The mass shooting in El Paso on August 3 left a community reeling and the public searching for answers after 22 Latino and Mexican individuals were killed in a Wal-Mart. The suspected gunman, a 21-year-old white male, posted a disturbing manifesto online 19 minutes before the attack that espoused anti-immigrant and white nationalism beliefs.
His creed warned of a "Hispanic invasion" of Texas, echoing language used by President Trump, who has repeatedly used the word "invasion" when talking about "illegal immigrants."
The site where he posted, called 8chan, was intended to be a haven to protect and encourage all kinds of free speech. Now, its message boards and chat rooms openly welcome extremist rhetoric.
A virtual emporium of hate groups can be found on 8chan and similar sites, including so called incels, men’s right’s groups and white extremists, where users spew hate, welcome misogyny and celebrate acts of violence against minority communities.
How can we prevent young men from being pulled into the violent world of white extremism? Why are men more susceptible to this toxic ideology and more likely to commit violent acts as a result? What are the warning signs and is there a road to redemption?
What role does the Internet play in cultivating hatred? How do authorities track extremism online? Does polarizing political rhetoric encourage extremist views and race-related violence?
How big of a threat is white extremism in the United States? When should white extremism in the digital sphere be taken as a serious safety threat to commmunities of color?
- Tony McAleer, former skinhead recruiter, co-found of and board chair for Life After Hate, author of the forthcoming book "The Cure Fore Hate: A Former White Supremacist's Journey From Violent Extremism to Radical Compassion"
- Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino
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*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, August 13.