News & Updates

  • Why Fighting White Supremacy Is Important for America’s Role in World

    Posted by · November 08, 2021 8:43 AM

    Politics, both domestic and international, have certainly changed over the last few years. It’s almost impossible to enter a discussion or read a report on current trends in foreign policy and national security without two points being raised: one that domestic extremist violence is now considered the top terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland, and two, that the world is entering a new era of great power competition. What is not frequently discussed is how these two trends are intricately linked, and how addressing one can aide the United States in the other.

    Authoritarian governments, primarily led by Beijing and Moscow see themselves in competition with the United States for key relationships with countries around the world. For decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was an assumption that the international standard for progress and reform was the adoption of democracy and liberal market reforms. Today, that is no longer the case. Authoritarian regimes are offering an alternative vision for how to organize society and for a government’s relationship with its people. Their proposition is simple: Yes, it may be more repressive and there are fewer freedoms than with liberal democracy, but it is also more orderly, efficient, and able to handle big problems.

    But it is more than simply promoting their own model. Authoritarians also seek to tear down America’s comparative advantage in this this perceived battle of ideas, its self-proclaimed strength as a beacon of democracy, freedom, and equal rights. By doing so they are working to undercut the image America seeks to projects to the world, and the very idea promoted by Democrats like John F. Kennedy and Republicans like Ronald Reagan that America should serve as a shining city upon the hill. If the United States and democracy is not viewed as offering freedom, liberty, or equal rights, then it’s all a sham and the model that it professes is a sham too.

    This is why foreign, authoritarian-run media covered the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol so extensively and sensationally. Chinese State-owned outlets described it as an “internal collapse” of the American political system. Chinese outlets were even sent instructions for their coverage of the Capitol Insurrection to emphasize attacking democracy and promoting the idea that censorship is a superior political tool compared to freedom of speech. RT and Sputnik, Russia’s vaunted international propaganda outlets, similarly promoted such messages, covering the Jan. 6 insurrection with headlines describing it as “a date which will live in infamy,” “the date the Second Civil War began,” and “a symptom of a bigger problem.” The Russian government goes beyond simply promoting damaging messages in news coverage, but even tries to exacerbate racial tensions in the United States through its social media manipulation. It is home to leaders of American Neo-Nazi and extremist organizations. Russia’s disinformation networks also specifically target minority groups, especially African Americans, in their disinformation campaigns. There are even reports that Russian intelligence may be financing certain hate groups in the United States, specifically trying to push them towards violence.

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  • Islamophobia is rampant on social media. Bots are only making it worse

    Posted by · November 04, 2021 8:55 AM

    QZ - In August 2021, a Facebook ad campaign criticizing Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the United States’ first Muslim congresswomen, came under intense scrutiny. Critics charged that the ads linked the congresswomen with terrorism, and some faith leaders condemned the campaign as “Islamophobic” – that is, spreading fear of Islam and hatred against Muslims.

    This was hardly the first time the pair faced Islamophobic or racist abuse, especially on the internet. As a communications professor who studies the politics of race and identity online, I have seen that Omar is often a target of white nationalist attacks on Twitter.

    But online attacks on Muslims are not limited to politicians. Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, stereotypes that associate Muslims with terrorism go far beyond depictions in newspapers and television. Recent research raises the alarm about rampant Islamophobia in digital spaces, particularly far-right groups’ use of disinformation and other manipulation tactics to vilify Muslims and their faith.

    In July 2021, for example, a team led by media researcher Lawrence Pintak published research on tweets that mentioned Omar during her campaign for Congress. They reported that half the tweets they studied involved “overtly Islamophobic or xenophobic language or other forms of hate speech.”

    The majority of offensive posts came from a small number of “provocateurs” – accounts that seed Islamophobic conversations on Twitter. Many of these accounts belonged to conservatives, they found. But the researchers reported that such accounts themselves did not generate significant traffic.

    Instead, the team found that “amplifiers” were primarily responsible: accounts that collect and circulate agents provocateurs’ ideas through mass retweets and replies.

