In the process of researching my last post, I stumbled on some excellent sources which didn’t fit but are worth sharing anyway. First up, a short but powerful read from Zenobia Jeffries on media whitewashing.
On Saturday, NBC said, “Charlottesville rally turned deadly.” CNN said, “1 dead, 19 injured after crash near Unite the Right rally.” What took place was not a rally. Who wears paramilitary gear and carries automatic weapons to a rally? Who takes shields and helmets and pepper spray and bats and sticks to a rally? The car didn’t “crash”— it was driven at full speed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
What happened in Charlottesville was White nationalist extremists inciting a riot. We cannot unite, come together, overcome, Kumbaya, or whatever else, until we get some truth-telling. Media professionals need to get it right this time.
Next, Walter D. Greason set up a long Twitter thread on the history of white supremacist violence in the US, from the view of someone who taught the subject.
Fifteen years ago, I taught a course on collective racial violence in the US. It is the only course I decided to never teach again.
The students were traumatized by the weekly meetings, and I decided to break the material into multiple courses so it was easier to handle.
And finally, the Huffington Post has a long read about the current white supremacist movement, both who’s in it and their current tactics.
Yiannopoulos had exposed a rift between the Spencer and Anglin wings of the alt-right. Both are dedicated white nationalists, but they differ on how to achieve their goals. Anglin is a purist. Spencer is willing to work with people outside the movement’s core. For instance, there is the so-called “alt-lite”—more casually bigoted mischief-makers, who might bandy about the N-word but are more likely to be upset about PC culture than, say, the Jews. A broader circle still—you could call it the “alt-white”—encompasses a large number of Trump voters. Cas Mudde, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who studies populist movements, described these people as “not necessarily racist or consciously racist. They just think they have a right to things they used to have and they don’t realize that was in a racialized and fairly racist structure.” […]
Spencer wants to meld both the alt-lite and alt-white into a viable political force. “What we should do is basically ride [Yiannopoulos’] coattails,” Spencer said. “If I wanted to create a movement that was 1488 white nationalist, I would have done that. But I didn’t because I recognized that is a total nonstarter. No one outside a hardcore coterie would identify with it. The whole point about alt-right is it’s open. Different people can identify with it. I thought that was strategically wise.”
Unfortunately, their tactics seem to be working.
The alt-right’s efforts to contaminate the zeitgeist have, by many measures, succeeded. “Everywhere now on normie sites I see our ideas and memes being pushed,” Anglin said. Since 2012, American white nationalist groups have seen their Twitter followers grow by more than 600 percent, according to a September report by the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. An ADL task force found that between August 2015 and July 2016, 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets, many of them from Trump supporters, generated an estimated 10 billion impressions. This torrent of hate, the ADL suggested, could “contribute to reinforcing and normalizing anti-Semitic language on a massive scale.”
Attacks like those on Ioffe and Schrode have become commonplace, particularly against members of the media. According to the ADL, at least 800 journalists, most of them Jewish, were targeted by anti-Semitic attacks in the 11-month period the task force examined. Twitter, in particular, has proved ill-equipped to prevent trolls from running amok on its platform. A banned troll can set up another anonymous account within minutes and keep on trolling. And the savviest ones know exactly how far they can go: No specific threats against specific people. Nothing that can be construed as “inciting or producing imminent lawless action,” the legal standard created by the U.S. Supreme Court. The FBI initiated a threat assessment of the incidents involving Ioffe and Schrode, but did not find sufficient evidence to open an investigation, according to FBI officials in San Francisco.