Teaching and Learning about Difference through Social Media: Reflection, Engagement, and Self-Assessment 9780815376286, 9780815376293, 9781351238212

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Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Pge
Table of Contents
The Need it Fills
1 The Advent of Social Media and the People Who Use It
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Emergence of Internet Use by the General Public
A Definition of Media
A Definition of Social Media and Social Networking
Internet Use Explained
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-In
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
2 Social Media as the New “News” Source and the Distancing of Dialogue and Treatment of Difference
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Social Media as the new “News” Source
Social Media and The Emerging Dialogue on Difference
Footnote on the Use of the Term “Difference”
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-In
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
3 The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Contextualizing the Dialogue on Difference on Social Media
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Key Components of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Early Court Cases
Affirmative Action
Chapter Questions for Discussion
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-in
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
4 Racial Intolerance and Social Media
Chapter Overview
Vignette: Marisol’s Story
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Racism and Prejudice
Context: Historical, Social, Political, Cultural
The First Social Media President
Racism and Prejudice on Social Media
Violence Toward African Americans by White Nationalists
Treatment of People of Color in Ordinary Situations
Racism aimed at politicians and celebrities of color
Presidential Use of Social Media
Classroom Practice
Chapter Questions for Discussion
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-In
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
5 Religious Views and the Treatment of Others on Social Media
Chapter Overview
Vignette: Umar and Dylan – Friends
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Historical Context – The Civil Rights Movement
The Farm Workers Movement
Evangelical Protestantism and other Religions
Evangelicals and the 2016 Presidential Election
Treatment of Immigrants and Religion
Religion in America – Context
The Christian Evangelical Right and the Religious Disconnect
Using Religion to Disenfranchise and Oppress People and Other Communities in the 2000s
Classroom Practice
Mario’s Reflection on Teaching
Chapter Questions for Discusion
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-In
6 Women and Girls and Social Media
Chapter Overview
Vignette: Three Friends
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Historical Context: Women’s Rights in the 1960s and 1970s
Women and Girls Today: Movements, Causes, and Representation on Social Media
Women’s Activism on Social Media
The Women’s March on Washington – 2017
The Women’s March of 2018
The #MeToo Movement
Chapter Questions for Discussion
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-in
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
7 Hate, Violence, Terrorism, and Social Media
Chapter Overview
Reacting to violence – in the news
Tapping into your Personal Lens
The emboldening of hate crimes, groups, and speech?
Hate Crime and People of Color
Anti-Semitism increase
Shootings in Schools and Public Places: Historical Context
Shootings in Schools
Sandy Hook Elementary School
The Use of Sandy Hook Victims to Promote “Conspiracy Theories”
More on Conspiracy Theories and Social Media
Violence and the Alt-Right
Hate and Terror in Public Spaces
Paris attack, November 13, 2015
Terrorist Attack at the Ariana Grande concert
Chapter Questions for Discussion
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-in
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
8 LGBTQ Community and Social Media
Chapter Overview
Young Gay Chicano Men and AIDS
Tapping into your Personal Lens
Early AIDS Activism
Historical Context: Legislation, Policy, and Gay Rights
Policies and Laws
Bringing Attention to the Hate Aimed at the LGBTQ Community
LGBTQ Rights and Activism Today: Movements, Causes, and Representation on Social Media
Chapter Questions for Discussion
Critical Self-Reflection/Check-in
Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading
Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?
Historical Context
Socio-Cultural Context
Social Media
No Easy Answers
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Teaching and Learning about Difference through Social Media

Teaching and Learning about Difference through Social Media considers the role social media has played in prompting public conversations about difference and diversity, including issues relating to ethnicity, race, religion, political affiliation, gender, and sexual orientation. These issues are addressed in the context of the present political climate. They are also examined with respect to occurrences of hate and violence, including hate crimes and mass fatality events. Using a historical and socio-­cultural approach to how we look at these significant issues in the USA, the authors examine the ways difference and diversity are represented in online interactions via social media. In order to encourage a more informed dialogue and critical conversation with students, each chapter includes: discussion questions, self-­reflection and self-­assessment activities, and suggestions for further reading. Ideal for courses in diversity and social justice education and beyond, this content- and practice-­based text integrates the identification of issues of difference and diversity with suggestions for how we can address these issues in the social media age. Lillian Vega-­Castaneda is Professor of Multicultural/Multilingual Education at California State University Channel Islands, USA. Mario Castaneda is Associate Professor of Education and Associate Faculty for the Latin Amer­ican Studies Program at California State University Los Angeles, USA.

Teaching and Learning about Difference through Social Media Reflection, Engagement, and Self-­Assessment Lillian Vega-­Castaneda and Mario Castaneda

First published 2019 by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 and by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2019 Taylor & Francis The right of Lillian Vega-­Castaneda and Mario Castaneda to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging-­in-Publication Data A catalog record for this title has been requested ISBN: 978-0-8153-7628-6 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-8153-7629-3 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-23821-2 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by Wearset Ltd, Boldon, Tyne and Wear

Contents Preface


1 The Advent of Social Media and the People Who Use It


2 Social Media as the New “News” Source and the Distancing of Dialogue and Treatment of Difference


3 The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Contextualizing the Dialogue on Difference on Social Media


4 Racial Intolerance and Social Media


5 Religious Views and the Treatment of Others on Social Media


6 Women and Girls and Social Media


7 Hate, Violence, Terrorism, and Social Media


8 LGBTQ Community and Social Media



Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?



Preface PURPOSE This book considers the role of social media and how it has prompted a public conversation about difference and diversity, including cultural, social, political, religious, gender, and sexual orientation differences. Where once a letter to the editor could challenge an opinion piece, or debate clubs could argue specific social and political topics, the internet and social media have generated a constant exchange of ideas, opinions, and reactions among anyone who has access to a smartphone, tablet, desktop computer, or laptop. Millennials, in particular, have grown up with instant access to internet media including social media and, for better or worse, they consume it on a daily basis, often with little understanding of the social, cultural, or historical context of related news or topics that focus on difference. We look at the public conversation about difference and diversity within a mode of communication that occurs online, sometimes unfiltered, in non-­face-to-­face, distanced contexts. We address issues of difference in the context of current local, statewide, national, and some international events and the use of social media which serves as the “news” source of choice among many Amer­icans.

Rationale Throughout our academic and teaching careers, we have taught about under-­represented and oppressed groups in the areas of multicultural, cross-­cultural, bilingual, and multilingual education. The arrival of, and increasingly expanded use of, social media has prompted a public dialogue (oftentimes a quick reaction or opinion in the form of a comment) on difference and issues related to diversity and under-­represented groups. Social media use goes beyond the classroom walls and academic setting and is somewhat unchartered territory for an ongoing discussion focused on difference. Social media serves as a virtual meeting place to talk about, comment on, or offer an opinion on different news stories and topics of interest as they occur, almost instantly. The use of social media sites has prompted a public discussion of various political, social, and cultural topics and news stories. The discourse on difference and diversity has reached the public at large – of all political, cultural, and social persuasions – with little, if any, application of fact-­checking or critical thinking skills to promote coherent and informed understanding of what is read,



commented on, and re-­commented on. For example, an online reader can add and read comments attached by other readers to the original content, the link to the news item can be shared on Facebook (FB) while the person posting or sharing it often adds a comment about the story or article, and finally readers of the FB post can comment on the FB version of the re-­ posted content. The comments often support, question, or disagree with the original post, and often each comment receives a reply, and there is an opportunity to reply to others’ replies. Consider a recent story that appeared on Bipartisanreport.com (Pearson McKinney, 2016) that talked about the youngest daughter of President Barack Obama turning 15. A conservative, The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense, has an FB page open to the public. One post asked its readers to ask a question of Sasha Obama on her 15th birthday: Social media site The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense asked their followers, “What question do you have to Sasha Obama on her birthday?” The caption above the image below reads, “I know what I’d tell ANY Obama I came face to face with.” The comments in that thread are some of the most vile and disgusting things ever said about a 15-year-­old girl, let alone a child of an Amer­ican President. (para. 3) Indeed, the comments are unbelievably denigrating and suggest that her mother, First Lady Michelle Obama, is actually a man, that President Obama is homosexual, and that she, Sasha Obama, should return to her grass hut in Kenya and “spear chucking.” Following are some of the comments from The Resistance post which are quoted in bipartisanreport.com (6/11/16): Steve Dobbel This little bitch is getting her schooling paid for by us, the Citizens of the United States. and you think she is an innocent child? Bullshit, she is learning how to use the system just like her low life parents 8 Replies Evelyn Arnold Karnes Hurry up and take the rest of your communist family and get the hell out of WeThe Real Amer­icanS House !!!!! 10 Replies Roberta Gibson Keys The Resistance: your WALL awaits you. It is perfect for your type. 30 feet tall 30 feet deep. No one gets in unless the door is opened. It is called Leavenworth. 1 like www.facebook.com/ Deborah Dunn Cannon I hate Obama but I still don’t think you should be picking on this innocent child not her fault … 1 like 1 Reply



