"Learning from a Legacy of Hate" was originally
produced in 2005 by students in an interdisciplinary,
immersion seminar conducted under the auspices of the
Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry at Ball
State University. The 15 students involved in this seminar
were selected through a competitive application process.
Their efforts resulted in the creation of the “Learning
from a Legacy of Hate” web site and a companion CD-ROM.
The original version of the web site was expanded on
in 2006 by students in a course entitled “The Rhetoric
of Oppression” (Dept. of Communication Studies, Ball
State University). All of the students involved in this
project would like to see their work used by teachers,
librarians, public officials, leaders in faith-based
communities, and civic organizations to counter the
presence of hate in their respective communities.
The centerpiece of this project is the
testimony of people who have been targets of hate speech.
Unfortunately, their voices are seldom heard in the
The frustration, anger, and pain that they experience
is typically only shared in guarded conversations, conversations
that often are held in private settings. As a result,
many people have little opportunity to listen to, learn
from, and be changed by their experiences. By contrast,
the voices of hate mongers are heard frequently and
loudly. Hate groups routinely shout their vitriolic
messages from the steps of city hall, during marches
on “Main Street U.S.A,” and across cyberspace.
The students of “Learning from a Legacy of Hate”
and “The Rhetoric of Oppression” hope that
this project can, at the very least, counter-balance
the efforts of the hate mongers. They hope that the
incidents of hate speech recounted here, combined with
the collection of educational resources offered through
this web site and CD-ROM, will help people better understand
that messages of hate aren’t “just words.”
Rather, they are powerful weapons that can do serious
harm to individuals and families and can divide communities.
Promoting awareness of the destructive power of hate
speech is the first step in realizing a larger mission
. . .
The Mission . . .
The mission of this web site is to educate and inform
society about hate speech, a most injurious form of
communication. Its objective is to open people’s
minds and hearts to the experiences of others. Its goal
is to provoke thought and encourage change by challenging
people to make a difference in the fight against intolerance.