Resources on Addressing White Nationalism

During the Fall 2022 semester, I was on sabbatical to research the rise of white nationalist online propaganda, how it impacts college students, and what colleges, especially my own institution of Raritan Valley Community College, can do about it. I have put together these resources to encourage anyone to strengthen their own understanding of this complex issue and to integrate these resources into your own teaching or other work. These resources complement the recommendations I make in my op-ed soon to be published by Inside Higher Ed (link forthcoming). Please also see my page Historical context: How did we get here? for an overview of white nationalism in the US.

-by Karen Gaffney (email: dividednolonger AT gmail.com)

A note on terminology
My research has shown that there is not consistent agreement on terminology for racist extremism. Western States Center (WSC) is a national civil rights organization (whose trainings I have attended) that uses “white nationalism” to refer to a political movement whose goal is the creation of a white ethnostate, while WSC uses “white supremacy” to refer to a system of oppression rooted in the ideology of white superiority. On the other hand, A Field Guide to White Supremacy has a note on the definition of “white nationalist” that recommends “Use sparingly or in quotation marks as this term often masks violent ideology and intent” (xv). This text defines “white supremacy” as “Both individual belief that white people are inherently better than others and the broad systems of inequality that insure racial disparity of health, income, life, and freedom. Please note that systems can produce white supremacist outcomes without individual belief or racial animus” (xii). Miller-Idriss tends to use “far right,” noting that “white nationalism” is “problematic” for “softening the extreme nature of white-supremacist ideas” (16). While it’s challenging to reconcile these perspectives, I have decided to use “white nationalism” when focusing on current propaganda and threats, following WSC. I use “white supremacy” when speaking more broadly about the ideology, and I sometimes use “far right” to encompass a broader range of extremist activity.

1a. Resources for debunking myths of white nationalism & antisemitism

Introductory resources that address white nationalism today

White Nationalism (an explainer from Facing History & Ourselves)

White Power, White Violence (an article in the Atlantic by scholar of white supremacy Kathleen Belew after the mass shooting in Buffalo in May 2022)

“Somebody Must Be Blamed”: Antisemitism, the Equal Opportunity Ideology (an article by civil rights leader Eric Ward)

Exploring hate: How antisemitism fuels white nationalism (a short PBS Newshour video)

New York Times series The Danger Within by the NY Times Editorial Board examines the danger of extremist violence and possible solutions

Are We Witnessing the Mainstreaming of White Power in America? (podcast) (“A historian of the white power movement discusses Jan. 6, Tucker Carlson and the threat of politically motivated violence.” New York Times podcast with guest host Nicole Hemmer interviewing Kathleen Belew)

Antisemitism: Here and Now (video) United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, with scholar Deborah Lipstadt (“This conversation focuses on the international surge in antisemitism since the deadly attack on a synagogue in Poway, California. Now those who scapegoat Jews and other minorities are preying upon the isolation, fear, and economic insecurity brought on by the coronavirus to spread their hatred.”)

Introductory resources that provide historical context about white nationalism and antisemitism

Where “replacement theory” comes from — and why it refuses to go away (an article in Vox by Fabiola Cineas after the mass shooting in Buffalo in May 2022)

Why the Jews: History of Antisemitism (“This 13-minute film introduces the history of antisemitism from its origins in the days of the early Christian church until the era of the Holocaust in the mid-20th century. It raises questions about why Jews have been targeted throughout history and how antisemitism offered fertile ground to the Nazis.”)

U.S. Fascism: Origins, Patterns & Continuities (video) (A recorded webinar featuring scholars of fascism Gerald Horne, Cynthia Miller-Idriss, and Jason Stanley)

1b. Resources that debunk the myth that race is biological

Videos

Race: The Power of an Illusion (especially Episode One – The Difference Between Us) (note that the streaming service available at many libraries called Kanopy has this 3-episode film series)

Resource from the above film: Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Race (from documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion)

“The Problem with Race-Based Medicine” (Ted Talk) (“Social justice advocate and law scholar Dorothy Roberts has a precise and powerful message: Race-based medicine is bad medicine. Even today, many doctors still use race as a medical shortcut; they make important decisions about things like pain tolerance based on a patient’s skin color instead of medical observation and measurement.”)