    Their most interesting finding was that only four of the top 20 Islamophobic amplifiers were authentic accounts. Most were either bots – algorithmically generated to mimic human accounts – or “sockpuppets,” which are human accounts that use fake identities to deceive others and manipulate conversations online.

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  • Social Media Continues To Amplify White Supremacy And Suppress Anti-Racism

    Posted by · November 01, 2021 8:51 AM

    One of the greatest inventions within the last few decades has been social media. With the ability to connect with thousands and even millions of people instantly, social media has revolutionized the way that we communicate. Social media has even been instrumental in catalyzing major revolutions and its usage has risen significantly in the last few years, especially in 2020 amidst the global pandemic. With the great power that accompanies social media, comes great problems, it seems. Twitter just announced that it would be permanently suspending President Trump’s Twitter account out of fear that his tweets may be encouraging a violence. Although it is a step in right direction, social media could use more protections and safeguards for those who are outspoken about racism and white supremacy. Black social media users have experienced a great deal of censorship online. Often times, those who are outspoken about white supremacy and racism have found their content removed or taken down for violating community guidelines. The silencing of those who speak out against bigotry and hate causes more damage than harm. The dismantling of oppressive systems cannot be achieved without the hard truths. A large part of the reason why racism is such a difficult elephant to eat is because we refuse to have honest and candid conversations in person and online. But those who are courageous enough to discuss these more challenging and nuanced subjects are punished rather than praised

    Many anti-racism educators and consultants have seen a spike in business following the killing of George Floyd, however, there may also be a concerted effort to muffle these same voices online. For many activists, diversity consultants, and anti-racism educators, Instagram is one of the primary ways to gain clients, so censorship of their content may also be impacting their pockets. “[Instagram] has really provided me with an opportunity to connect with other Black folks…and it’s really encouraged me to stay focused on Black liberation…” shares anti-racism educator Monique Melton. “[I’ve] literally had my [Instagram] posts removed with no warning, no methods for filing for appeal of any kind…your content is just taken down.

    You could write content that folks just don’t like, and they can report it as hate speech and…it’s gone. It’s happened twice with absolutely no opportunity to contest it…from the shadow banning to a very huge and sharp decline in engagement…seeing my numbers drop for the past few weeks [and] it’s been dropping by 0.4% each week.”

    Popular Instagram account No White Saviors (NWS) found themselves in a similar situation when much of the content on their Instagram page was concealed or what is known as shadow banned. Shadow banning can be thought of as the suppression or invisibility of a post on social media. The NWS Instagram account, which currently has over 800,000 followers, has seen a decline in engagement since their inception. In an email, the NWS team stated “Instagram has given our team access to a global audience that would have been hard to reach in such a short amount of time. We started our page in June 2018, so we haven’t even been around for three years yet…we have dealt with many censorship issues from Instagram from the beginning. From our content taken down for ‘hate speech’ to shadow banning, to having Instagram threaten [to] have our entire profile deleted…Instagram seems to do better to protect white supremacists and Nazi pages than those of us working to hold anti-Blackness and white supremacy accountable.”

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  • Outing our bigoted neighbors - Robinson

    Posted by · October 28, 2021 1:41 PM

    A group of racist and anti-LGBTQ neighbors in Los Gatos have unleashed their hate against Mayor Marico Sayoc and her family.  Such vitriol in the aftermath of the “Trump Era” is far too commonplace. Finally, we are seeing active pushback against this small-minded minority of bullies.

    A group called the Goldbridge Institute has formed to out bigots in their own communities.

    “The goal is to identify and isolate the disease and put these people back from under the rocks in which they sprang,” said Johnny Wang, executive director of the organization. “Too often the bigots find comfort in their anonymity on social media and in small crowds. No one takes them to task.”

    Goldbridge wants to change that dynamic. Many of those who engage in this behavior feel free to do so because there are no consequences, as we have seen with the thousands who attacked the U.S. Capitol—but only 684 people have been charged with a crime. Moreover, most sentences upon conviction have been light and the main leader—former President Donald Trump—remains free to this day.

    But Wang says the Goldbridge Institute will use its free speech rights to push back on hate, with the goal of providing consequences for those who engage in hate.

