top of page

Hate Speech and De-Escalation Presentation Summary


For over 20 years, OC Human Relations has been tracking and responding to hate crimes in Orange County. They provide support and training with the goal of creating a community that is safe and enjoyable for all people.

Below is a summary of the presentation they gave during a meeting co-hosted by the Orange County Racial Justice Collaborative and Indivisible OC 46:

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is a criminal act against a person or their property that is committed primarily because of a person’s real or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or because of an association with someone from one of these groups.


  • Assault

  • Theft

  • Threats

  • Criminal damage

  • Destruction of property

  • Murder

What is a Hate Incident?

A hate incident is a hate-motivated act that is not considered a criminal offense. Hate incidents are typically protected under the First Amendment (the protection of free speech), however, victims tend to experience the same range of emotions as victims of hate crimes.


  • Verbal abuse

  • Harassment

  • Bullying or intimidation

  • Abusive phone or text messages

  • Abuse on Facebook or Twitter

  • Circulating discriminatory literature or posters

Hate in Orange County

One of the Orange County’s founding fathers was a Klansman and the KKK had a strong and visible presence in several OC cities through the 1920’s (the Klan is still active in Anaheim). In fact, the last Mexican to be lynched in the United States was lynched in Orange County.

Today, Orange County has the most hate incidents against Muslims than anywhere else in the state and a disproportionate 15-25% of hate crimes target Black residents, despite being only 2% of the county’s population.

In 2016, the number of hate groups jumped from three to eight (a particularly steep jump) and in November 2016, the number of hate crimes and incidents rose 1,500%.

How can I support a victim?

If someone is a target of a hate crime or incident:

  1. Support them. Engage in active listening.

  2. Report the crime or incident to local law enforcement.

  3. Connect them to resources for support and assistance.

Techniques for Conflict De-escalation:

Use “I” statements like “I see…,” “I think…,” and “I feel…” Speaking from the “I” perspective relays where you’re coming from and helps the other party understand what you’re feeling. When you approach the conflict from an emotional place, the other party tends to emphasize with you for making yourself vulnerable in a sincere way.

In some cases, an agitator’s sole purpose is to disrupt and antagonize and they are not interested in engaging in a reasonable conversation. When that is the case, it is best to come up with a plan ahead of time for how you’re going to respond (how you’re going to act or not interact). Get creative: you could form a circle around them and hold up your arms to block their visibility, or you could start singing loudly to drown them out. You won’t get them to stop, but you can minimize their impact and disruption.

Training and Workshops

OC Human Relations offers comprehensive training and workshops in basic mediation, hate crime education, diversity and inclusion, restorative justice, conflict management, cultural sensitivity for law enforcement, and more. Visit the OC Human Relations website to lean more.

Recent Posts
bottom of page