Political Scientist and Coordinator of the Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement’s Academy shares his take on how hate speech can be eliminated.
Where is this growing hate speech coming from ?
Elvis Ngolle Ngolle : The causes of hate speech are various and no matter the perspective or definition one adopts, hate speech is bad, dirty, unhealthy. For the society, the nation including the author of such speech because hate leads to xenophobia, it is a reflection of a phobia and makes the targeted group or individual angry, provoked and agitated ant it often leads to social, political conflicts which causes destruction and deaths. It’s causes often and always stem from the following, inferiority or superiority complexes, inflated egos, poor upbringing, low achievement, mental genetic propensities, demonic character traits, selfish mentalities, ignorance about others or of the prevailing culture, norms or laws, social deviance, the absence of laws and institutions of social control and regulation.
How is hate speech a threat to our national unity?
Hate speech is a threat to national unity in the following ways; deprivation and exclusion of some groups from national cake, benefits, advantages sense of common belonging to the same nation. Thus creating marginalization, injustice, inequities amongst groups and unequal access to opportunities such as the protection of the laws, employment, and appointments to public offices, alienation of excluded groups, emigration and internal social displacements. It creates low levels of social cohesion and living together or peaceful coexistence as it breaks trust, creates social misunderstandings, and discourages patriotism, nationalism, and feelings of common belonging. Hate speech destroys the spirit of a common fatherland, creates the conditions for civil disorder and political polarization, distorts or depresses economic performance, as citizens tend to feel negative rather than positive. Social Street riots and demonstrations are the most frequent manifestations of the consequences of hate speech all of which make it difficult for the state and the regime to craft or build the nation and ensure the unity of the nation as citizens manifest negative forms of resistance instead of support for the nation building policies.
What can be done to expunge hate speech from our country as we celebrate our National Day ?
As we celebrate our national unity for the 49th year since the 1972 peaceful referendum or since the reunification 60 years ago whichever date we choose to emphasize, we can prevent or stop hate speech by doing the following things. Citizens must denounce and condemn anybody or group, political leader, political party, civil society group or leader who carries out hate speech. Citizen education must become part of the work and programs of political parties, NGOs, schools in their teaching programs, moral and ethical education must be included in school teaching programs from primary to universities. The media and NGOs must commit to a more positive engagement for nation building by avoiding bad political networks and fake news. Political party leaders and their militants should be civil, patriotic, of good faith and honest and must commit to respect and reverence for the rule of law. State institutions and the laws must be more and more efficient, efficacious and seen to be just.
Interview: Jude Viban