HOPE not hate

On Wednesday 29th November, UCU at Kent were proud to host a workshop by HOPE not hate, led by Mr Owen Jones, their Head of Education. HOPE not hate is an advocacy group based in the United Kingdom that “campaigns to counter racism and fascism”, and to “combine first class research with community organising and grassroots actions to defeat hate groups at elections and to build community resilience against extremism.” Created in 2004 by Nick Lowles, the organization is backed by various politicians and celebrities and several trade unions.

Following the Brexit vote, the number of hate crimes recorded by regional police forces in the UK rose by up to 100% and in the county of Kent, the figures were up by 60%. There has been a rise in the number of racially and religiously-motivated crimes reported to police, including assaults and arson. Community groups representing EU nationals in the UK have warned about the potential for an undercurrent of xenophobia to spread as talks with Brussels get underway regarding Brexit. The head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, David Isaac, has also said he is ‘hugely concerned’ about a backlash against European citizens as the Governments EU withdrawal negotiations take place. The Government’s recent race audit has found huge gulfs in experience in sectors such as health, housing, criminal justice and education.

During the workshop attended by approximately 40 members of staff and postgraduates at Kent, Owen recounted the historical roots behind HOPE not hate. As Head of Education, Owen regularly discusses the concept of hate and bigoted behaviour with students everyday across the country teaching them about day-to-day prejudice, discriminatory language, signs of radicalisation and discussing society’s shared values. Owen described the importance or realizing that banter is not just banter and racist jokes are not okay. Owen outlined concepts relating to power, prejudice, racism and hate. Through exploring case studies relating to the tragic murders of Lee Rigby and Jo Cox, the audience explored how such concepts of power and racism are triggered and subsequently reported. Using the Pyramid of Hate, Jones teaches how certain phrases reinforce stereotypes and normalize prejudice. Participants were encouraged to stop using discriminatory language but also to challenge their friends to do the same. The workshop led by Owen was truly informative, insightful and thought provoking.

To find out more about HOPE not hate’s education work or to book Owen Jones or his team, email education@hopenothate.org.uk