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.

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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.

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