Internet Hate Groups Essay

For the first time in human history, we have the means to connect people from
every corner of the globe, to talk to each other and share information at a cost
that’s far more affordable than any other means of publishing in the world.

There is nothing more powerful as the Internet or the World Wide Web that has
ever existed before. Hate is scary. By definition, “Hate is an intense
hostility and emotional aversion to someone or something. It is displayed with
words, harassment and/or acts of violence including killing.” (Novick, para
4). Hate can be hidden from friends or family, but at other times it is bragged
about. Hatred can be motivated by the desire for political power, for the need
to put someone in their place, even by religious beliefs. The Internet seems to
have pushed all our buttons of paranoia, especially these days, when we’re
already confused and frightened by all the violence and chaos in our world.

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Preventing Internet Hate Crimes Controls and Mechanisms The first method is
rebuttal, a technique long used by the anti-censorship or anti-hate
organizations. “Rebuttal allows for the unrestricted dissemination of hate and
negates it by offering a more “insightful and historically accurate”
examination of political and social history.” (Guide To Hate Groups, sound
clip).This method eliminates the question of censorship and the stigma of
governmental control. But it does not compensate for the real human pain of
having swastikas, ethnocentric messages, or racial caricatures on one’s
computer screen, nor does it keep children from accessing the hate sites without
understanding the true context of the debates. The second method is that of
moral , a tactic which has been successfully used by social activists and
interest groups throughout the 20th century. “Moral persuasion would shift the
responsibility of eliminating cyber-hate from the government to non-governmental
organizations, special interest groups, and social activists, avoiding the
problem of censorship and the inadequacy of the anti-hate laws.”(Guide To Hate
Groups). Concerned individuals and organizations would consolidate and cooperate
in a social movement to increase public awareness and encourage economic
sanctions against the Internet service providers who offer access to hate
groups. Who Do We Blame? “The current problem of cyber-hate is not one of
technology, but rather one of public policy.”(Censorship) The most common
means for any government to deal with this problem is either to modify existing
legislation or to introduce new, more inclusive anti-hate laws. But policy
makers have not acted quickly enough to modify existing legislation to deal
adequately with the capabilities of the Internet. Hate groups have gained a
formidable person on the Internet and cleaning up cyber-space will be difficult.

Blame policy, not technology Addressing Cyber Hate Crimes Expose It While some
governments already have laws limiting freedom of speech, and others contemplate
limiting what is allowed on the Internet, the culture of the Net has created its
own crusaders for free expression. Rather than consider censoring or banning Net
sites that concern them, they have, using their own time and money, begun
building Web pages to expose or contradict what they find repellent. Their
philosophy is simple, let the free marketplace of ideas decide what content is
acceptable. Advocating censorship of these groups is not the answer. It will do
no good to force them underground. Linking to information that contradicts
racism and anti-Semitism on the Net is the goal of other anti-hates sites which
use the communicative powers of the Web to show alternatives to the
hate-mongers’ sites. “In the free marketplace of ideas,” they will
eventually make the “right choices.” (Hate Crimes) Crack It The
cracking of Cyber Hate pages may represent an opening shot in a new way to wage
the war of information on the Net, now hackers can just deface Web pages they
don’t like. “We may start to see opposing opinions begin to wage actual war in
the internet world. The hacker’s attack bodes ill for the future of free
expression on the Internet.” (Cyber Hate) Anti Cyber Hate Laws California’s
Assembly Bill 295 This bill would expand obscenity and child pornography
statutes to prohibit transmission of images by computer. This basically covered
all sites dealing with the illegal use of picture of minors on the Internet.

California Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998, (Hate Crime Laws) The incidence
of violence motivated by the actual or perceived race, color, national origin,
religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability of the victim poses a
serious problem. Such violence disrupts the tranquillity and safety of
communities and is deeply divisive. existing Federal law is inadequate to
address this problem, such violence affects interstate commerce. Free Speech Or
Not? Freedom of Speech and the 1st Amendment Freedom of speech is an
inextricable part of the fabric of the Internet. So much so, that no matter
where you live, whether you point to the rights represented in the US by the
First Amendment, odds are that when you log on, you access a higher level of
freedom of expression than any “off-line” citizen. However, civil
libertarians say that’s only because to most governments the Internet is still a
mystery, and lawmakers haven’t yet gotten around to applying existing statutes
or passing new ones. The very few arrests and prosecutions that make the papers
in the United States, they say, have dealt with high-publicity cases like child
pornography and hackers, not “hate crimes.” It is without a doubt the
most democratic means of communication that has ever existed”. (Censorship
Opposing, para 12). It’s incredibly important to remember that the people who
founded the United States believed so strongly that free speech is the
cornerstone of democracy. By exposing wrong or dangerous ideas gets people
talking about them, so that they can reject them. The Internet has actually done
more than any other means of communication to get millions of people involved in
talking to each other about issues and ideas that they care about. We do have a
problem here, but it is not the Internet. Now that the web has made it possible
for almost anyone to be a publisher, there is an enormous amount of electronic
junk out there, posing as fact. For example, “As a matter of constitutional
tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that
governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere
with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in
encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any
theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.” — Justice John Paul
Stevens, writing for the majority .(CIEC, para 5) As a society, we’ve gotten
quite accustomed to having our information spoon-fed to us without questioning
it. We don’t know how to tell good information from bad. Our own ignorance is
really the enemy here, not the Nazi revisionists and certainly not the Internet.

