A Sociological Look at Hate Groups


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This learning activity (1) introduces students to the social construction of “hate,” “hate groups,” and “hate crimes”; (2) identifies the extent to which a range of individual and group behaviors are labeled as hate crimes and hate groups; (3) strengthens quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills by systematically analyzing a range of intervening variables that tend to promote personal, interpersonal, and intergroup hate; (4) uses a range of theoretical perspectives to analyze hate groups members are perceived and responded to in American society; (5) uses content analyses skills to analyze trends among various hate groups; (6) enables students to debate real life scenarios to determine appropriate accountability outcomes for behavior considered “hate”; and (7) uses student reflection narratives to identify personal resolution strategies. This questions activity was initially done in a race and ethnic minorities class at the undergraduate level at a local community college. Students of can find the topic of race and ethnicity heated and controversial, which leads to a lack of discussion and participation. Applying and relying on theory to articulate different viewpoints, the personal aspect is taken out of the discussion. The theory-heavy assignment allowed for a richer class discussion and minimized the amount of personal opinions being used to justify viewpoints. Through the self -reflection portion, it also can provide students to internally reflect on their own assumptions and beliefs about the groups discussed. This assignment could be easily modified to be in an introductory Sociology course, one that focuses on modern social...


Resource Type(s):
Assignment, Class Activity 
Sharon Yee 
Date Published:
Subject Area:
Racial and Ethnic Relations 
Class Level:
Class Size:

Usage Notes:

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The activity can be completed alone or in small groups using cell phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops to access the data and then engage in content analysis of the data on the website. Portions of the assignments can be used independently from each other to suit the user's needs. The...

Learning Goals and Assessments:

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Goal 1:
Analyze data trends and types of “hate groups”
Assessment 1:
Students will analyze the different groups and behaviors that are labeled as hate groups using a range of qualitative and quantitative data sets provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Goal 2:
Explain how different theoretical perspectives help us to understand hate groups.
Assessment 2:
Students will examine a variety of theoretical perspectives and apply them to real life contexts in discussion and while completing the activity.
Goal 3:
Students will critically examine their beliefs about hate groups.
Assessment 3:
By investigating real life examples of hate groups, students will compare and contrast their beliefs with different theoretical perspectives about hate groups throughout the activity or written assignment.

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Hate Groups Learning Activity Notes_Student Handout_ and Rubric.docx
Hate Groups Learning Activity Notes_Student Handout_ and Rubric.pdf