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  • Psychology's urgent need to dismantle racism

    Posted by · October 25, 2021 9:57 AM

    In a time of crisis and racial reckoning, what is psychology's opportunity, and responsibility to take action?

    APA - Psychology has an opportunity to continue evolving and meet the needs of a changing U.S. population—starting by countering the pervasive and damaging effects of racism. Experts contend that anti-racist psychological science is better science because it adapts to the reality of an increasingly diverse America. In short, psychology has two choices—advance or become irrelevant.

    Pursuing anti-racism in psychology requires a critical examination of how the discipline structures opportunity in ways that uphold White supremacy. Who or what is getting studied, and who is being served? What is psychology’s particular responsibility in responding to racism? Who is in the pipeline to become a psychologist? Who is being recruited, trained, and promoted? Are psychologists doing the uncomfortable self-examination to grow toward anti-racism? Whose research is getting funded, published, and cited? How are psychologists countering racism, challenging research norms, and building bridges as mentors and allies?

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  • White supremacy is the root of race-related violence in the United States

    Posted by · October 21, 2021 8:32 AM

    by Jennifer Ho

    Amid the disturbing rise in attacks on Asian Americans since March 2020 is a troubling category of these assaults: Black people are also attacking Asian Americans.

    White people are the main perpetrators of anti-Asian racism. But in February 2021, a Black person pushed an elderly Asian man to the ground in San Francisco; the man later died from his injuries. In another video, from New York City on March 29, 2021, a Black person pushes and beats an Asian American woman on the sidewalk in front of a doorway while onlookers observe the attack, then close their door on the woman without intervening or providing aid.

    As the current president of the Association for Asian American Studies and as an ethnic studies and critical race studies professor who specializes in Asian American culture, I wanted to address the climate of anti-Asian racism I was seeing at the start of the pandemic. So in April 2020, I created a PowerPoint slide deck about anti-Asian racism that my employer, the University of Colorado Boulder, turned into a website. That led to approximately 50 interviews, workshops, talks and panel presentations that I’ve done on anti-Asian racism, specifically in the time of COVID-19.

    The point I’ve made through all of those experiences is that anti-Asian racism has the same source as anti-Black racism: white supremacy. So when a Black person attacks an Asian person, the encounter is fueled perhaps by racism, but very specifically by white supremacy. White supremacy does not require a white person to perpetuate it.

    It’s not just white people

    White supremacy is an ideology, a pattern of values and beliefs that are ingrained in nearly every system and institution in the U.S. It is a belief that to be white is to be human and invested with inalienable universal rights and that to be not-white means you are less than human – a disposable object for others to abuse and misuse.

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  • How white supremacy, racist myths fuel anti-Asian violence

    Posted by · October 18, 2021 9:49 AM

    As an assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington, Linh Thủy Nguyễn focuses on a number of research areas, including Asian American and Southeast Asian American studies, immigration and refugee issues, and gender and family.

    She also values the role of community, whether as a means of providing services or taking collective action, in tackling problems and offering a voice.

    The recent, national wave of violence and harassment against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) is only the latest in a much longer history of oppressive, hateful acts, Nguyen said. (Nguyen points out that this term is used here to be inclusive of the experiences of Pacific Islanders while acknowledging the complicated political conditions of some Pacific Islanders whose experiences as indigenous populations are not adequately captured through the lens of race.)

    The organization Stop AAPI Hate has tracked nearly 3,000 incidents over the past year, which advocates say is likely an undercount, because many people don’t report what happened to them. That’s not surprising, Nguyen said: Reporting incidents of discrimination or violence can be traumatic and potentially lead to even more harassment.

    “The lack of visibility around the issue also means that those who choose to speak out may face denials and threats for doing so,” Nguyen said. “Individualized acts of violence may be disregarded as a one-off rather than part of a larger system of attitudes and beliefs that contributes to violent acts against particular communities.”

    Nguyen spoke with UW News about the history of racism and violence, and ways forward.

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  • New FBI Hate Crimes Report Shows Increases in Anti-LGBTQ Attacks

    Posted by · October 13, 2021 9:44 AM

    HRC responded to troubling federal data showing unacceptably high levels of hate crimes — and an increase in those targeting LGBTQ people — as disclosed by the FBI today.