In this example, at least three of the posts are completely negative, if not threatening, and reflect a sense of racism and hate toward President Obama and his family. The posts range from accusing Sasha Obama of having her schooling “paid by us, the Citizens of the United States” to being called a communist, along with her family, referring to “real Amer­ icans” who belong in the White House. The last post calls out the others for “picking on this innocent child.” When the article was shared on Facebook, the responses and comments from readers were different, in that they were supportive of Sasha Obama and her family. These FB posts are also cited from the bipartisanreport. com article:

Terrie Deramo How pathetic to show such disrespect for a young lady on her birthday. She and her sister have both acted in a respectful way the entire time in the White House unlike those that shall be unnamed. Mary Karle-­Sivak You know what is scary – is that the hatemongers use him as an excuse to be racist & belligerent when most of them have always been this way … just afraid to perhaps show their true colors … now the GOP has given them a free pass to be a$$holes. Virgil Bennett This is typical of the entire racist spirit that the President has had to face during his entire tenure–redneck, KKK-­style rantings. www.facebook.com/ Sharon Paulson Happy Birthday, Pretty Girl. You have been so lucky to have a Mom and Dad like you have. They have raised you to be, like them, strong, smart, fun loving and gracious. Enjoy the next few months in the White House and then enjoy being out. Michael Yomtov What has happened to America that thepolitics of hate extend to a young girl on her birthday? If she is not just a girl, Sasha should be a symbol of how far we have come, not how far we are falling. Shame. Lidia Rodriguez Trump fans show their ignorance and are stupid by posting it. They know they’ll never accomplish even 1/4 of what Sasha has and will. Uneducated racist PIGS … Andy Natal what can you expect from Dump Trump’s fans. They are all KKK, Skin heads and White supremacist. The WORST thing that can happen to this country is Dump Trump becoming president. President Obama’s girls have been nothing but an example of what Amer­ican children should be.

Top of ForFacebook users criticized the negative posts on The Resistance: The Last Line of Defense. One comment notes that hatemongers have always been “racist and belligerent,” suggesting they use President Obama



as a “go ahead” to “show their true colors.” Others wished Sasha Obama happy birthday and held her as a good example of what “Amer­ican children should be.” Topics of race or the treatment of different ethnic groups are a good example of the emotion-­provoking topics that are represented in the news and also appear on social media, such as the influx of Central Amer­icans into the United States and their deportation, arrival of refugees from Syria, and public attitude toward undocumented workers from Mexico. Often there is little or no questioning or fact-­checking about the various claims that are made against these groups, such as the belief that undocumented Mexicans take all of the jobs that US citizens could perform or that they are all on welfare. Notably, undocumented immigrants cannot qualify to receive food stamps or welfare. According to Carden (2015), illegal immigrants appear to raise wages for documented workers. Yet, a large majority of Amer­icans believe that undocumented workers or “illegal aliens” receive welfare, food stamps, and take jobs that regular Amer­icans could fill. These opinions are discussed as factual, though in many cases they are unsubstantiated. The very use of the term “illegal alien” was called into question by journalist Maria Hinojosa in which she educated Trump supporter Steve Cortes on MSNBC’s “AM Joy.” Here is a summary of the exchange: in response to Cortes, who noted that it is “more unfair for legal immigrants to allow for illegals to hop in front of them and cheat the system,” Hinojosa responded, “Illegals is not a noun … what you can do is say an immigrant being without papers or documents in this country. But what you cannot do is label the person illegal” (Moreno, October 3, 2016). Multicultural and multilingual educators see a need to question and evaluate the treatment of under-­represented groups and actions toward them, as represented on social media. Our intention is to help individuals learn about difference using social media as a tool to understand the perspective from which various topics of news are represented, including attention to bias, fact, and explicit as well as implied messages.

Approach We use a socio-­cultural, multicultural, political, and historical approach to consider the various news stories, topics, commentaries, and opinions on difference and diversity that appear on social media sites. One objective of this book is to examine how issues of difference and diversity are represented on social media. How are specific news, social, or political topics presented? Whose perspective is represented? What kind of language is used to make an argument? How does the audience (the consumers of social media) talk about the issues? The social, cultural, political, and



historical context of events related to the treatment of people from under-­ represented groups relates to the experiences of multicultural educators. These perspectives are described further in the following list: •

Social and cultural perspective refers to the way that individuals are impacted by their respective social and cultural experiences and contact with culture. This approach offers an opportunity for the individual to look at circumstances through an awareness of their individual experiences and perspectives related to gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation and difference. Political perspective relates to the viewpoint of different political groups, including leftist, center, and right. We look at the political leanings offered on various websites and news feeds that make their way to social media sites. Historical context refers to the specific information and facts concerning an event or treatment of groups of people. For example, when we look at the treatment of an under-­represented group, such as Central Amer­ican refugees who are being deported from the United States, it is not simply a case of people being here illegally. When we look at the historical context of what has occurred in, for example, El Salvador, we understand that there are extenuating circumstances that have led them to enter the United States illegally, some of which were caused or exacerbated by past US policy and intervention. We consider the conditions that are in place at a given time to better understand the circumstances that surround their reasons for seeking refuge in the United States.

By incorporating socio-­cultural, multicultural, political, and historical approaches to teaching and learning about diversity and difference as represented on social media, we hope to encourage a more informed dialogue and critical conversation. Our approach to the analysis of stories related to difference and diversity on social media includes the following: • • • • •

Meaning depends on the way we use language, the situation, and the people we are communicating with. Communication is situated in the way an individual has learned in a given and specific cultural context. Meaning is closely linked to the way that we learned to communicate in a given community, local, school, online. How we communicate and convey our opinions and ideas is contextualized in our respective experiences on how we view difference, diversity and/or under-­represented groups. When we use language (spoken or written), we need to take into consideration the socio-­cultural context in which it is used.



The discussion of ideas, stories, opinions shared on social media reflect a given perspective (i.e., who is sharing the “news” or “story” with their “friends”) and views on difference, diversity, and the disenfranchised. Meaning is closely linked to the purpose of the communication.

Why We Wrote It As multicultural educators who teach about difference and diversity, and, by the incorporation of Facebook in Lillian’s teaching, we began to observe how people talk about difference and diversity via various social media platforms, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. Lillian incorporates a closed Facebook group in each of her courses. The closed FB group allows each student to post current news and related events to the content of the course, e.g., race, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion. Students post a story or news item and talk about why they shared it, how it relates to difference and/or diversity and what (if anything) we can learn from it. We consider the social, cultural, and historical context of each post. We look at how people who responded to the original post “discuss” it. Each member of the class is expected to post at least three stories per week and respond to as many as they can. Each week, several students present a “diversity critique,” which consists of a news story or topic of interest which is presented to the course. The student shares the original post in class and we discuss the story in terms of the social, cultural, and historical context. We talk about the perspective presented. Next, we look at the responses for relevance to the issues associated with difference, accuracy, and perspective. It is important to look at the responses to get an idea of how the posted story or comments are discussed. We see a need to look at how social media represents difference and issues associated with diversity. Social media sites such as Facebook offer numerous stories, news, and pop culture items related to difference, whether it is a news story related to bathroom access for transgender people, comic, event, or teen suicide related to cyberbullying. Social media has provoked an unparalleled discussion on issues of difference and diversity, and this includes a collection of perspectives from individuals of varying social, cultural, and political perspectives. We believe this book will help readers sort through the information they encounter on screens, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. As multicultural educators we have an opportunity to look at issues of difference and diversity that are historically, socially, and culturally contextualized with a focus on the current discourse as represented on social media.



