How will you know whether it is a hate site or not?

4. What, if anything, would you do to find out more about the web site?

5. What are some of the things you could do to verify the information provided or to cross-reference the sources?



Addressing Hate on the Internet: The Pyramid of Hate

THE PYRAMID OF HATE

THE PYRAMID OF HATE
Source: A World of Difference® Anti-Bias Study Guide (Secondary Level). New York, NY: Anti-Defamation League, 2000.



Fighting Hate on the Internet: A Web Site Evaluation


DIRECTIONS: Complete the evaluation below as completely as you can. If a question cannot be answered, write "no information" or "not applicable" on the line. Include examples or key ideas when responding to the questions when useful for clarification.

I. General Information
a) Name of web site

b) Web site address

c) Subject of web site

II. Design and Navigation a) Does the home page include a table of contents or a menu?

b) Does the text relate to any graphics, sounds or videos that are included at this site? If so, give examples.

c) If there are links, do they take you where you are supposed to go? If not, what is the problem linking to other sites?

d) Can you navigate around the web site without getting lost or confused?

III. Authority

a)Is there a statement explaining the purpose of this site? If so, what is it?

b) Who is responsible for this web site (person or group)?

c) Can someone be contacted off-line about this web site? If so, who?

d) Have the authors of this site explained where they got their information?

IV. Content

a) Does this web site include the date that it was written?

b) When was it last updated?

c) Does the site cover what it says it's supposed to cover?

d) Does the information seem reliable?

e) How could you or how did you verify the information?

f) Give an example of something at this site that you might want to verify using another source and explain why.

g) Do you think this site would help you learn about the topic you are studying? If so, in what ways?

h) What key words do you notice in this site?

i) What is the relevance of these key words? How might they help you determine whether a site is misleading?

V. Opinion Rating


a) Why does (or doesn't) the web site interest you?

b) Would you recommend this site to someone else studying this topic? Explain why or why not.


© 2002 Anti-Defamation League