Source: (2002) Journal of Social Issues 58(2).

This study examines how people experience hate speech. Specifically, it assesses people’s perceptions regarding both the antecedents and outcomes of such expression targeted at Jews and homosexuals. One hundred twenty university students read (and in some cases also supplied) real-life epithets aimed at their social identity and then provided an assessment of their (a) perceived short- and long-term consequences, (b) understanding of the motive behind the message, (c) response to the sender, and (d) response to the message in terms of soliciting social support. A content analysis of the accounts produced the following patterns: (a) short- and long-term consequences mirrored a three-stage sequence found within other traumatic experiences; (b) respondents described motives as enduring, not situational, states; (c) the most common response strategies were passive; and (d) participants often sought support. The discussion focuses on implications for interventions that may mitigate negative consequences of hate speech.