606 contributor Rebecca Barrett-Fox is a scholar of hate, religion, and sexuality.
In 2009, Republican politicians and commentators threw a fit over a Department of Homeland Security report that noted that we were witnessing a rise in hate activity, domestic extremism, and domestic terrorism. Conservatives didn’t like the fact that some of their core beliefs–mistrust of the federal government, strong adherence to conservative Christianity, militarism–were seen as possible causes of concern. They won the battle over how the government would talk about extremism, and the report was yanked. But they insistence that they were persecuted has cost us many lives and contributed, emboldened by Trumpism, to more extremist behaviors.
How we talk about hate is important. If you want to learn more about why, check out these two academic articles. (And if you don’t have access to them through your library, let me know and I’ll find a way to get them to you.)
After terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists, police, community groups, and faith organizations can work together in shaping a story to reduce the likelihood of retaliatory hate acts. That’s the takeaway from Sadique, K., Tangen, J. & Perowne, A., ‘The importance of narrative in responding to hate incidents following ‘trigger’ events‘ (2018), Tell MAMA
For decades, the Pacific Northwest has served as an imaginary geography for hate groups–some of whom have had the specific goal of creating a white ethnostate there. The internet has allowed a different geography of hate to be created, one where the physical reality of the border matters less. That’s the gist of “Networks of Hate: The Alt-Right, ‘Troll Culture,’ and the Cultural Geography of Social Movement Spaces Online” by Edwin Hodge and Helga Hallgrimsdottir and published in Journal of Borderland Studies.
Above, one of the many maps showing a post-racial civil war America, as envisioned by white power movement participants.