- Two experiments using Asian American university student participants examined the distinctive characteristics of responses to racist hate speech relative to responses to other forms of offense. The studies varied the target of insulting speech (Asian, African, and Overweight person) or the nature of offence (petty theft vs. insulting speech). Participant variables included collective self-esteem and social identification. Results indicate that hate speech directed at ethnic targets deserves more severe punishment than other forms of offensive speech and petty theft. Hate speech also results in more extreme emotional responses and in the case of an Asian target, has a depressing influence on collective self-esteem. Ethnic identification moderated punishment responses in study 1 only. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.