|Topic area||Freedom of Speech, Personal Relationships, Cyberhate|
|Target audience||Students in a Computer Science class who have some understanding of the power of the computer, the Internet and the World Wide Web.|
|Activity type||Class discussion|
|Time required||50 minutes|
|Attachments||A pair of question sets and worksheets are reproduced as part of this document.|
|Additional materials||Participants should read George Orwell's book "1984" and pay attention to the concepts of mind control and thought police.|
|Background needed to complete the assignment||An open mind.|
|References||The class on Freedom of Speech and the accompanying bibliography.
The US Constitution
The Hate Directory
Check out a copy of "1984" by George Orwell, and read his predictions regarding thought control.
Goals for the activity:
To open up the dialog regarding the differences between acceptance of a concept and tolerance of an idea, in the environment of a spectrum of activities ranging from the inner thought process to physical action.
Knowledge/skills/attitudes to be developed (behavioral objectives):
Appreciation for the rights of others to have attitudes that are different while recognizing that within our culture there is a "line in the sand" that divides acceptable, tolerated attitudes (even when expressed openly) from acting on those attitudes.
Have the students in the class undertake pre-class activities to read Orwell's 1984 and the US Constitution, examine the "Hate Directory", and review the dictionary descriptions of love, hate, attitude, and action.
Prepare the handout below so that the questions appear front and back on the sheet. This probably means that the sheets can be prepared "three-up" and then cut.
Define the following nouns in terms of personal relationships:
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In the context of LOVE and HATE, describe the following terms:
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Ask the participants in the class to spend a minute LOVE and HATE. Then review their answers looking for key words such as self-sacrificing, affection, disaffection, hostility, anger, commitment, liking, attachment, attraction, devotion, fondness, passion, tenderness, affection, detestation, abomination, abhorrence, aversion, disgust, aversion, antipathy, malevolence, revenge, loathing, abhor, despise, detest, dislike, etc. Create a listing of keywords for each on the board. Show the definitions of LOVE and HATE from the links in the table above. Then use the following worksheet:
Ask the participants in the class to spend a minute ATTITUDE and ACTION in the context of LOVE and HATE. Then review their answers looking for key words such as thoughts, feelings, behavior, disposition, manner, feeling, temperament, spirit, sensibility, perspective, viewpoint, point of view, response, deed, act, conflict , encounter, etc. Create a listing of keywords for each on the board.
Should then government control thought as in George Orwell's book "1984"? When can control be exercised in the transition from thought to action?
Assess the outcome of this exercise through a follow-up assignment or examination question (essay-type) that probes the boundary between acceptable attitudes and tolerated actions. The material below can be used for this activity, or if time permits as an extension of the class discussion.
In the context of the Internet and Cyberhate, describe the following terms:
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The following questions may be useful in this discussion:
Think of the following:
The Arizona Republic had an interesting report on the 2001 legislative action regarding discrimination. The final statement here is of significance in this context:
Senate votes to ban employment discrimination by government agencies Associated Press April 04, 2001 14:25:00 State agencies would not be allowed to fire someone or deny a promotion based on the person's sexual orientation under a bill passed by the Arizona Senate today. The bill (SB 1225) does not affect private companies and would allow government employers to approve a gender-based dress code. It had been defeated on a tie vote last week, but passed on a 16-14 reconsideration vote. It now moves to the House for consideration. Sen. Pete Rios, D-Hayden, said such discrimination in hiring practices is wrong. "People should be inclusive," he said. But Sen. Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, said the bill was creating "an anarchy of values." "Tolerance does not require us to surrender deeply held beliefs," said Bowers. (Emphasis added)
A web page with the forms for the students to use is here.
A homework assignment related to Tolerance (combining critical thinking with editorial reviewing) is also available.
Freedom of Speech is a broad subject that includes discussions of the differences between cultures on this topic. See the class activity on Pornography over the internet across state lines as an example of differing cultures and a response to differing community standards. Other concerns include censorship.
Author contact information:
Department of Computer Science
Blacksburg VA 24061-0106
Ph: (540) 231-5780