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  • Dr Shungu Hilda M’gadzah

Are You Concerned About The Increasing Levels Of Hate Crime? The Six Stages Framework Can Help.

Updated: Nov 2


Sharp Rise In Hate Crimes: Deeply Worrying And Highlights That Not Enough Is Being Done By The Government and Organisations


On 6th October 2022 the UK government published the annual national statistics on hate crime in England and Wales. The sharp rise in hate crimes is deeply worrying and highlights that not enough is being done by the Government to firstly explore why these crimes are happening and secondly to educate people, at scale, about why these feelings exist in the first place.


https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2021-to-2022/hate-crime-england-and-wales-2021-to-2022


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-63277161


As a society, we need to get to the root of the problem and that involves structurally addressing and understanding the causes of hate crimes rather than dealing with the effects.


When people understand why they may think as they do, that can help them to think differently, but you need the structures and facilities in place to enable that to happen.


Many have suffered due to the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis will have undoubtedly been a material factor in the rise in hate crimes. When people are struggling and feel their needs are not being met, they often look for someone to blame. Being cooped up inside and not seeing others results in higher levels of using social media and this can sometimes make these problems worse. Social media often pours fuel on the fire as it makes it easier to express negative views.


We are seeing increasing levels of anger and hate which are fuelled by social media and sometimes by politicians to meet their own agendas. The cost-of-living crisis can also fuel the feelings of anger and upset that people feel. There is also backlash at the woke culture and a view by some that it's taking over.


Part of the problem is that we are failing to see the signs and symptoms of this hate and the dangers before it becomes full blown and extreme. We are also failing to find ways of tackling these behaviours partly because we have difficulty in talking about them and in describing them.


In my Eventbrite Free Seminars I explore what causes us to discriminate and some of our values beliefs and experiences which can influence our thoughts and behaviours. We need to be able to confront the ways in which we discriminate (and recently there were some articles within the Economist reinforcing this).


The Need For Preventative work


We can address this hate crime by supporting people in their understanding and ability to deal with racism and other hate crimes. Helping them to understand why they feel the way they do and providing them with solutions and answers.


We're failing to support individuals and organisations in having these conversations in a meaningful way and as such people are becoming defensive, going into silos and rather than talking about their feelings and emotions they're bottling them up and then venting which can result in hate crime.


I was recently talking to a man who described himself as easy going and not racist and yet found himself becoming emotionally dysregulated and swearing at “two coloured guys” who had tried to tamper with his car. He told me that he was shocked at the words and anger which came out of his mouth, the torrent of racial abuse, as he didn't consider himself to be someone who was either racist or held such negative views of ethnic minority people.


There are some who think that there has been too much focus on Diversity Equity and Inclusion training and discussion; too much focus on woke culture and on black lives matter with some asking well what about us what about our needs- our lives matter. Recently Kanye West wore a T-shirt saying white lives matter which caused a lot of upset and many have been questioning whether it's a racist statement. Others wonder whether it's just designed to attract attention and stir things up.


The fight against Hate speech is a difficult one – people don't like to feel like they're being told what they can and cannot say. They view woke culture and training which focuses on unconscious bias and DEI as being very much in this line.


How can the Six Stages Framework help in this area?


The Six Stages Framework is a psychological tool which explores peoples understanding and ability to deal with racism (and other discriminations) and describes the behaviours that individuals may exhibit in the different stages i.e., how individuals show up at the different stages. It was originally designed with racism in mind and has been adapted to other areas of discriminations. So, it is possible to explore an individual’s understanding of racism and compare that to their understanding of other areas coming up with Discrimination-inclusion profiles.


The Six Stages Framework addresses ways to tackle racism and other discriminatory behaviours in society.


The Six Stages Framework operates on the negative and positive axis. The positive axis describes how people can move from stage +1 to +6 in their anti-racist journey, development and understanding of racism.


The negative axis describes what happens when supporting interventions are not put in place to help people with their discriminatory thinking and behaviours. It shows how people can very quickly spiral down the negative axis and how their behaviours can become more and more entrenched and extreme, culminating with leadership extremism at stage -6.


The Six Stages Framework has been adapted to consider not only other areas of discrimination but also “bad behaviours” and challenging behaviours such as violence, harassment and shootings which we saw in places like Uvalde in Buffalo, USA.


It helps us to map out the different behaviours of people before the behaviours become extreme and looks at how we can circumvent and prevent this escalation in negative behaviours. It supports us to identify the signs and symptoms early on so that support can be put in place


In my book, Understanding and Dealing with Racism- The Six Stages Framework, I talk about the Prejudice Racism Spectrum as a way of helping us to identify some of the signs and symptoms of racism and discrimination early on. I also describe what individuals look like, (think, say and behave) at the different stages of the Six Stages Framework in terms of their understanding and ability to deal with racism and other differences.


DEI issues – Why do we need to take this work seriously?


As a psychologist and DEI consultant, I feel it's important to explore peoples experiences values and beliefs and where and what has influence these in order to support them in correcting the lenses through which they view their life and others’.


The Six Stages Framework's starting point is recognising that racism exists in all ethnic and racial groups and that hate crime exists and affects us all. It emphasises the fact that as individuals we all have biases, and we can all discriminate and it's important to be able to identify how we do this and how we can stop this. The Framework also recognises the importance of tacking racism at a structural level and advocates a multi-pronged approach- working at an individual and systemic level to affect change.


The Six Stages Framework doesn't view racism or hate crime as binary (i.e., that you're either racist or you're not or that you either hate those who are different or you don’t) but instead looks at Prejudice Racism Spectrums which encourages and supports everyone to explore their thoughts feelings and behaviours and to identify how racism and hate crime manifest within their own lives and within society. We all have biases, and we can all have some hatred towards those who are different to us for different reasons and it's important to explore what this is.


I advocate the use of Developmental Matrices and discrimination and inclusion profiles-which are part of the Six Stages Framework- where individuals can explore and be supported to understand their interactions with those who are different and why it is they think, feel and behave the way they do.

Organisations can also be supported to assess where they are in their journey and understanding of racism and different discriminations- Organisational Developmental Matrices


In my book, Understanding and Dealing with Racism- The Six Stages Framework, I describe what happens on the negative axis of the six stages framework if we don't address the issues of upset and anger. What we can very quickly see is a spiralling down the negative axis of the 6 stages framework with people become more and more angry and their behaviours become more and more entrenched, and this can cause greater problems within society and an increase in hate crime.


The problem with society is that we are becoming more and more polarised in these discussions, and we need to find ways of supporting people to emotionally regulate and to explore what people are feeling and where this is coming from. We need to help people to look at the hate and the anger and then to support them in looking at their perspectives. I consider emotional intelligence, which was the focus of my doctorate, to be really important in these discussion.


Taking an intersectional approach to exploring our understanding and ability to deal with hate and discrimination is really important. It’s also important to explore how we are Building Bridges of Empathy in our Communities and workplaces.


I run regular Eventbrite seminars entitled, In What Ways Do We Discriminate and the Six Stages Framework -Understanding and Dealing with Racism These are very popular and attended by people from all over the world and all lines of work.


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