Sunday, May 28, 2023

The allure of fascism: why do minorities join the far right? by Edwin Rios, May 22, 2023

This entire piece is worth reading considering that it focuses on Latinos who are drawn to the far right with a growing list of names like Afro-Cuban Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, who was recently found guilty for "sedition conspiracy" for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.  

In particular, read Dr. Cristina Beltran's analysis below of how this has evolved over time, pointing to  a dynamic that she terms, “multiracial whiteness” that helps capture much of what is playing out currently with far-right men of color. While provocative, we shouldn't at all be surprised about this since we've always had language for this, including "internalized oppression" and "internalized racism." Simply expressed, multiracial white people adopt the dominant group's pejorative perspective of their own group.

Clearly, Latinos and other communities are on the receiving end of a continuous "complex and contradictory cocktail of misinformation." This is exactly what helps create space for these far-right identities. 

Relatedly, what is not at all addressed is the vacuum in identity that is engineered by a white chauvinist K-12, and to a great extent, higher education, curriculum that systematically excludes the knowledges, histories, stories, identities, languages, as well as prior and ongoing contributions made by our nation's Black and Brown, minoritized communities.  

I've always said and it's worth mentioning anew: The antidote to extremism is an Ethnic Studies curriculum—in both K-12 and higher education institutions—that provides the conceptual tools and frameworks needed to understand self in relation to family, community and society. Plus, rather than victimization or victimology, Ethnic Studies—along with gender and ability studies—empowers our youth, beginning with an enhanced sense of self that is pro-social, pro-community, pro-democratic, and an important avenue through which to perfect the union.

Sí se puede! Yes we can!

-Angela Valenzuela

The allure of fascism: why do minorities join the far right?

by Edwin Rios | The Guardian | May 22, 2023

A white supremacist ideology would appear to be antithetical to people of color, but there’s a perverse logic at play when they join extremist groups

While investigators search for a motive behind a Texas man’s mass killing of eight people at an outlet mall near Dallas earlier this month, they and groups such as the Anti-Defamation League believe they have uncovered social media posts in which he spewed white supremacist, misogynist and antisemitic rhetoric.

Experts say Mauricio Garcia’s apparent expression of hate-filled rhetoric fits into a modest but increasingly alarming pattern of largely men of color drawn to far-right communities. Since the election of Donald Trump, they say, more men of color have taken on leadership roles in far-right and militia groups and participated, and in some cases led, violent protests, most notably during the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

For people of Latino descent like Garcia, who self-identified as Hispanic, the allure of rightwing proto-fascist politics comes from a complex and contradictory cocktail of misinformation within Latino communities, the presence of authoritarian influences from their countries of origin, and a proximity to whiteness in the US that relies more on dominance over people than one’s skin color. In this world, violence is an apt political response to threats to such dominance.

“Part of what we’re seeing – not just in the militia groups, but all across, including a clear upsurge of people of color voting Republican party – is that there’s not a necessary connection between racial identity and your beliefs,” Daniel HoSang, professor of ethnicity, race and migration and American studies at Yale University, says.

He added: “It is complicated. It means disentangling your presumptions around race and political identity. We had an entire civil rights movement that was grounded on combating laws that were racially segregative. Now, we’re at a moment where it’s a bit more muddy and requires more nuance.”

Garcia, who was killed by police, wore a patch on his chest that read “RWDS”, which stands for “Right Wing Death Squad”, a nod to glorifying violence and an allusion popular among far-right and extremist groups to violence by Central and South American paramilitary groups against communists and what they saw enemies on the political left from as far back as the 1970s, the Associated Press reported.

The Anti-Defamation League found posts on Russian social media of Garcia with neo-Nazi tattoos and misogynist language, including those used by “incels”, a subculture of men who blame women and society for their inability to form romantic connections, a phenomenon that federal law enforcement sees as a rising threat that could escalate to violence, often against women.

“White supremacy itself is not just about membership, about who is and isn’t white,” says HoSang, co-author of the 2019 book Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity. “It comes with a politics and ideology of division … It’s also their beliefs about the nation and of the role of violence in enforcing that hierarchy.”

