Congressional Hearing on White Nationalism

April 8, 2019

"Many White Extremist Killers Were Inspired by Earlier Attacks" chart via New York Times

Here’s what you need to know

The attack in Christchurch, New Zealand did not happen in a vacuum. It was part of an overall increase in white nationalist violence that’s been legitimized through public officials’ extreme rhetoric in government, and effectively allowed to wreak havoc in society. In partnership with organizations such as Bend the Arc, we have been raising the red flag on the need to reject white nationalism for years. We've called on Congress to conduct a hearing on white nationalism. We've called on tech companies to do a better job of enforcing their hate speech policies online. We've also constantly called on the Trump administration and other elected officials to cease their extreme rhetoric as it continues to marginalize communities. Congress will be holding a hearing on Hate Crimes and the Rise of White Nationalism and we’ll be there, bringing you updates from the front lines.

Here are the details

It’s been over three weeks since a man opened fire in two mosques and killed 50 innocent Muslim worshippers. Since then, there's been an increase in related hate violence, both here at home and abroad. In California, there was an attempted arson attack where graffiti referenced the New Zealand attack. In Britain, there has been a 600% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes of almost 600%. The vast majority of those were incidents linked to the Christchurch attacks.

The increase in white nationalism has been legitimized in our government by President Trump. His long-standing affinity for white nationalist rhetoric, leaders and movements is well documented. Administration officials and members of Congress, often feign opposition of the President's rhetoric. Yet, they continue to see through a policy agenda which is inspired by this ideology.  We’ve seen white nationalists organize on social media platforms. In 2017, The Guardian released a report detailing how Facebook’s community standards allow harmful content and white supremacist ideology a space to live and escalate.

Along with national civil rights groups, we pushed tech companies to change their community guidelines. We've been pushing them to enforce their hate speech policies more effectively. Facebook has announced that they will ban posts, photos and other content that references white nationalism and white separatism. Still, it should not take a massacre to force a simple conversation over how to deal with these issues.

When attacks similar to Christchurch, Pittsburgh or Oak Creek occur, our message has been clear. Any response to these incidences, and to the forces which led to them, must come as part of a reaffirmation that America aspires to be pluralistic and unified. To achieve, we have to ensure any legislative or political response does not deepen already existing divides.

Here’s what we’re doing

As the first step in moving a path forward, together we have called on Congress to conduct a hearing on white nationalism. We need to have an understanding of white nationalism and its impact on communities. We need Congress to call white nationalism what it is: a threat to our domestic and national security.

We thank Chairman Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee, for his bold leadership hosting today’s hearing. Follow us on social media and join the conversation as we cover this important hearing.


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