Readers, Writers, Texts

Hate Speech

One of the most terrible things about a national security crisis, real or imagined, is that xenophobic leaders instill fear and terror about people who are different from the majority. It is shockingly easy to do, and is part and parcel of human linguistic cultures. In this section you’ll see how language has been used to wound, hurt, divide, oppress and dehumanize groups of people, with a particular focus on the way migrant peoples are described by people in power (be it journalists, radio hosts or politicians). This kind of language enables people – often even good people – to view others as less than human.

Find out about language which dehumanises and divides people in this section by reading a few of the following articles. they focus on the language used to discuss migrants – people who move from one country to another

Class Activity: ‘Sickly’ Immigrants

Discover the power of naming by reading this report from a popular British newspaper, the Daily Mail. Highlight how the report uses language to discriminate against one group of people in favour of another. Find features of the report including:

  • Naming
  • Noun Phrases
  • Institutional voices
  • Silencing

Learner Portfolio

What uses of language describe groups of people such as migrants? Is this type of language acceptable? Why or why not? Record your thoughts in a one-two page journal entry.


Body of Work: Katie Hopkins Articles

In August of 2015, a migration debate exploded in the news media. Catalyzed by the shocking photo of a drowned boy washed ashore in Turkey, the migration ‘crisis’, was at the forefront of the news for a month, and still simmers away in the background four years later. The language of migration, immigration, and refugees is jam packed with opportunities to discuss Global Issues in relation to how language is being used. The articles below are from a particularly distasteful source, a right-wing populist columnist called Katie Hopkins, who achieved a certain notoriety for her opinions at the time of the debate, so caution is advised when studying these:

Towards Assessment: Individual Oral

“Supported by an extract from one non-literary text and one from a literary work, students will offer a prepared response of 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of questions by the teacher, to the following prompt:

Examine the ways in which the global issue of your choice is presented through the content and form of two of the texts that you have studied. (40 marks)

IB Language and Literature Guide

These articles would make ideal texts to use in this assessed activity. The named author would be ‘Katie Hopkins.’ You could explore the Global Issues of: Politics, Power and Justice or Culture, Identity and Community. You may have ideas about how to pair the articles with the literary texts you are studying. If not, don’t worry; speak to your teacher or use the following suggestions as a starting point:

  • Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, (think Act 1 Scene 3 in which Shylock describes his treatment at the hands of Antonio and the Christian gang, or Act 4 Scene 1; the courtroom scene).
  • Shelley’s Frankenstein (either examine the way the creature is framed by both Victor’s descriptions and his own account of his experiences, or examine a passage in which Safie, a Muslim character, is prominent. How does Shelley treat this character?).

Paper 1 Text Type Focus: Press Release vs Rant

At the end of your course you will be asked to analyze unseen texts (1 at Standard Level and 2 at Higher Level) in an examination. You will be given a guiding question that will focus your attention on formal or stylistic elements of the text(s), and help you decode the text(s)’ purpose(s). Below are two sets of resources based on the topic of Hate Speech against Migrants: an official Press Release and a semi-structured rant from a campaign rally. Compare and contrast the language used in each text type, noting down the genre tropes for each one. Add the texts to your Learner Portfolio; you will want to revise text types thoroughly before your Paper 1 exam:


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