Mother's viral thread on white boys and alt-right propaganda is a must-read for parents
Photo by Blink O'fanaye / Flickr

America is seeing a huge surge in right-wing terrorist acts perpetrated by young white males. Since 9/11, right-wing terrorists have killed more people in the United States than Jihadis.

So the new questions become, how do we stop breeding terrorists in America? How do we identify the warning signs of alt-right radicalization? And how do we prevent white teens from falling victim to a vast campaign of propaganda that aims to radicalize them?


Joanna Shroeder, a self-identified feminist mother, wife, and writer, whose work has appeared in outlets such as Redbook, Time.com, and AskMen, wrote a powerful viral tweet thread on how and why these young white teens become radicalized.

The thread also shows how parents can help prevent radicalization from happening in the first place.

Alt-right activist making the "OK" aka white power sign. via Mooch Cassidy / Flickr

Shroeder's take is important because it shows that radicalization doesn't happen in a bubble. It also points out that many teens lack the nuanced, critical thinking skills necessary to develop an inclusive worldview.

All the while, they are living in a time of great change in which society is working to level the playing field by elevating people of color, women, and religious minorities.

This, in turn, makes it much easier for these teens to be seduced by propaganda that affirms their whiteness. These days, YouTube, 4Chan, and gaming forums are rife with propaganda that preys on the vulnerability of white teens.

RELATED: Justice finally served in the case of a Nazi who unleashed a troll army on a Jewish woman

Over the past decade, there's been a lot of talk about how older white men have been radicalized by Fox News, Schroeder makes a similar argument for white teenagers and social media.

Schroeder's empathetic view of these young men doesn't serve to forgive those who become radicalized, but it shows that it's more important than ever for parents to understand their perspectives.

We often talk about women and ethnic minorities as "falling through the cracks" in institutions that fail to support them. Schroeder's thread shows that, in changing times, new chasms have opened in the social fabric that have made it easier for white teens to be radicalized. It's time for them to be closed.


She also suggested some ways to learn more about this form of white radicalization.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less