Are We Protected? There are laws against slander and libel. These laws exist so
that one can protect himself against people who use speech as a weapon, rather
than as a tool. What it comes down to is this: A society built on free speech is
a society that’s willing to take risks. It’s willing to risk that unpredictable,
individual expression may hurt or offend people, or give power to people or
groups whose rhetoric can catch hold and sway the population. In contrast, a
society that’s built on free speech is also willing to have faith that free
speech will allow the truth to prevail, and that’s more important than the risk
of humiliation, and even more important than the risk that someone might believe
a lie. “If the goal is to protect children, then parental empowerment
technology together with education provides the means. Making a law would only
lull parents into a false sense of security, into feeling that children were
protected when they are not. We know that at least 40% of the content that may
be inappropriate for children is outside the US, and beyond the reach of US
law,” said Bill Burrington, Assistant General Counsel of America
Online.(CEIC). Many lies are being told today by hate groups, and maybe some
people believe them. There is nothing so powerful about them, that gives the
government, or anyone else the power to decide whose version of history, or
whose version of the truth, should be allowed to travel along the wires of our
communications systems, including the Internet. Examples Of Hate Sites Hate
group web pages are not difficult to find. Identifying an organization as a hate
group would be somewhat of a subjective task. Some individuals would broaden
their list to include organizations that manifest various levels of intolerance
toward target populations, even though the organizations would not advocate
violence. Lists of hate groups generally include organizations that advocate
violence or unreasonable hostility toward target populations, for example.

Racists David Duke, a former Louisiana legislator and national leader of the
Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is one example of those who are
using the Internet to spread racial hatred. On his website, he writes: “Our
people (white people) will learn that our very survival is in jeopardy. We will
finally realize that our culture and traditions are under attack; that our
values and morality, our freedom and prosperity are in danger.( Creating Fear of
Difference Online). Several white supremacist groups use symbolism from
Christian scriptures to assert their racist and anti-Semitic agenda. One example
is the Aryan Nations, which claims that fair-skinned people with northern
European ancestry are God’s chosen people, to the exclusion of all others. Such
Internet messages propagate fear of difference by stereotyping, exaggerating or
making up figures, and spewing fear-filled language. They create an atmosphere
of hate that feeds violence. That is just one example of the many Internet sites
that is steering up hate in our society. The Aryan Nations, Christian Identity,
Ku Klux Klan organizations and a number of other groups assert that white people
should not have to share a common culture with non-whites. Sex Discrimination
Many of these sex discrimination sites have gone under ground. These site are
the weaker of the hate sites. Many of the sites also lean on the same basis for
rejecting the homosexual life. Here is an example of one of the sites:
“Homosexuality is immoral and is therefore illegal — despite the desperate
attempts by homosexuals to have homosexuality and homosexual marriages declared
legal.”(Homosexuality) My Stance I believe we do have a severe problem on our
hands. However I feel the problem is not with the internet. I would have to say
that the censorship of the internet is to be taken care of at home. Many people
rely on television, VCR’s, and toys to watch over their children. What
happened to family values? I think people have become very lazy when comes to
care for their children. Come on America, start accepting responsibility for
yourself and stop blaming technology. Conclusion In conclusion, The decisions we
make today about our basic freedoms will be ones we live with for a very long
time. We need to turn on the lights in the internet world, and expose the
darkness and the lies.

Allport, G. (1948, 1983). ABC’s of Scapegoating. New York: Anti-Defamation
League. Anti-Defamation League (1994). Hate Crimes Laws: A Comprehensive Guide.

New York: Author. CIEC. “Communications Defamation Act”, June 6, 1998. Cleary, E. (1994). Beyond the Burning Cross: The First
Amendment and the Landmark R.A.V. Case. New York: Random House. Feminist
Internet Gateway. “Sex Discrimination”,
Harris Raymond C. “Homosexuality.”
Jenness, V. & Broad, K. (1997). Hate Crimes: New Social Movements and the
Politics of Violence. New York: Aldine de Gruyter. Matsuda, M., Lawrence, C.,
Delgado, R., & Crenshaw, K. W. (1993). Words That Wound: Critical Race
Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment. Boulder: Westview Press.

Media Awareness Network. “Parents Sholuld Be Responsible…”, June 16,1997. Novick, M. (1995).

White Lies White Power: The Fight against White Supremacy and Reactionary
Violence. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press. Response. “Creating Fear Of
Difference Online”, 1998.
Stay, B. (Ed.) (1997). Censorship: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven
Press. WebActive. “Guide To Hate Groups”, October 6, 1996.


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