The Need It Fills This text will help those who consume the news and other trending topics related to difference, presented on social media, to understand how to question and name the perspective offered from the actual story or post and the accompanying comments from other readers. This book helps the reader incorporate a socio-­cultural, multicultural analysis of news and information and the accompanying dialogue as it appears on social media. It presents an opportunity to look at a specific issue, event, or story as it relates to difference and the way various people respond to it. Importantly, the text will situate each story or topic in a historical context. The historical background to issues associated with difference is critical to a critique of such topics as they appear on social media, which operates in near real time. Many of the topics offered on social media are historically rooted, and this context is often not referenced in social media dialogue. In summary, this book offers an opportunity to look at how issues of difference are discussed and debated on social media. It provides an opportunity for individuals to look at how information gets filtered and re-­filtered as a way of understanding how issues about difference are presented on social media.

The Intended Audience Future and practicing educators are the main audience for the text. This text could also be used in undergraduate courses associated with difference and diversity.

Structure of the Content This book consists of eight chapters that explore topics of diversity and difference and their treatment and representation on social media. The following topics are included: Chapter 1 The Advent of Social Media and the People Who Use It Chapter 2 Social Media as the New “News” Source and the Distancing of Dialogue and Treatment of Difference Chapter 3 The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Contextualizing the Dialogue on Difference on Social Media



Chapter 4 Racial Intolerance and Social Media Chapter 5 Religious Views and the Treatment of Others on Social Media Chapter 6 Women and Girls and Social Media Chapter 7 Hate, Violence, Terrorism, and Social Media Chapter 8 LGBTQ Community and Social Media

Distinctive Features Several features distinguish the text and include the use of socio-­cultural, political, and historical context as a tool for teaching and learning about difference and diversity via social media. Pedagogical apparatus/features – e.g., questions, learning activities, applications – describe each feature and its intended use(s). Each chapter begins with: • • •

Chapter overview Vignette “Tapping into your personal lens.” A self-­reflection activity in which the reader closely reflects on her or his understanding of the topic. It is important for the reader to go through a series of self-­reflective questioning and writing activities to determine one’s understanding of the issues that she or he identifies as having to do with the given topic.

This is followed by the content of the chapter, including a discussion of the historical, social, political, and cultural context and current status of the given topic or issue. Each topic includes information on the subject of difference, diversity, and implications for schooling. Most chapters end with the following: • • • • •

Chapter questions for discussion Critical self-­reflection/check-­in Keeping up to date and further reading (includes sources for keeping up to date, since some information related to internet media and social media changes constantly) References for sources cited Suggested links and further reading when appropriate



REFERENCES Carden, A. (2015, August 28). Illegal immigrants don’t lower our wages or take our jobs. Retrieved from www.forbes.com/sites/artcarden/2015/08/28/how-­doillegal-­i mmigrants-affect-­A mer­i can-workers-­t he-answer-­m ight-surprise-­ you/#722ea48f6b10. McKinney, P. (2016, June 11). Trump fans honor Sasha Obama’s 15th birthday by telling her to go spear-­chucking in Kenya. Bipartisan Report. Retrieved from http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/06/11/trump-­fans-honor-­sasha-obamas-­15thbirthday-­by-telling-­her-to-­go-spear-­chucking-in-­kenya-images/. Moreno, C. (2016, October 3). Latina journalist breaks down why saying “illegals” is … Retrieved January 15, 2017, from www.bing.com/cr?IG=ACB5CEEE 0951495DBA47DFCFA284A7A5&CID=1DF338C4525069EA2FD632CF5361 684A&rd=1&h=7I8V0IUJIzHyTq-Bj84nn0KRMzVbRCMmvAqjh70rJV8&v=1 &r=http%3a%2f%2fwww.huffingtonpost.com%2fentry%2flatina-journalist-­ breaks-down-­why-saying-­illegals-is-­wrong-on-­so-many-­levels_us_5817347de4b0 990edc32026e&p=DevEx,5106.1.

The Advent of Social Media and the People Who Use It


Introduction In Chapter 1, we review the arrival of the internet and its early use with the general public. We talk about the increased opportunities for communication with people known to us as well as complete strangers. We look at the arrival of social media and the increasing numbers of users who use it, daily. 

Tapping Into Your Personal Lens We begin each chapter with a series of questions that will help guide your reading. We ask that you assess your understanding of the topics to be covered in the chapter, thus asking you to “tap” into your understanding via your personal lens. Consider the following: Do you recall when you first started using a computer? The internet? How old were you? Did you access it at school or at home?

Emergence of Internet Use by the General Public The internet was available to many households in the United States in the early to mid-­1990s. Prior to that (beginning in the early 1960s), various studies were conducted on technologies that would eventually develop into the internet as we know it today (Leiner et al., 2016). In his May 26, 1995 memo (Gan, 1995), Bill Gates talked about the coming internet tidal wave. He delineates a plan for Microsoft to dominate the emerging market. People like Gates realized the future and global impact of the internet. The World-­Wide Web became available for widespread, public use in the early 1990s, with the official launch on August 6,



1991. According to Bryant (2011), “There was no fanfare in the global press. In fact, most people around the world didn’t even know what the internet was” (para. 6). The internet was available for public use as early as 1982, but it was not widely used. The early use allowed for communication over a shared network. Increasingly, households had access to the internet in the mid-­ 1980s, prior to the availability of web browsers. First users connected to the internet via dial-­up (telephone) and awaited a signal. Early users connected via AOL (1985) or Lycos (1994) and primarily used it to check email and to enter chatrooms. The internet took off with the introduction of web browsers like Netscape (1994) and certainly with the arrival of search engines like Yahoo (1995). The first web browser was developed and was called the World-­Wide Web (Bryant, 2011). With the arrival of Google (the domain was registered on September 15, 1997), the impact on the web was undeniable, and Google quickly became the major search engine of choice, stating officially that its first and foremost area of expertise is the search engine business. The company remains a dominant force in the search industry, with 75% market share in the United States, as of December 2015. Google reports 11.095 billion US desktop searches as of January 22, 2016. As of October 12, 2015, there have been more than 100 billion Google searches (Smith, 2016). The popularity of Google as the search engine of choice catapulted many internet users into easy access to information that previously would have taken days, weeks, or even months, to find (Holt, 2013).

A Definition of Media Communication media (commonly referred to as media for short) refers to the various communication tools or platforms used to store and deliver information such as news, entertainment, education, data, promotional messages, and commercials. The various tools referred to as media may include newspapers, magazines, television, music, radio, websites, social networking platforms, movies, etc. We have access to a variety of media on a daily basis, usually, beginning at a young age. Toddlers and preschoolers watch cartoons or networks that focus on their age group, including Nick Jr., Sprout, or the Disney Junior channels. This generation of young television viewers has grown up with a variety of programs offered by different cable networks. The growth of Nick Junior (founded in 1999 as Noggin, later changing to Nick Jr.) in the early 2000s and the arrival of kid-­based programming like Sprout (founded in 2005) have become regular household names where young children live. Such networks are often one of the child’s first experiences with media.



A Definition of Social Media and Social Networking Social media refers to the way that media is electronically distributed (e.g., websites for social networking or blogging). Users congregate into online communities to create, share, and re-­share information, data, messages, and other content such as video in a somewhat public and personal context, depending on the type of communication (Schauer, 2015). Social networking refers to the (often online) creation and use of personal and/or business relationships. Potter’s (2016) definition is somewhat more general and refers to social networking as “a behavior exhibited by humans as they make contact with other humans by forming groups, both formal and informal” (p. 502). For the 21st century, the use of social media sites for networking has become an acceptable form of communication in a formal context (such as LinkedIn) or personal context (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Musically).

