Review: Can Stories Counter Hate Speech?

London Reader, Summer Issue: The Hate Speech Monologues

Given the recent political climate in the United States, hate speech has been thrust into the media spotlight once again. This makes the current issue of the London Reader both incredibly timely and extremely poignant. While this issue was released before the August events that put hate speech back on the front pages, it provides a worthwhile background for understanding racism and hate in the contemporary climate.

While each issue of the London Reader typically features creative writing united around a central theme (past issues have been devoted, respectively, to the genre of cyberpunk, stories of migration, and stories of love in the 21st century), this issue delves into the political realm with true stories that portray the genuine human effects of hate crimes on individuals, proving once again the old adage that the personal is political.

This issue is based on the Hate Speech Monologues that are produced in Budapest each year, featuring true, personal monologues that originally appeared on stage. In print, these stories remain incredibly powerful: from personal experiences of the effects of mass murder, to a woman’s meditation on her grandmother’s experience of racism during WWII in Soviet Russia, to people’s stories of escaping genocide, these compelling works of creative non-fiction have a lasting effect.

While this issue had the potential to remain in the emotional realm of personal stories, the addition of thought-provoking interviews with acclaimed American historian Ibram X. Kendi and renowned legal theorist Theodore M. Shaw, as well as the special introduction from Michael Ignatieff, former leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, propel it well beyond, providing a political and historical background to hate speech that grounds the reader in the real world of policy while also providing possible solutions to a problem that is plaguing contemporary America and the world.

While the creative writing is emotionally moving, The Global Intelligence looks forward to more installments from the London Reader focusing on such thought-provoking political topics as the Hate Speech Monologues issue. The next number of the London Reader will feature creative writing and interviews on the subject of mental health, another topic whose troubled policy dimensions are an ongoing concern.

Find out more about the London Reader by searching for the magazine in the Kindle store on Amazon.com, or visit their website at www.LondonReader.uk

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