    Today’s report shows that hate crimes based on sexual orientation represent 16.7% of hate crimes, the third largest category after race and religion. The report also shows an uptick in gender identity based hate crimes rising from 2.2% in 2018 to 2.7% in 2019.

    Because reporting hate crimes to the FBI is not mandatory, these alarming statistics likely represent only a fraction of such violence. The number of law enforcement agencies reporting hate crimes data decreased by 451 from 2018 to 2019. 71 cities with populations exceeding 100,000 either did not report data to the FBI or affirmatively reported zero hate crimes which is clearly not credible. The lack of mandatory reporting means that the FBI data, while helpful, paints an incomplete picture of hate crimes against the LGBTQ and other communities.

    That is why since the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) in 2009, HRC has worked with the FBI to update the agency’s crime reporting, from providing training materials to sharing details on hate crimes when they occur. HRC continues to press for improved reporting, passage of state laws that protect LGBTQ individuals from hate crimes and expanded education and training initiatives.

    It’s not only LGBTQ people who are affected by this epidemic of violence. Bias-motivated crimes based on race, religion, disability and gender remain at troublingly high levels. Racially-motivated crime remains the most common hate crime, with nearly half of race-based hate crimes targeting Black people. For the fourth year in a row, there was a significant uptick in hate crimes targeting the Latinx community, increasing 9% from last year. Crimes involving religion-based bias increased with crimes targeting Jewish people and Jewish institutions rising 14% and anti-Muslim hate crimes rising 16%.

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  • FBI Reports Hate Crimes at Highest Level in 12 Years

    Posted by · October 07, 2021 8:20 AM

    EJI - The FBI reported last week that 15,136 law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 7,759 criminal incidents motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity in 2020.

    That’s the highest number of reported hate crime incidents since 2008, when 7,783 incidents were reported, and it reflects an increase of about 450 incidents from 2019—even though fewer law enforcement agencies reported hate crime incidents to the FBI in 2020 than in previous years.

    Hate crime incidents targeting people because of their race make up the largest category by far. Out of more than 10,800 people who reported that they were the victim of a hate crime last year, 61.9% were targeted because of their race, ethnicity, or ancestry, the FBI reports.

    Bias against African Americans overwhelmingly comprised the largest category of race-based hate crime incidents, with a total of 56% of race-based hate crimes being motivated by anti-Black bias.

    Hate crime incidents targeting people because of their race increased more than any other category between 2019 and 2020, rising from 3,954 to 4,939 incidents. Attacks targeting Black people saw the largest rise, from 1,972 in 2019 to 2,755 in 2020.

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  • Rise of violence, harassment amid pandemic part of continuing tale of racism in U.S.

    Posted by · October 04, 2021 9:10 AM

    The scapegoating of Asian Americans

    Harvard Gazette - The Atlanta shootings that killed eight people, six of them Asian women, took place amid an upsurge in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic. Authorities say the suspect, a 21-year-old white man, has confessed to the attacks and blames a sex addiction for his actions. They have not yet charged him with hate crimes, and legal experts say such a case may be difficult to establish.

    But for Courtney Sato, a postdoctoral fellow in The Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, the general rise in hostility that serves as the tragedy’s backdrop is part of the nation’s long history of brutal bigotry against Asian Americans.

    “The important thing to remember is that this is really not an exceptional moment by any means,” said Sato. “But it’s really part of a much longer genealogy of anti-Asian violence that reaches as far back as the 19th century.”

    Sato pointed to the Chinese massacre of 1871, when a mob in Los Angeles’ Chinatown attacked and murdered 19 Chinese residents, including a 15-year-old boy, a reflection of the growing anti-Asian sentiment that came to its climax with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. The act banned the immigration of Chinese laborers, much as the Page Exclusion Act of 1875, the nation’s first restrictive immigration law, had prohibited the entry of Chinese women.

    Sato said the Page Exclusion Act is a precursor to the dehumanizing narratives and tropes that render Asian woman as objects of sexual fetishization and unworthy of being part of the national consciousness.

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