In an increasingly interconnected world, where words and images flow across screens at an astonishing speed, hate speech continues to take root in every corner of society. But let's go in stages. In fact, by definitions.
Echoes of hate: hate speech beyond the screen
Hateful expression directed, in the presence of or through media, against individuals or entire segments of the population.
The Treccani dictionary definition of hate speech traces the contours of a problem that has deep roots and complex ramifications. Although it is common to identify this phenomenon with the incessant spiral of insults that proliferate online, especially on social media, it is essential not to overlook its tangible manifestations, such as the hate writings that litter city walls.
Hatred is a cumbersome feeling. An emotional experience that finds its origin in a multiplicity of factors such as cultural, religious, political, or personal differences, as well as from prejudice and intolerance. A force that sets in motion a series of emotional and behavioral reactions that are often irrational and impulsive. In this context, the line between free speech and incitement to violence becomes thin, almost imperceptible.
Words are transformed, taking the form of insults and threats.
The United Nations Hate Speech Strategy and Action Plan was created with the goal of calling on people to take lucid action by turning away misinformation and disinformation.
Exploring the root causes of the proliferation of the phenomenon, enhancing counter speech, promoting advocacy activities and awakening collective consciousness are crucial steps toward its mitigation.
Against the most stubborn dirt
From indifference to action.
This is the common thread behind the multichannel initiative of ACE, a brand of Fater, a company headquartered in Pescara and a joint venture between Angelini Industries and P&G. From the collaboration with Retake, a voluntary association, and Diversity Lab, an organization committed to promoting a culture of inclusion and the value of diversity, in the media, companies and civil society, came the desire to build an awareness campaign against hate and discrimination.
This journey began with the airing of the "AntiHate" campaign on all of ACE's corporate channels. The protagonists of this first step are 4 stories of discrimination named after Carlo Maria, a victim of homophobia, Elisa, a victim of bodyshaming, Mark and Osayi both victims of different forms of racism.
In 2021 alone, 1,379 racist, homotransphobic, anti-semitic and ableist attacks were recorded. 466 more than in 2020.
These are the figures from UNAR - National Office for Racial Anti-Discrimination - that open the campaign video. Thought-provoking numbers that have led ACE and supporters of the initiative, to head for the second leg of the journey: "Scendiamo in Piazza." Four events in four Italian cities - Rome, Milan, Pescara and Palermo - planned as part of the urban redevelopment nature of the project.
A form of activism that ACE in 2023 renewed with the involvement of primary and secondary school students in a creative project to develop their active citizenship skills in caring for their local area. More than 500 schools and over 10,000 students submitted a project to redevelop their "A place in the heart," or an area of the city they wanted to see improved. In each of the 4 cities, a winning school was decreed and the chosen park redevelopment project started with the support of Retake.
During the stages, school children also participated in a workshop on inclusive language organized by Diversity Lab with the aim of spreading the principles and values of diversity.
In this context, erasing hate from walls is much more than a symbolic act. It is not just about physically removing offensive graffiti. It means making one's own contribution to confronting the deep roots of hatred and fear that spawned them. Discriminatory writing on city walls is like an open wound waiting to be healed.