, 42 tweets, 13 min read Read on Twitter
So, today, just TODAY, I spoke with seven (7) reporters from different news outlets about violent white supremacy. In doing this work for 30yrs, that's a one-day record.
Here are a few highlights, in summation, about Things I Often Say, about the current White Supremacist Moment:
(Q: how are things different w/ White Supremacy since the Internet?) A: Things are both the SAME and DIFFERENT. They're the same, in the sense that white supremacy is a centuries-old ideology + it's continuing, much the same, over time.
It's different because of the Internet, in a few ways. The first thing to understand is that white supremacists are "innovation opportunists" - they see ideological opportunity in new media + technology forms. They've done this w/ Internet + there is historical precedent for it.
For more on about "innovation opportunists," see this recent article: journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.11…
When the first motion picture, "Birth of a Nation," debuted white supremacists saw this new form of media as an opportunity for advancing their ideological agenda + used it to boost #'s of the KKK.
More than just screening that film, the KKK started their own MOVIE PRODUCTION companies, so convinced were they that this new form of media was going to further the cause of white supremacy.
Fast forward to the 1990s, and white supremacists saw the rise of the popular Internet as a boon to their movement. And, from the 1990s through to 2008, when most people were sleeping on it, WS were "early adopters" of tech.
For ex's of this, see Cyber Racism (2009), which looks at Stormfront + cloaked websites (an early form of online propaganda) rowman.com/isbn/978074256…
About 2008, a few things happened: President Barack Obama was elected (the first African American president) AND we had the emergence of social media platforms driven by algorithms.
By 2008, we also had almost 20 years of FoxNews, about the same of reality TV, and those all shifted things in the culture. That time period also saw the dominance of GOOGLE for everything (pace @sivavaid). And, Google made it easier to find white supremacy.
@sivavaid One of the cloaked sites I analyzed (looked like a tribute to Dr. King, but was in fact, hosted by Stormfront), routinely came up as 4th in Google search results for Martin Luther King. Young people I interviewed were easily fooled by it. Google did nothing.
@sivavaid The MLK site is down now b/c the white supremacist that hosted it since 1995 could no longer afford the server space, not because any Internet provider (domain host, server farm, search engine) took any action to remove it.
@sivavaid So, the Internet has made white supremacy easier to find, quicker for individually white supremacists to connect with one another GLOBALLY, and faster for them to share "inspiration" for killing sprees. That didn't exist before the popular Internet.
@sivavaid For example, the OKC bombing (pre-Internet) served as inspiration for the Oslo, Norway killing spree (inspiration found online), which inspired the Christchurch, NZ shooter, which then inspired the #ElPasoShooting.
@sivavaid That's what it looks like when white supremacy pings around the global Internet. Massacres everywhere, and white supremacists cheering online.
@sivavaid (Q: Aren't white supremacists being recruited online like people are being recruited into ISIS? Isn't this just another form of violent extremism? Don't we just need to address "violent extremism" in all its forms?)

A: No, no, and no. Here's why that doesn't work.
@sivavaid First of all, "recruit" is the wrong framework for what's happening with white supremacy online. "Radicalization" is a better word, AND, it's still very different from what happens with ISIS.
@sivavaid ISIS is certainly a political ideology, but it's first and foremost RELIGIOUS. And, as such, the recruitment happening there is much like what happens when people get sucked into a religious cult. (There's a whole sociology of that, look it up.)
@sivavaid White supremacy, ESPECIALLY in the U.S., works differently. It's not primarily religious anymore.
@sivavaid It used to be that there was a huge overlap between white supremacy + Protestant Christian nationalism (e.g., early KKK excluded Catholics), but that's no longer the case + hasn't been since about the 1970s.
@sivavaid Being "radicalized" into white supremacy IN THE U.S. means becoming even more convinced of the core beliefs of the founders of the country. People at Stormfront (that I studied), are quoting Thomas Jefferson + the Notes on the State of Virginia.
@sivavaid And, in case you're not up on your Jefferson, Notes is a whole treatise on the supremacy of white folx + the inferiority of Black folx. Study up:

docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/jeffe…
@sivavaid So, being "radicalized" into white supremacy here, in the U.S., is not religious (primarily), and it's not running off to join a religious cult in some other country, it's about becoming CONVINCED that this nation BELONGS to white people (as Thomas Jefferson wrote).
@sivavaid And, it also means, having that view REINFORCED in multiple ways, from a variety of media sources, throughout any given day, once you "realize what's really going on" + that "we're being invaded." Where might you get that idea? From the current resident of the White House maybe.
@sivavaid Further, white supremacy is not "just violent extremism" + therefore we need to ban all "violent extremism."

This kind of argument leads down the wretched path of both-side-ism.
@sivavaid When you start down the path of saying, "well this is just like the violent extremism of Jihadis," you are admitting that you have a hard time envisioning white people as extremists.
@sivavaid Certainly, white supremacists are violent extremists, AND they are sitting in the executive + legislative + judicial branches of government making white supremacist POLICY that is also violent.
@sivavaid By framing the current White Supremacist Moment as only about "violent extremism," you're really flattening what's happening into one sliver of the whole reality.
@sivavaid I would even go so far as to say that we don't have a "violent extremism" problem (at least note primarily), we have a White Supremacy problem. And here, let me just remind you, there are children in cages at the southern border...because they are not white.
@sivavaid These events are connected (the shootings + the children in cages) in the white supremacist imagination.
@sivavaid (Q: So, you said that we're experiencing a backlash to having a Black president, yet the people who were killed in El Paso were Hispanic. How do you make this connection?)

A: They're the same in the white supremacist imagination.
@sivavaid The Harvard-educated, head of law review, author of a bestselling memoir, first Black President of the United States is, in the white supremacist imagination a "mud person," non-white and therefore, not a full human being. The same, in their view, as any non-white immigrant.
@sivavaid (Q: So, what should we do? I mean, I know you don't do policy, but what do you suggest for tech companies, for parents, for law enforcement?)

A: I'll start with tech companies. I'm for de-platforming white supremacists.
@sivavaid There is evidence this works. Milo Yiannopoulos was de-platformed + quickly faded from view, lost a book deal, and has recently filed bankruptcy. I wish this same fate on all white supremacists and think that de-platforming can be an effective mechanism.
@sivavaid No, of course it's not a perfect solution, but it's a good beginning. Let's start there.
@sivavaid As for parents, PAY ATTENTION to what your kids are doing online + on their phones. And, be prepared to have nuanced, smart, sophisticated conversations about race and white supremacy with your kids. Most of white parents, dare I say, are not equipped for this.
@sivavaid In terms of law enforcement, there's a pop culture fantasy in the US that they're "battling white supremacy," (e.g., "Mississippi Burning") but that's bullshit. There is not a good track record of law enforcement going after WS groups in this country, to put it mildly.
@sivavaid What there is, in fact, is a centuries-long history of law enforcement OVERLAPPING with white supremacy. For example:

theintercept.com/2018/11/05/new…
@sivavaid So, yeah, the white supremacist call is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE of the police precinct.
@sivavaid So, what's the solution? Dismantling White Supremacy. //
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