Unlike the white supremacists who rioted in Charlottesville in 2017, men of color attracted to white supremacist ideologies believe less in a white ethnostate and more that the state has failed them in the past and it will take violence to suppress threats and restore their perceived sense of order, HoSang says. Scholars have described their connection to these extremists as the “multiracial far right

Cecilia Márquez, a history professor at Duke University, was less surprised than others when it was revealed the Texas mass shooter was Latino and had peddled white supremacist views. She has tracked the involvement of Latino people on the white nationalist website Stormfront, particularly since the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, whose mother was Peruvian.

Márquez had seen a small but rising number of Latino men, and men of color broadly, being drawn into white nationalist forums and becoming radicalized. Márquez, whose research has found Latino participation in white supremacist groups as far back as the 1980s, described how Latinos on the website would identify as the heirs to the Spanish conquest in similar ways to how white supremacists would relate to Norse or Viking mythology.

She added that the internet “made it possible for white supremacists throughout the Americas to be able to talk to each other” in ways that were not possible before, noting that that communication through messaging apps like WhatsApp had “accelerated” not just the spread of misinformation but also of “information designed to radicalize people”.

“It felt really, really scary,” Márquez said. The Texas shooter, she added, was “not a single actor. He’s not by himself. He’s part of a growing community of people who are engaged in this kind of thinking, and increasingly this kind of violence.”

She emphasized, however, that Garcia’s views represented a fraction of this small population and fixating on him missed the larger story of how Latinos in the US have largely consolidated around Democratic political views. Still, experts say, Garcia represents a paradox of squaring away one’s racial identity with one’s political identity.

Like others, Cristina Beltrán, an associate professor who studies race and the right at New York University, emphasized that the experiences and views of Latino communities in the US are not monolithic, and being Latino is one part of a person’s identity.

“We know that experience alone doesn’t produce an identity. That is how you interpret your experiences,” Beltrán says.

What could also draw young men of color to the far right extends beyond perceived views of racial superiority. Beltrán argued that they could also be drawn to the practice of “domination” that is tied to American history and the subjugation of other groups such as women, noting that it was part of a “history of being able to feel free because some groups are below you”.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Beltrán, author of Cruelty as Citizenship: How Migrant Suffering Sustains White Democracy, also wrote that the rise of Donald Trump offered this form of what she called “multiracial whiteness” to far-right men of color like Enrique Tarrio, an Afro-Cuban former leader of the Proud Boys who was recently found guilty of seditious conspiracy in relation to the January 6 insurrection. Márquez and Beltrán both questioned whether those views opened pathways for men of color into more extremist ideology.

What’s more, Beltrán argues that the expansion of jobs within the US security and carceral apparatus in the past few decades have both inspired movements to dismantle those systems and reinforced the perception of a nation under threat, as people from communities of color both fill those jobs and are disproportionately affected by the prison system .

She added that those communities have certain views on how to resolve problems and are skewed to conservatism.

Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, wearing a shirt proclaiming support for Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd. Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

“In Texas, you have a lot of migrants who are being brutalized by our really terrible immigration and border policy. But you also have over half of the border patrol being Latino,” Beltrán says. “They’re employed and being socialized into a brutal regime that is very dehumanizing to migrants.”

Within the histories of their countries of origin are moments of anti-Blackness and anti-Indigenous sentiment, as well as reactionary politics that led to the violent suppression of progressive views by dictators.

Beltrán says that within Texas, where the shooting took place, Latinos, particularly people of Mexican descent, have a complicated history as both having a proximity to whiteness and being subjected to lynching and brutalization by the Texas rangers.

“Latinos have always existed as a population that’s both been under assault, and also been brought into practices of racial domination,” Beltrán says.

In Garcia, Márquez saw a difficult tension: Garcia’s hate-filled views rest on the extreme end of a spectrum of conservatism that separates one’s connection to their racial and ethnic identity and one’s political views. She added that his hateful views, shared by an increasingly visible minority of people, were not representative but also should not be discounted.

Experts have pointed to Latino Republicans who have touted their own identities on the campaign trails while they supported former president Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies.

“Maybe not everyone has a swastika on their body. But many of us have aunts and uncles who say inappropriate things at the table, or have someone who voted for Trump or doesn’t want to live in communities with other people,” Márquez says.

“Seeing [Garcia] as part of this spectrum is important. Yes, he is aberrant in so many ways – in so many ways. But to look away from him and eschew him from our community gets us off the hook because there is a lot of racism within the community and anti-Blackness and anti-Indigenous sentiment that we have to reckon with.”

No comments:

Post a Comment