The Biology of Skin Color (“Penn State University anthropologist Dr. Nina Jablonski explains how different shades of skin color arose as adaptations to the intensity of ultraviolet radiation in different parts of the world.”)

Articles

Race ≠ DNA: If race is a social construct, what’s up with DNA ancestry testing? by Joseph Graves, one of the scientists featured in Race: The Power of an Illusion

What Serena Williams’s scary childbirth story says about medical treatment of black women

The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’

“The disturbing reason some African American patients may be undertreated for pain” by Sandhya Somashekhar

Podcast

Genetics Unzipped, the Genetics Society Podcast, dedicated 7 episodes to conversations with speakers of the 2022 Adelphi Genetics Forum, focused on “Living with the Eugenic Past” (“What are the demands of justice when it comes to the victims of eugenics? How should universities and other institutions involved in eugenics deal responsibly with that involvement? And can present-day biology education and research be improved to help safeguard the future from the mistakes of the past?”) Click here for first episode

2. Teaching Media Literacy

Background information on teaching media literacy more effectively

Digital Literacy for Digital Natives: Helping teachers face down fake news and cultivate smart, discerning consumers of online information

Educating for Misunderstanding: How Approaches to Teaching Digital Literacy Make Students Susceptible to Scammers, Rogues, Bad Actors, and Hate Mongers (Report by Stanford researchers who conducted an experiment on college students and determined that the majority were not able to identify misinformation; the report explains why and provides valuable recommendations)

Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civil Online Reasoning (Report by Stanford researchers who analyzed media literacy skills of middle school, high school, and college students; the report includes samples of the websites and social media shared with students and how the students responded)

Materials to share with students to teach media literacy more effectively in any discipline

Mike Caulfield’s SIFT Method for digital literacy (This resource integrates videos into an article about Mike Caulfield’s SIFT Method: Stop, Investigate the source, Find better coverage, and Trace claims, quotes, and media to the original content)

University of Louisville’s Citizen Literacy video series for students about Lateral Reading, News Literacy, Algorithmic Literacy & more

Crash Course’s Navigating Digital Information video series for students that covers social media, lateral reading, deciding who to trust, & more

Ask your students to take News Lit Quiz: The easiest quiz of all time

Interactive Media Bias Chart

3. Increasing a Culture of Belonging: Civic Education and Engagement

Websites with resources about civic education and engagement

Facing History & Ourselves: Our Approach to Civic Education

Facing History & Ourselves: Fostering Civil Discourse: How Do We Talk About Issues That Matter? (set up a free account to access info)

Educating for American Democracy

Democratic Knowledge Project

Video

University of Louisville’s Citizen Literacy: Informed Voting (video)

Classroom Activity

Classroom Activity on Decoding the 1st Amendment

Article

Friendships Can Heal Campus Divisions, Study Finds, and Administrators Play a Big Role

Additional Resources

Toolkits from Western States Center

Confronting White Nationalism in Schools: A Toolkit

Confronting White Nationalism in Libraries: A Toolkit

Confronting Conspiracy Theories and Organized Bigotry at Home: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers

Toolkits from Polarization & Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University

Building Resilient and Inclusive Communities of Knowledge (BRICK) Toolkit [for Higher Ed]

Building Resilience & Confronting Risk: A Parents & Caregivers Guide to Online Radicalization

Building Networks & Addressing Harm: A Community Guide to Online Youth Radicalization Resources for Trusted Adults, Mentors & Community Leaders

Articles

My Child Is Sharing Conspiracy Theories and Racist Memes. What Do I Say?

Inoculating Our Students Against White Nationalism

Podcasts

Schooling Bigotry series, Western States Center

Teaching While While White: Hate Groups Recruiting White Students (podcast)

How to talk to kids about radicalization and the signs of it

Video

PBS Newshour video: How these Oregon teachers are fighting back against white nationalism

Websites for organizations that provide valuable resources and could serve as potential partners

Western States Center

Southern Poverty Law Center

Polarization & Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University

Facing History & Ourselves

It Started With Words