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What Makes Young, White Men Succumb To Extremist Ideologies?

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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?Guests:

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet@TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, August 13.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.