Context The use of various social networking sites by individuals to provide information about themselves can include a focus on pictures and photo sharing (e.g., Instagram or Facebook), video sharing (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo), or snippets of news and cultural stories which are shared and re-­shared on Twitter (140-character limit) and other platforms such as Facebook. Social networking allows the individual to create an identity and provide information to known and unknown “friends” and the public about their ideas, interests, opinions, etc. The wide use of social media and networking has grown in the 2000s, most notably with the creation of Facebook (2004) by Mark Zuckerberg for use on college campuses. Facebook became available to the general public in 2006 and signaled the beginning of a new way of communicating online in various social forums (e.g., special interest groups, individual accounts, fan clubs). It became one of the most widely used social networking sites, which serve as a place for news organizations, individuals, businesses, networks, political sites, educational sites, and individuals of various demographic backgrounds to share ideas on hundreds of topics.

Internet Use Explained We live in a media-­saturated culture (Strasburger, Wilson, & Jordan, 2009) that has evolved from simple email exchanges to the use of countless



personal websites, blogs, texting, messaging, and the emergence of social media, video sharing websites, and other electronic tools (Potter, 2016). As of 2015, social media use among Amer­ican adults had increased from 7% to 65% within the prior decade (Perrin, 2015). Since September 2014, 71% of adults use Facebook are at 71%. Their use of Twitter is at 23%; Instagram, 26%; Pinterest, 28%; and LinkedIn, 28%. For younger adults, ages 18 to 29, their use of social networking sites is at 89%. The next highest users of social networking fall within the ages of 30 to 49, at 82%. Of baby boomers (ages 50–64), 65% use social media (PEW Research Center, 2013). The Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update of 2014 (Duggan, Ellison, Lampe, Lenhart, & Madden, 2015) reports on a September 2014 survey. Notably, Facebook remained the most widely used social media site. While Facebook’s growth has slowed, it is still the most used social media site. Adult use of a variety of social media platforms has increased overall to 52%. Further, adults now use two or more social media sites. Of particular interest is the increase in social media use of senior citizens (ages 65 and older), at 56%. This represents 31% of all seniors who now use Facebook. Social media and technology use among teens offers some interesting insights. Facebook is still the social media site of choice among Amer­ican teens, ages 13 to 17, at 71%. Teens use other social network sites, including Instagram (50%) and Snapchat (41%). Teens also use Tumblr (14%), Vine (24%), and Google+ (33%) (Lenhart, 2015). The report also shows that middle- and upper-­income teens, whose families earn more than $75,000, most often tend to gravitate toward Snapchat and Instagram. There are distinguishable patterns in social media use among girls and boys. For example, girls appear to favor visually oriented social media platforms, with 61% favoring Instagram, as compared to boys, at 44%. Girls also use Snapchat more than boys: 51% versus 31%. The early to mid-­2000s also saw the first widespread social media use among Generation Y (people born between 1980 and the year 2000; sometimes referred to as Gen Y, or the Millennials) with the introduction of Myspace in 2003, which preceded Facebook by several years. Between 2005 and 2008, Myspace was the largest social networking website that offered interactive personal profiles, blogs, photos, groups, and music. Facebook arrived to mass consumer use as early as 2006. In 2008, Facebook overtook Myspace in the number of worldwide visitors. By May 2009, Facebook overtook Myspace in the number of US visitors. According to Waterworth (2013), Generation Y was “shaped by the technological revolution that occurred throughout their youth,” and “is online and connected 24/7, 365 days a year” (para. 5). According to the PEW Research Center, 87% of Amer­ican adults use the internet, as of January 2014 (Heimlich, 2014), and this number has



most likely kept growing dramatically. Amer­icans are digitally connected through their smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, game consuls, and smart TVs. As of January 2014, 90% of Amer­icans had a cell phone. As of October 2014, 64% of Amer­icans have a smartphone. As of September 2012, 95% of teens aged 12 to 17 use the internet. According to Lenhart (2015), “24% of teens go online ‘almost constantly,’ facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones” (p. 2). According to the Pew Research Center (2013), teens increased their use of smartphones “substantially,” which provided instant and constant access to the internet. Among teens (ages 12 to 17), 78% have a cell phone; of these, 47% own a smartphone. Twenty-­three percent have a tablet or computer. Moreover, 93% have access to a computer at home or own one. Indeed, we are members of a digitally connected culture, mobile and wired. This easy and quick access to the internet and various social media sites has impacted the way we access news. In Chapter 2, the reader will learn about the emergence of social media as the new “news” source. It includes a discussion on the use of social media and an initial discussion on how media represents “difference” in the new millennium and the treatment of the “other” as part of a national dialogue.

Critical Self-­Reflection/Check-­In Reflect on the following questions individually. If this is an in-­class meeting, please discuss with another classmate. 1. How has the internet reshaped how we gather information? 2. How has media and social media impacted how we share information, ideas, and opinions?

Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading Because information on social media and media and news stories is constantly changing and updating, you may want to check the following web-­ based sources for current information. 1. PEW Research Center – www.pewresearch.org/ 2. Facebook Newsroom – http://newsroom.fb.com/company-­info/ 3. Facebook Statistics – www.facebook.com/pages/Facebook-­statistics/11 9768528069029?fref=ts 4. Google Demographics – https://support.google.com/analytics/ answer/2799357?hl=en



References Bryant, M. (2011). 20 years ago today, the World Wide Web opened to the public. TNW Insider. Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/08/06/20years-­ago-today-­the-world-­wide-web-­opened-to-­the-public/#gref. Duggan, M., Ellison, N. B., Lampe, C., Lenhart, A., & Madden, M. (2015). Social media update 2014. Retrieved from www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/social-­ media-update-­2014/. Gan, D. (1995). May 26, 1995: Gates, Microsoft jump on “internet tidal wave.” Retrieved from www.wired.com/2010/05/0526bill-gates-­internet-memo/. Heimlich, R. (2014). Internet user demographics. Retrieved from www.pewinternet. org/data-­trend/internet-­use/latest-­stats/. Holt, C. (2013). 15 ways Google changed the world. Daily Dot. Retrieved from www.dailydot.com/debug/google-­15-anniversary-­search-maps/. Leiner, B. M., Serf, V. G., Clark, D. D., Kahn, R. E., Kleinrock, L., Lynch, D. C., … Wolff, S. (2016). Internet society. Retrieved from www.internetsociety.org/ internet/what-­internet/history-­internet/brief-­history-internet. Lenhart, A. (2015). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. Retrieved from www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-­social-media-­technology-2015. Perrin, A. (2015). Social media usage: 2005–2015. Retrieved from www.pewinternet. org/2015/10/08/social-­networking-usage-­2005-2015/. Pew Research Center. (2013). Social networking fact sheet. Retrieved from www. pewinternet.org/fact-­sheets/social-­networking-fact-­sheet/. Pew Research Center. (2015). Internet user demographics. Retrieved from www. pewinternet.org/data-­trend/internet-­use/latest-­stats/. Potter, W. J. (2016). Media literacy (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publica­tions. Schauer, P. (2015). 5 biggest differences between social media and social networking. Retrieved from www.socialmediatoday.com/social-­business/peteschauer/ 2015-06-28/5-biggest-­differences-between-­social-media-­and-social. Smith, C. (2016, July 29). 100 shocking Google statistics and facts. Retrieved from http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-­t he-numbers-­a -gigantic-­l ist-of-­ google-stats-­and-facts/. Strasburger, V. C., Wilson, B. J., & Jordan, A. B. (2009). Children, adolescents, and the media (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Waterworth, N. (2013, April 9). Generation X, Generation Y, Generation Z, and the Baby Boomers. Retrieved from www.talentedheads.com/2013/04/09/ generation-­confused/.

Social Media as the New “News” Source and the Distancing of Dialogue and Treatment of Difference


In Chapter 2 we look at the use of social media and the role it plays in serving as the source for news. Social media is a widely used news source. According to a PEW report (2017), 67% of Amer­icans use social media for some news. We also consider how social media has served as a way to increase the distancing of communication, from people we know to complete strangers. Finally, we look at the emerging dialogue, via social media, on difference. 

