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this story is part of the 22-26 Jan 2018 Weekly Hindsight Read the hindsight

Kurz get reality check thanks to viral hashtag

Christine Tragler recommended by Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria

Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz is facing a wave of anger on Twitter after saying the wealthy need to be protected against hate speech.

Austria Aha moments

Why this story matters:

During a discussion about hate speech on the "Maischberger" talk show, the Chancellor of Austria said:

"We have seen many examples, especially in other parties, when the rich are persecuted. This is just as wrong as discriminating other groups."

Users took to Twitter to share their outrage:

The stories speak for themselves. Petra Stuiber of Der Standard listed a few examples:

"An African-American woman is spat on in public. An ambulance driver purposefully slows down when picking up someone with a foreign name. A bank customer wants to be served by another because she distrusts a Turkish-born employee.  A mother with dark-skinned children is given hostile stares." 

Chancellor Kurz is forging the image of "the enemy." He implies people are losing their jobs because of migrants who only want to "dig their way in". He insinuates the latter only come to Austria because of the money.

Those who support the government dismiss #reichenhetze: stop complaining, they say.

But everyone who buys into this image of the "enemy", whether in Austria or elsewhere, should remember that it takes very little to be shifted from the privileged to the demonized, in the eyes of the elite.

You could get fired, you could become ill and need the help of the state. Then, all of a sudden, you too are the enemy. And make no mistake, these are things that can happen to everyone.

politics,human rights,migration,race

Details from the story:

  • Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the rich should be shielded against hate speech after being asked where he draws the line of what is acceptable.
  • On Twitter, users have used this statement to tweet their own experiences of racism in Austria.
  • Under the hashtag #reichenhetze (rich persecution) numerous people report concerning occurrences of racial or cultural discrimination.

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