Hate speech exposes us to an ugly side of life that many people would prefer to believe is a part of our past.  However, this form of expression is still alive and well, even though it sometimes may adopt subtle forms.  To learn about the power of hate speech and its prevalence in Indiana, we spoke with many people who have been targets of hate speech.  Our interviews, while largely confined to central Indiana, suggest that the language of hate touches lives across the state.  The incidents chronicled on this page reveal that people are targeted because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and disability.  Hate speech also appears to occur in many settings, including the workplace, the home, the school, social gatherings, and political functions. 

We encourage you to use our discussion guide to reflect on these incidents. 

NOTE:  Some of the accounts presented on this page contain offensive language.  Several participants in our project employ the actual language of hate that others used to demean and oppress them.  They do so to unmask the power of the language and to convey a sense of the frustration, pain, and anger that hate speech can prompt. 

If you have been a target of hate speech and would like to share your experience with us, please contact Dr. Beth A. Messner, (, Dept. of Communication Studies, Ball State University, Muncie, IN  47306.
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