Tapping Into Your Personal Lens 1. What type of media do you regularly engage with? 2. If you don’t use social media, please reflect on why you don’t. Explain how you access news, information, etc. 3. Do you belong to any social media groups? If so, which ones and why? If not, why? Do you belong to any (non-­media) social groups that meet in face-­to-face, real-­time situations? Which ones? 4. At what age did you start engaging with online media?

Social Media as the new “News” Source The popularity and daily use of social media has seen an increase in the instant access of breaking news stories, viral videos, and popular culture events being shared along with commentary, opinion, agreement, disagreement, and argument among the general public. The constant use of social and other media has provided a public forum for dialogue among users of all ages 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The news of the US commando raid that killed Bin Laden first “broke” on Twitter in real time. Before the network news had confirmed or reported on the story, it


Social Media as the New “News” Source

was already on Twitter and Facebook, shared by millions of users. In the “State of the News Media 2012,” by the Huffington Post, the authors pointed out that sharing (as opposed for searching for) news via social media might be the biggest story for the next 10 years (Mitchell, Rosenstiel, & Christian, 2012). Facebook is the most used social network site, used by 64% of US adults. Of this number, half get their news from the site, and it is considered the “obvious news powerhouse among the social media sites” (Anderson & Caumont, 2014). YouTube follows as the next “most used” social media site. While more than half US adults use the site, about one-­ fifth use it to access the news. This is followed by Twitter, which is used by 16% of Amer­icans, and of this number 8% use this as their news source. Reddit follows, used by 3% of the US population, andwith 62% of that number using it to access the news (Anderson & Caumont, 2014). Some social media users also participate in the news. In addition to sharing news stories, including video and pictures, at least 46% of users discuss news stories. Some social media users also act as citizen reporters, and “cover” the news as it occurs. In 2014, 14% of social media users posted their own photos and 12% posted their own videos. Of note, this practice of citizen reporters has emerged as a “breaking news” in real-­time events, such as the riots in Ferguson, MO, and other police shootings that have followed (Anderson & Caumont, 2012).

Social Media and The Emerging Dialogue on Difference As teachers of multicultural, cross-­cultural education we see the connections inherent in the daily use of social media and the various topics that are at the forefront of the dialogue on difference, diversity, and/or under-­ represented groups. These topics are reflected in the social media coverage of 24/7 news as an outlet for citizen journalists. One does not need to take a course on multicultural education to voice an opinion about an issue such as religious difference, language difference, sexual orientation, national origin, political beliefs, etc. The challenge is that much of the opinion that accompanies the “news” is often unfounded and fact-­free. As we have seen in the first two years of the Trump presidency, members of his cabinet are offering an “alternative” set of facts to counter actual verifiable facts. In 2013, a commercial debuted during the 2013 Super Bowl, which portrayed a multiracial family (Black father, White mother, young multiracial daughter). In the commercial the little girl asks her mother about how Cheerios are healthy. The mother tells the daughter that Cheerios are good for cholesterol. The little girl goes to her father, who is sleeping on the

Social Media as the New “News” Source


couch, and pours Cheerios on his chest. The commercial created a controversy over what a family should look like. The depiction of the multiracial family provoked racist commentary on social media, and General Mills was forced to disable their comments section on the official YouTube video (Demby, 2014). There are other examples of negative commentary toward people of color, and other areas of difference that occur on the internet, perhaps more often than if there were to be a face-­to-face conversation with someone with an opposing view. For example, in a recent news story regarding a Mexican father who was “pulled from the arms of his children” and deported by the INS, a good number of individuals made disparaging remarks about the father, such as “send that Mexican back where he came from,” “wetbacks don’t want to speak English,” and other negative or racist comments. The comments below the story supported one another, and there was no “opposing” viewpoint. This particular story was posted on a “fan” page for a local LA-­based radio station, and these types of postings are common. Consider the 2016 early primary presidential race among the Republican candidates. Donald Trump used his platform as the frontrunner to denigrate Mexicans: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best,” he said during the announcement.  They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs; they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting. (Yee He Lee, 2015) Weeks later, two men in Boston, MA, were arrested on suspicion of beating a homeless Mexican man with a pipe and urinating on him and invoked Donald Trump: “Donald Trump was right; all these illegals need to be deported,” the two men said, according to police, as they beat the man with a metal pipe and then urinated on him (Ferrigno, 2015). Such comments on the internet are not aimed at only racially or ethnically different people. Take for example, the recent “coming out” of Caitlyn Jenner, the former Bruce Jenner, Olympic decathlon athlete who came out as transgender and has shared her journey on the reality show I am Cait. Support for her journey has been positive and negative. Much of the negativity comes from the Christian Right and even members of the LGBTQ community. Some religious groups believe that members of the LGBTQ community consciously “choose” their sexuality and/or it is against their religious teachings. Some criticism from the LGBTQ community states that Jenner’s focus on “looking like a woman” and “being beautiful” takes away from the real issues associated with the transgender community.


Social Media as the New “News” Source

Footnote on the Use of the Term “Difference” Over the past few decades, US society has used the term “diversity” to identify groups of people who are different from the Amer­ican mainstream – mainly around race, beginning in the 1960s. Multicultural education looks at diversity in terms of ethnic, racial, religious difference. Moreover, multiculturalists include people with special needs and the LGBTQ community in the discourse on difference., These voices have become more prevalent and represented in social media. Early and some current multicultural curriculum has focused on “celebrating” and/or “affirming” diversity. It is our view that the perspective of “celebrating” or “affirming” diversity is an annoyance, in that a large segment of mainstream society neither cares nor wishes to address, affirm, or celebrate diversity. This is why we choose to focus on engaging the reader in a critical analysis of difference rather than diversity. We also look at difference with respect to where people live, urban vs. rural, including socio-­economic status amongst working-­class Whites. More workplaces are seeing the need to address diversity, being open to adjustments in relating and developing sensitivity to non-­dominant groups (The Sum, n.d). Difference goes beyond diversity in that it does not make explicit or implied demands of society such as “please recognize and be nice to me” or “accept me.” It does not presume that dominant mainstream society will want to accommodate other groups. Difference, in fact, goes beyond an almost pejorative use of the term “diversity,” or “celebration” thereof. Difference is what society is becoming: a nation where no one ethnic group will be the majority. Further, the term “minority” will soon be no longer applicable, since non-­ White groups will soon outnumber White Amer­icans (US News & World Report, 2015). The term “diversity” no longer addresses either status or the nature of the relations between the mainstream and different groups at large. It is the writers’ perspective that for the purpose of this text we will focus on difference rather than diversity. We need to move toward a discussion that focuses on difference, especially since much of social media focuses on the exchange of stories, ideas, opinion, etc. that considers difference in terms of race, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual orientation, etc. We have only to look at the last couple of years and the 2016 presidential election that has evoked a national exchange of ideas, opinions, “news,” and “fake news” associated with people who are different from the mainstream. With the arrival of the internet and social media, conversations regarding “difference” are now taking place in a new forum of social interaction in a digital world, and this has increased the opportunity for various individuals and interest groups to voice their opinions about a variety of social, cultural, and political topics. The intersection of difference and the

Social Media as the New “News” Source


digital world is profoundly distinct from other forms of communication and interaction, including face-­to-face and mass media (e.g., television, movies, and radio).

