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Curbing the Hate Pandemic

Liberal democracies have not provided an adequate policy response to widespread and systematic state-sanctioned hate directed at many minorities. Rapid implementation of targeted sanctions against individuals inciting hatred and discrimination could possibly prevent further crimes.

MONTREAL – The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the spread of an equally virulent virus: hate. Effective vaccines offer the best hope of defeating the coronavirus. We now need similarly targeted legal measures against those inciting hatred.

Today, a rapid worldwide resurgence of racism and xenophobia is targeting minorities like Jews, East Asians, and LGBT persons – with attendant harassment and physical harm – as being responsible for the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, some states have used the cover of COVID-19 restrictions and distractions to extend long-standing hateful policies.

This pandemic of hate long preceded the public-health pandemic, which exposed and expanded it. But despite this growing threat, far too many instances of hateful incitement go unaddressed, much less redressed, contributing to cultures of criminality and the impunity that underpins them. In particular, liberal democracies have not provided a commensurate and concrete policy response to the widespread and systematic state-sanctioned hate that continues to cause the misery, murder, and migration of many minorities.