The Science of Hate – Matthew Williams
In this vital book, a world-leading criminologist explores the tipping point between prejudice and hate crime, analyzing human behavior across the globe and throughout history.
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?
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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.
Why Do People Hate?
Surveying human behavior 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 hatred.
Hate is our most repellent but also most fascinating emotion. Its influence can be uncontrollable, driving people to horrific acts of assault, murder, and even genocide. In recent weeks, the US has been shocked by the shootings of eight Asian women in Atlanta.
Research With Study
In the UK, misogyny has only just been classified as a hate crime amid anger over women’s safety on our streets.
Yet while everyone is capable of hatred, 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. 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 that in the aftermath, he was filled with questions about why his attackers hated who he was and wondered what point they were trying to prove by 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.
A Book Like a Thriller
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 that neither family background nor life experience can entirely explain what drives someone to commit a hate crime.