The Distancing of “Talk” on Social Media The internet, social media, and other modes of online communication – what do these hold for us as consumers of “news” and stories that reflect people and culture with respect to difference? It has affected the way we talk to one another, “friends” we know and “friends” we do not know, as well as other users of social media who we may engage within a public social media post. The digital world is often distant, impersonal, and somewhat anonymous. It is a world where traditional social niceties are often non-­ existent. With a cloak of anonymity or physical distance in an online environment, people feel less restrictive in interacting with one another in language and attitudes that violate traditional mores of ethics and civility. Most individuals would think twice about confronting, criticizing, or attacking someone in a face-­to-face interaction, but many will attack and demean a person online in a rude, if not ruthless, fashion before “signing off,” as if they have had the last word. Often, others will respond directly to the original individual in support of a given post, in support or against the statement. The negative statements often do not argue a point, but in fact attack the person who has posted an opinion (e.g., “are you a moron?” or “go back to where you came from” or “you guys are just libtard sore losers”). Referred to as a “distancing problem” (Batcho, 2014), the use of social media has created a forum for impersonal interaction between people. The detached nature of such communication has led to an onslaught of cyberbullying, a behavior that multiplies in comparison to face-­to-face bullying. For better or for worse, social media has seen the creation of virtual communities, where people can communicate with family, friends, co-­workers, or like minded strangers; who join groups and are brought together by a common interest, opinion, belief – in a subject that unifies them, e.g., fan page, community page, opinion based/group page, or political group page (Solari, 2014) such as “Pant-­suit Nation” or “Dump Trump” or “The Resistance.” Social media has also prompted a discourse on important events, political, social, and cultural issues have been brought to the digital surface of the mainstream, and it appears that all opinions and replies and re-­posts are expressed, unless in a mediated forum. Recent and current dialogue on issues associated with difference include: the 2016 presidential primary race; the 2016 presidential election; the murder of Black church members during a prayer meeting in South Carolina in June 2015; the killing of 49


Social Media as the New “News” Source

individuals at a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL, in June 2016; the Paris terrorist attack and the San Bernardino terrorist attack; the Black Lives Matter movement, based on the recent killings of Black men by local police; the responding “All Lives Matter” movement; bullying and teen suicide; undocumented Latino workers and their families; and LGBTQ youth – to name a few. Past issues also made it “big” on the internet, including “Occupy Wall Street” and the “ice bucket challenge” of 2014. How society is addressing the intersection of social media and difference or disenfranchised groups has entered a new age. Social media has widened the audience who engage on a public forum to share and react to news, share stories, and voice their opinion. The digital world is now a primary form for interaction between people; therefore, as they interact online and in social media, there is less interpersonal contact. Thus there is more gravitation to special interest sites and the formation of digital communities that enhance the notion of “us” insiders of the digital community and “them,” the outsiders from the preferred group. It’s another way for the “insiders” to distinguish themselves from the “outsiders.” In Chapter 3 we turn to a discussion on the contextualization of the dialogue on difference as grounded in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We look at the representation and discussion of civil rights in the digital age.

Critical Self-­Reflection/Check-­In 1. In what way has social media addressed issues of difference? 2. How does Trump characterize undocumented Mexican immigrants? Does his statement sound objective or subjective? Please explain. 3. How is social media used as a news source? Please give an example of a recent news story that has been heavily covered and discussed in social media.

Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading 1. Pew Research Center (2017, January 12). Internet, science & tech. (Retrieved January 25, 2017, from www.pewinternet.org/.

References Anderson, M., & Caumont, A. (2014). How social media is reshaping news. Retrieved from www.pewresearch.org/fact-­tank/2014/09/24/how-­social-media-­ is-reshaping-­news/.

Social Media as the New “News” Source


Barthel, M., Shearer, E., Gottfried, J., & Mitchell, A. (2015, July 14). The evolving role of news on Twitter and Facebook. Retrieved from www.journalism. org/2015/07/14/the-­evolving-role-­of-news-­on-twitter-­and-facebook/. Batcho, K. (2014, April 16). Psychologist: social media causing a “distancing phenomena” to take place. Retrieved from http://washington.cbslocal. com/2014/04/16/psychologist-­social-media-­causing-a-­distancing-phenomena-­totake-­place/. Boorstin, J. (2015). Twitter launches “Project Lightning” initiative. Retrieved from www.cnbc.com/2015/10/06/twitters-­p roject-lightning-­launches-as-­moments. html. Demby, G. (2014, January 30). That cute Cheerios ad with the interracial family is back. NPR. Retrieved from www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/01/30/ 268930004/that-­cute-cheerios-­ad-with-­the-interracial-­family-is-­back. Ferrigno, L. (2015, August 21). Cops: Invoking Trump, 2 men beat up homeless man. CNNPolitics. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2015/08/20/politics/donald-­ trump-immigration-­boston-beating/. Mitchell, A., Rosenstiel, T., & Christian, L. (2012). What Facebook and Twitter mean for news. Retrieved from www.stateofthemedia.org/2012/mobile-­devicesand-­news-consumption-­some-good-­signs-for-­journalism/what-­facebook-and-­ twitter-mean-­for-news/. Perrin, A. (2015). Social media usage: 2005–2015. Retrieved from www.pewinternet. org/2015/10/08/social-­networking-usage-­2005-2015/. Pew Research Center. (2013). Social networking fact sheet. Retrieved from www. pewinternet.org/fact-­sheets/social-­networking-fact-­sheet. Pew Research Center. (2015). Teens, social media & technology overview 2015. www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-­social-media-­technology-2015/. Potter, W. J. (2013). Media literacy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Shearer, E., & Jeffrey Gottfried, J. (2017, September 7). News use across social media platforms 2017. Pew Research Center. www.slideshare.net/pazavi/news-­ use-across-­social-media-­platforms-2017. Solari. (2014). Social media and its effect on communication [Position paper]. Retrieved from www.solari.net/documents/position-­papers/Solari-­Social-Media-­ and-Communication.pdf. Strasburger, V. C., & Wilson, B. J., & Jordan, A. B. (2009). Children, adolescents, and the media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. The Sum (n.d). Dismantling racism. Retrieved from www.thesum.org/dismantling-­ racism/4590584991. US News Report. (2016). It’s official: The U.S. is becoming a minority majority nation. Retrieved from www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/07/06/its-­officialthe-­us-is-­becoming-a-­minority-majority-­nation. Yee Hee Lee, M. (2015, July 8). Donald Trump’s false comments connecting Mexican immigrants. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-­ checker/wp/2015/07/08/donald-­trumps-false-­comments-connecting-­mexicanimmigrants-­and-crime/.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964


Contextualizing the Dialogue on Difference on Social Media

In Chapter 3 we revisit the 1964 Civil Rights Act and discuss some of the key court cases and related laws. We also look at the connection to multicultural education, which covers various topics that emerged from the Civil Rights Movement. Next, we consider the role of civil rights in the digital age.

Tapping into Your Personal Lens 1. What comes to your mind when you hear the term “diversity”? 2. Who do you think the Civil Rights Act was designed to protect? 3. Can you think of a recent story or event on the news that has become shared and re-­shared via social media? Why do you think it made its way to social media?

Introduction In this chapter, we look at the term “diversity” within the context of multiculturalism and the idea of acceptance. In the case of multicultural education, the intent is to address differences and unique characteristics of the communities we work and teach in. Diversity suggests the recognition, understanding, and acceptance of individual differences based on race, ethnicity, religion, language, physical abilities, and age. This definition of diversity is critical to our work as multiculturalists. However, we see a need to go beyond the idea of acceptance and celebration and understanding thereof. We argue that it is not enough to look only at diversity and multiculturalism. Instead, we look to the idea of “difference” and the understanding that the Amer­ican public at large does not necessarily support the notion of diversity, although they have been mandated to obey the law regarding differences of race, ethnicity, religion, language, physical ability, and age through the Civil Rights Act.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964


First, we consider the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its contribution and connection to multicultural education well into the 1990s and early 2000s. Second, we summarize several key components of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that impacted Amer­ican society in the areas of public meeting places, education, and employment. We consider several early court cases that addressed the civil rights of under-­represented groups. Third, we explore the current dialogue on difference that appears to question the protections mandated by the Civil Rights Act. Fourth, we discuss the themes (as manifested in the digital age and social media) surrounding difference and diversity that grew out of the Civil Rights Movement, including a preliminary discussion on the treatment of issues surrounding “difference” via the internet and social media. Finally, we summarize the key points of this chapter and guide you to a self-­assessment of your learning.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act and Multicultural Education Sleeter and McLaren (2000) have written about the origins of multiculturalism and note: “Multicultural education can be traced historically to the Civil Rights Movement. African-­Amer­ican scholars and educators, working in conjunction with the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, provided much of the leadership of multicultural education.” The connection between the Civil Rights Movement and multicultural education is critical to our understanding of the legal mandate to equal protection under the law. With respect to education, multiculturalism focuses on disenfranchised groups and the impact on children in schools. The protection of the rights of children has historical roots in the delivery of curriculum and instruction, e.g., language, equal access, desegregation of public schools, ability, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion. For example, a common theme in multicultural education calls for equal access to education for all students, including English learners, children of color, and children with special needs. Issues of language learning versus acquisition, level of English language proficiency, and best method of instruction are at the core of discussion. A related theme we support as multiculturalists is the theme of teaching in a way that is culturally responsive (Gay, 2000). Culturally responsive pedagogy focuses on the student’s socio-­cultural history, cultural knowledge, and prior experiences, and makes a connection to her/his academic experience. This is another way of increasing equal access to the content core curricula for under-­represented students. Multicultural education has been a staple of undergraduate and graduate coursework at universities across the countries since the late 1960s. Most states require some type of multicultural education course as part of their teacher educator programs. Other universities across the US have a diversity requirement that must be met through coursework. Issues associated with the Civil Rights Act are also featured in some K–12


