Michael Korolenko addresses hate in Propaganda

Michael Korolenko
Michael Korolenko

A lecture and discussion about the politics of hate and how propaganda has been used for hate took place on May 24.

The lecture was presented by Michael Korolenko, a faculty member of the communications department, and sponsored by the communications department and the Office of Equity and Pluralism. Korolenko has done similar talks in the past. Most recently, he lectured about online hate groups last November. This was a continuation of that topic. Communications department Chair Katherine Olsen stated that she was thankful to those who went. “[This is] an important conversation and important information for us to be thinking about and engaging in in community,” she said.

Korolenko talked about how hateful propoganda has transformed from being in large movies of the 1930s to spreading through the internet. There have been white supremacist organizations that weren’t popular before the internet that are now because they have good websites, for example. Korolenko stated that there’s so much propaganda “coming through every day, on the news, on TV, on the web” that a lot of people block everything they hear or see from one of those sources. “I don’t blame them,” he said.

Korolenko said that his lectures and the ensuing discussions helped inform students and gave them tools to deal with propaganda and hate. Korolenko advised to get informed the right way. “[People] need to research it, that they need to read newspapers. Newspapers are better than television,” he said. “If one website says one thing, look at what other people say about the same thing.” When dealing with online hate, Korolenko suggested many tools that can be used. “One of the tools is if there’s a talk being given by someone you really disapprove, viciously disapprove of, don’t shout them down. Either don’t go or attempt to debate them respectfully,” he said.

Interim Vice President of Equity and Pluralism Sayumi Irey noted the importance of these lectures. “Our office helps to sponsor several community learning events as we have to continuously educate ourselves. Learning happens both personally and communally,” she said. “We also need to know that there are many perspectives we can learn from.”