Hatred and racism are timeless, but technology has made it easier than ever to spread vitriol without limit.
As part of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance’s new exhibit, Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings, Dr. Elizabeth White – a Holocaust and genocide scholar – will discuss this and other topics surrounding the dangerous power of hate speech at the Museum on Tues., Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.
Dr. White is the research director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide in Washington, DC. She has worked for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Investigations and Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section where she directed research for civil and criminal cases against the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, Nazi persecution, and other human rights violations. She also helped with interagency efforts to deny safe haven to human rights violators in the United States and developed effective strategies for preventing and responding to genocide and mass atrocity.
She has a PhD in history from the University of Virginia and is the author of many articles and papers, including German Influence in the Argentine Army, 1900–1945.
During her lecture entitled “Do Words Kill? Hate Speech, Propaganda, and Incitement to Genocide,” Dr. White will discuss what makes hate speech dangerous as well as new thinking about what gives words the power to promote violence. She will address the hallmarks of dangerous speech, what can be done to counter hate speech without restricting freedom of expression, where dangerous speech is occurring today and options for addressing it.
The lecture accompanies the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s new exhibit, which explores book burnings in Nazi Germany during World War II and America’s quick condemnation of the acts of censorship. The exhibit will run through Oct. 15.
On May 10, 1933, German university students burned tens of thousands of books as an “Action Against the Un-German Spirit.” Books burned included works by Helen Keller, Ernest Hemingway and Sigmund Freud.
The burnings horrified the American public and underscored German-Jewish writer Heinrich Heine’s 19th century warning, “Where one burns books, one soon burns people.”