The Civil Rights Act of 1964

content. For example, some of the protections associated with the Civil Rights Act are addressed in California’s History-­Social Studies Framework, which addresses Martin Luther King, Jim Crow, treatment of Native Amer­icans, Japanese internment, women’s rights, etc. (California Department of Education, 2016). Educators largely meet the diversity requirement through multicultural education coursework. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 serves as the backdrop for the various courses that address issues of equity across race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, gender, age, and ability. You only have to look at the curriculum and topics covered in some of the major multicultural education books that address these issues.

Key Components of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Early Court Cases The United States has well-­established legal precedent that mandates the treatment of individuals regardless of race, national origin, sex, and religion in the public arena. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 legislates for the equal treatment of individuals in the public realm, including housing, student racial representation at schools, university and school admissions, and other public places. This section summarizes several of the key components of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that impacted Amer­ican society in the areas of public meeting places, education, and employment. Several early court cases that addressed the civil rights of under-­represented groups are summarized. The Civil Rights Act serves as the legal foundation for much of the current and related public discourse on difference, equity, and equality. The Act “mandated equality” and made it against the law for an institution to deny an individual their civil rights, regardless of race, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended segregation in public places, including schools, restaurants, buses, communities (housing), bathrooms, swimming pools, universities, and other public meeting places. It mandated the end of discrimination in employment and promoted affirmative action. It signaled the end of de facto segregation of Amer­icans based on race, racial segregation that occurred as a matter of practice and not required by law. The Jim Crow Laws (1877–1954) sanctioned segregation between Blacks and Whites in public places, including parks, cemeteries, theatres, and restaurants. Jim Crow included separate drinking fountains for Blacks and Whites, separate restaurants, public bathrooms, and public transportation. In some areas of the South, there were signs in front of restaurants that read, “Colored served in rear,” or “No dogs, Negroes or Mexicans.” The Northern and Western United States

The Civil Rights Act of 1964


practiced de facto segregation by custom. There are many instances of these practices that were determined to be against the civil rights of Black Amer­icans and other ethnic and racial groups.

Key Court Cases and Related Laws The Civil Rights Act mandated an end to voting requirements for “Negroes,” which included literacy tests, as a way to turn away African Amer­ican voters. While the Civil Rights Act mandated implementation of equal voting rights, it wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that actual implementation was enforced. Black Amer­icans and others could no longer be denied their right to vote. In 2013, the Supreme Court “rendered ineffective the requirement that certain jurisdictions with a history of voting discrimination get pre-­approval for voting changes” (ACLU, n.d.). This ruling led to the re-­surfacing of an issue concerning voting rights for present-­day voters of color. Perhaps one of the most studied aspects of the Civil Rights Act is found in Title IV. This provision called for an end to segregated public schools, ruling that “separate is not equal,” and it led to the mass dismantling of segregated schools throughout the US. While segregated schools were prevalent in the South, such schools existed throughout the US, including the North and Southwest. The Lemon Grove School District in San Diego County, CA, operated a separate Mexican school as early as the 1930s, and it is the earliest documented court case on segregation in the US (see Alvarez, 1986). The Civil Rights Act extended to several other cases that impacted educational practice, and the results are still felt today. The Lemon Grove ruling preceded the Brown v. Topeka Board decision of 1954 and Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County (1947), a federal court case that challenged racial segregation in Orange County, CA. The 1974 Lau decision refers to a class-­action lawsuit that was brought by 1,800 Chinese-­speaking students. Prior to the Lau decision, students were given instruction in English only, and not given any specialized instruction or support. As a result, the San Francisco School District was found to be in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which ensures an equal educational opportunity for all students regardless of national origin, including native language. The Lau Decision had far-­reaching implications for schooling in California. It served as the basis of legalized bilingual education in the state of California until the statewide initiative Proposition 227 (which essentially ended bilingual education in the state) was passed in 1998. In November 2016, California voted to reinstate bilingual education with passage of Proposition 58, which overturned Proposition 227. The Lau decision led to the implementation of bilingual programs in other states as well. The ramifications of the Lau decision are still felt


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today (in 2018), and the rights of English learner students to receive a bilingual education continues to be a common public discourse topic amongst non-­educators and educators alike. Schooling of language minority students is often a contentious topic of discussion on social media amongst the public at large.

Affirmative Action The Civil Rights Act also found it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin. The national dialogue (in the 1960s and well into the late 1990s) focused on the implementation of “quotas” and affirmative action practices by employers. While the Act dealt with race, gender, religion, and national origin, the public dialogue focused on race and national origin. Discrimination by race and national origin also made its way into the admission processes of universities across the nation. Although the practices of discrimination and admissions policies continue to provoke some dialogue, it has been somewhat silenced, and stories about affirmative action are not as prevalent today. One of the biggest legal “fights” against the use of quotas or affirmative action for college admissions was demonstrated in the 1978 Bakke Decision. In this case, Allan Bakke had been twice denied admission to the University of California, Davis, for admission to the medical school. His case argued that he was denied admission because of the use of quotas used in the admissions process. The Supreme Court ruled that he should be admitted to the University. Many interpreted this as a solid argument to counter the use of affirmative action plans and quotas in the admissions process. In 2008, Abigail N. Fisher filed suit against the University of Texas, claiming that the University of Texas’s “use of race as a consideration in admission decisions were in violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” (Fisher v. University of Texas, n.d.). The University argued that its use of race was a way to pursue greater diversity. The district court ruled in favor of the University, and the US Court of Appeals (Fifth Circuit) affirmed the district court’s decision. Fisher appealed the appellate court’s decision. The Supreme Court found that the lower court’s decision did not “hold the University’s admission policies to a standard of strict scrutiny, so the judgment was incorrect.” While the Supreme Court found that the lower court did not hold the University to a “standard of strict scrutiny” in admissions policies, the case did not ask the Court to “overrule precedent that allowed Universities to consider diversity a compelling interest that justified race-­ based admission policies” (Fisher v. University of Texas, n.d.). It should be noted that in June 2016, the Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action program at the University of Texas, Austin (Liptak, 2016).

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In another recent case, the Supreme Court upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that banned affirmative action in the admissions process to the public universities in the state. There was strong dissent from Justices Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Liptak, 2014).

Civil Rights in the Digital Age The division between the rights of people of color, including Blacks, Chicana/o/s and other Latina/o/s, Amer­ican Indians, and related groups, remain at the forefront of the public discourse and debate on difference and are the topic of news, stories, and discussion in the context of social media. A primary example of civil rights based on race includes the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which has been widely covered and discussed on social media. The summer of 2015 saw the active demonstration of the Black Lives Matter movement, which was formed after the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 and acquittal of accused killer George Zimmerman. The case was widely covered by network and cable news. According to blacklivesmatter.com, “Black Lives Matter is a chapter-­based national organization working for the validity of Black life. We are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement.”

