The concept at the core of the poster is hate speech, and the example is the precise representation of various aspects of this concept. Although “The Office” is a mockumentary, which presupposes that the plot is fictional and intended to make the audience laugh, the episode bears some significant value being a lesson of how one should not behave towards others. The video can be used as powerful educational material if it is accompanied by the pre-watch instruction, questions for consideration, and a post-watch discussion.
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The following questions might be included in the pre-watch section “What do you consider to be polite speech and what would you call impolite communication?”, “Do you think the tone of the voice and the attitude of the speaker can have a great effect on the interlocutor?”, “Do you think adults can humiliate young people merely on the basis of having more experience?”, “In what ways, do you think, people can explain their dissatisfaction?”, “How would you explain to someone that you are unhappy about something without hurting their feelings?”
A Detailed Rationale
The reason for selecting the topic of hate speech is associated with the growing concern of this issue in the society. Scholars note that minorities and indigenous peoples are affected by negative remarks addressed to them either verbally or through other means of communication (Benesch, 2014; Gelber & McNamara, 2016). Gelber and McNamara (2016) distinguish between two types of harm that can be caused by hate speech: constitutive and consequential.
Constitutive harm is the one manifested in the saying of the speech act, while consequential harm is the one occurring as a result of the constitutive. Attacking others can lead to dramatic outcomes, such as undermined self-esteem or respect (Alberts, Nakayama, & Martin, 2016). While it is difficult to prove that hate speech is illegal, scholars agree that it is not ethical (Alberts et al., 2016; Heinze, 2016). Therefore, it is crucial to present this information in a poster form, which will draw the audience’s attention to the problem.
The poster presentation is a good idea because it offers data in a concise form along with visuals which make it easier to appeal to the audience’s emotions. However, the poster also includes logical and authoritative evidence to make the arguments more solid. The selection of “The Office” episode to illustrate the problem allows demonstrating both verbal and non-verbal aspects of hate speech. As Carney (2014) notes, the affirmation of “the hurtfulness or harmfulness of the speaker’s words” is not an easy matter (p. 325).
However, it is always possible to discern between ethical and unethical treatment. The examples given in the poster and the possibility to inspect the original visual material are likely to increase the audience’s ability to understand what is acceptable and what is not. The project is a valuable source for getting to know more information on hate speech, the ways it can be expressed, and the methods of mitigating conflicts.
Alberts, J. K., Nakayama, T. K., & Martin, J. N. (2016). Human communication in society (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Benesch, S. (2014). Defining and diminishing hate speech. Web.
Carney, T. (2014). Being (im)polite: A forensic linguistic approach to interpreting a hate speech case. Language Matters, 45(3), 325-341.
Gelber, K., & McNamara, L. (2016). Evidencing the harms of hate speech. Social Identities, 22(3), 324-341.
Heinze, E. (2016). Hate speech and democratic citizenship. Oxford, UK: Oxford.