Keep reading for FREE
A world-leading criminologist explores the tipping point between prejudice and hate crime, analysing human behaviour across the globe and throughout history in this vital book.
Are our brains wired to hate? Is social media to blame for an increase in hateful abuse? With hate on the rise, what can we do to turn the tide?
Drawing on twenty years of pioneering research - as well as his own experience as a hate-crime victim - world-renowned criminologist Matthew Williams explores one of the pressing issues of our age.
Surveying human behaviour across the globe and reaching back through time, from our tribal ancestors in prehistory to artificial intelligence in the twenty-first century, The Science of Hate is a groundbreaking and surprising examination of the elusive 'tipping point' between prejudice and hate.
Hate is our most repellent but also most fascinating emotion. Its influence can be uncontrollable, driving people to horrific acts of assault, murder, even genocide. In recent weeks, the US has been shocked by the shootings of eight Asian women in Atlanta.
In the UK, misogyny has only just been classed as a hate crime, amid anger over women’s safety on our streets.
Yet while everyone is capable of hate, very few of us act on its worst impulses.
Matthew Williams, a British professor of criminology who has worked with the UK and US governments, wants to know why.
His book, the Science of Hate, combines his own research with decades of studies by others to find an answer.
The result is a harrowing but illuminating work, being released at a time when hate appears to be on the ascendency but far from trying to stop it, some of the world’s most powerful people seem to be using it to manipulate millions.
The tactics used in the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum come in for criticism in the book.
Williams points out how hate crimes rose following both votes.The journey is a personal one for the author.
Once an aspiring journalist, Williams switched careers in the late nineties following an assault on him by three men outside a gay-friendly bar on Tottenham Court Road.
He describes it in the book, and says in the aftermath he was filled with questions about why his attackers hated who he was, and wondering what point they were trying to prove in beating him up?
He refers to the attack often in a book divided into two parts; the first looking at what hate is, and the second on whether it can be tackled.
There are plenty of scientific charts, data-filled maps and reproductions of MRI scans scattered throughout, but this is not an academic work.
At times it reads more like a thriller, as Williams reconstructs the events leading up to notorious crimes such as the 1999 Soho nail bombings by David Copeland in which three people died.
In each case, Williams tries to uncover how the hatred of an “other” started, and what tipped the perpetrator from prejudice into violence.
He finds neither family background nor life experience can entirely explain what drives someone to commit a hate crime.
In fact, the capacity to hate is hard-wired into all of us. It comes from a genetic throwback to ancient times when the human brain had to quickly identify threats, but we have never learned how to switch it off.
Williams says researchers have been able to trigger the same response that kept our ancestors alive when they saw a sabre-toothed tiger in some modern volunteers simply by playing NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” to white subjects looking at black faces.
How those faces became something to be feared is, Williams argues, because of a complex cocktail of upbringing and cultural input, like racial stereotypes in movies.
Social media has a powerful role to play, too. Williams says it can work as an “accelerant” that pushes people towards radicalisation.
He highlights algorithms designed to make sites “sticky” that can lead people down rabbit holes of ‘alternative facts’.
One study found that even when people were paid to look at posts giving different political viewpoints to their own, it only seemed to reinforce their original beliefs.
Regardless, Williams says bursting our online “filter bubbles” is essential to overcoming hatred. Williams avoids easy answers and worries that had his own life taken a different path, he could have been the one carrying out the hate attack rather than the victim. His point is that we all could.
We are born with hatred in our DNA, but how we direct it is learned. The onus is on us to reject influences, educate ourselves on other cultures, and call out hatred wherever we see it.
MORE LIKE THIS
Yuval Noah Harari
Ready for the next level?
Read Like a Pro
Explore the World’s
Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.
# Personal Growth
Take Your Ideas
Just press play and we take care of the words.
No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.
Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.
2 Million Stashers
Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.
Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.
Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.
This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!
Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.
Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.
I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!
Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.
Read & Learn
Access to 200,000+ ideas
Access to the mobile app
Unlimited idea saving & library
Unlimited listening to ideas
Downloading & offline access
Claim Your Limited Offer
Get Deepstash Pro
Supercharge your mind with one idea per day
Enter your email and spend 1 minute every day to learn something new.
I agree to receive email updates