Black Lives Matter The Black Lives Matter movement demonstrated against the killing of Michael Brown by a White police officer in Ferguson, MO. On the one-­year anniversary of his death, St. Louis County was declared a state of emergency (August 10, 2015) as demonstrators protested incarceration rates and held a rally outside the courthouse in St. Louis. #BlackLivesMatter has become a symbol of solidarity amongst activists who are looking at the treatment of Black men by police, the justice system and the rising number of fatalities between police and young Black men. Other demonstrations over the killings of Black men by police have occurred in the recent past. Of note, Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man, died on July 17, 2014 in Staten Island, New York City, after a White officer put him in a chokehold. The officer, Daniel Pantaleo, was not indicted, although Garner’s death was ruled a homicide. Police had approached Garner on suspicion of selling cigarettes without a license. In another case, 17-year-­old Laquan McDonald was killed in October 2014 in Chicago. The recent release of a video on November 24, 2015 shows police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the teen 16 times after police say he brandished a knife. The police officer was charged with first-­degree murder in the death of the teen. After release of the dashcam video, protesters took to the streets of Chicago.


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The Black Lives Matter movement has its share of supporters, and there are those who counter with the All Lives Matter argument – both sides have saturated social media sites with the #BlackLivesMatter vs. #AllLivesMatter. The best argument we’ve heard comes from Reddit (2015). In an “Explain Like I’m Five” thread, user GeekAesthete wrote a powerful blog and we share a brief quote here: Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment – indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-­ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any! (Reddit, 2015) To argue simply that all lives matter (stating the obvious) minimizes the issue that Black men are being killed while in the custody of police at alarming rates. The introduction of dashcams and the availability of smartphones and tablets have literally recorded the killings of Black men while in the custody of, or in their interaction with, police. The instant sharing and re-­sharing of such events on social media has impacted the rate at which such information is made available for public consumption, commentary on this information, and the formation of social action groups to demonstrate against these types of deadly occurrences. The easy access to such stories, including social media, has witnessed an array of varied perspectives regarding Black Lives Matter.

More Groups in the Media-­Scape The presence of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the US has advanced a dialogue at the national level, and it was a major issue in the 2016 presidential primary race. The underperformance gap of Black and Latina/o students in comparison to their White and Asian peers continues to widen. The rights of English learners and their access to an equal educational experience also remain at the forefront of the national discourse on whether or not these students should receive support in their native language. The rights of children who identify with the gender they were not born with, or who are transgender, gay, or lesbian, or who are the children of same-­sex parents, have risen to the forefront as well.

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The arrival of non-­Christian immigrants and their families from the war-­ torn Middle East, and specifically the mass exit of Syrian refugees to Europe and the United States, has signaled a need to learn about non-­ Western cultures and religion/religious practices and implications for cultural difference and school practice. A record number of Muslim refugees were admitted to the United States in 2016. The number of Muslim refugees who entered the US in 2016 was 38,901, which represents 46% of the 85,000 refugees who entered the country in fiscal year 2016. Notably, President Trump issued an executive order that limits Muslim entry to the United States, addressing one of his most popular campaign promises. One of the highlights of this executive order will call for Syrian refugees to be indefinitely blocked from entrance to the US (Schulberg & Grim, 2017). More than half of the Muslim refugees were from Syria and Somalia – 12,486 and 9,012, respectively (Connor, 2016). The next highest number of refugees entering the US are Christian, at 37,521. It is tacitly agreed that non-­Western students will learn about Western culture; some believe that it is the job of non-­Westerners to adapt to US culture and that “we” are not required to learn about “them.” The treatment of individuals based on their race, class, ethnicity, language, national origin, and religion is at the forefront of the national conversation and debate on difference, e.g., illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America, the deportation of Central Amer­icans under the Obama administration, Syrian refugees coming into Europe in large, unprecedented numbers, the arrival of Syrian refugees to the US (primarily [78%] children and women: Goyette, 2016), same-­sex marriage, the unequal treatment of the LGBTQ community, and the disproportionate number of Black students who drop out of high school. Additionally, reports of cyberbullying, hate crimes, school violence, and mass shootings have reached a level of an almost “common” occurrence and these, too, have been widely covered and discussed on social media, often with arguments occurring between pro- and anti-­gun control individuals. While the Civil Rights Act may have legally mandated the equal treatment of individuals regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, etc., it cannot eliminate racism, sexism, heterosexism, and other “-isms,” which continue to deny equal treatment of individuals in the US. Although the Civil Rights Act made discrimination against the law, it cannot force any individual to respect or accept difference. Racism in the United States goes back hundreds of years, e.g., the treatment of Amer­ican Indians by their “deculturalization” (Spring, 2016), as a way of forcing Amer­ican Indians to adapt to the dominant culture “based on a belief that some cultures and languages are superior to others” (p.  22), institutionalization of slavery and treatment of Black Africans as non-­human, treatment of other non-­White peoples, including Mexicans and Chinese. The public discourse on issues associated with these groups


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of people has increased as the internet and social media have created a platform for ongoing and instant “posting,” sharing, and tweeting (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram) throughout the country and, in many instances, internationally.

Civil Rights Today – Understanding Difference The rights of various under-­represented groups, including racial, ethnic, religious, LGBTQ, women, etc., continue to be called into question – well into the 21st century. One way to consider their continued lack of equal treatment and protection under the law is to look at the number of hate crimes committed against these groups. The FBI defines a hate crime as “a criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity” (Ansari, 2016). The level of hate crimes rose across the country, according to the FBI Annual Report (2015). Notably, between 2014 and 2015, the number of hate crimes toward Muslims jumped 67%, from 154 to 257 (Ansari, 2016). According to the annual Hate Crime Statistics report (US Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2015), a total of 5,850 hate crimes were reported in 2015 – a 6.8% increase from the 2014 data, which showed 5,479 reported hate crime incidents. Other single-­bias incidents are reported (“single bias” refers to an incident in which one or more offenses are motivated by the same bias, e.g., race, religion, disability, sexual orientation). A total of 5,818 single-­bias incidents were reported, in which 59.2% were attributed to racial, ethnic, and/or ancestry bias; religious bias, 19.7%; sexual orientation bias, 17.7%; while gender identity, disability, and gender bias accounted for 3.3%. As noted by Ansari (2016), the FBI’s annual report came out soon after a combative presidential campaign which, as we explain elsewhere, was filled with biased, racist, and misogynistic rhetoric, perhaps “normalizing” biased and hate behavior toward these groups. The election of Donald Trump offers a constant focus on issues surrounding the groups noted above via social media, including the President’s almost daily tweets. In his farewell speech, President Barack Obama addressed the notion of the existence of a “post-­racial America.” In this speech he talks about how a post-­racial America was never a realistic goal, even with his election as the first Black Amer­ican president. He notes that we have come a long way in terms of race relations in the last 10, 20, or 30 years. His speech is instructive in that he tells us that it is our collective responsibility to work together with people who are different from us, to bring about the change we hope to see in our democracy:

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For blacks and other minorities, it means tying our own struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face – the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender Amer­ican, and also the middle-­aged white man who from the outside may seem like he’s got all the advantages, but who’s seen his world upended by economic, cultural, and technological change. (Berger, 2017) The Civil Rights Act of 1964 formed the foundation for the protection of various groups to ensure their equal treatment under the law. While the Act started with the protection of people according to national origin, race, ethnicity, and also included women, the law has expanded over the years to include the protection of LGBTQ, religious groups, Muslims, immigrants, and those with special needs. In Chapter 4, we consider the social and cultural context of social media use with a focus on the rise of blatantly racist, sexist, misogynistic speech and posts. We focus on communication on social media sites and look at ways that users (of social media) “talk” to one another. We consider the constant flux of social media with the ongoing “refresh” of each computer, phone, tablet screen and the way that we engage with friends and strangers as we dig deeper into the discourse of difference.

Chapter Questions for Discussion 1. Will the United States retreat on civil rights for some individuals (citizens, non-­citizens, undocumented) who live in the US? What do you think? If so, when and with whom? 2. How do you envision the treatment of various protected groups in the next 10 years? Next 20 years? Please explain.

Critical Self-­Reflection/Check-­in 1. How did the Civil Rights Act lay the foundation for addressing equity and equality for all groups? How is the intent of the Act demonstrated in current social issues? 2. “Most Amer­icans today will not accept overt acts of racism and will call out people who invoke it.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? 3. Mexican- and US-born children were rounded up and sent to Mexico 85 years ago. Do you think this could happen again? 4. Japanese Amer­icans were placed in relocation camps 75 years ago. Do you think this could happen again?


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Keeping Up to Date and Further Reading 1. Southern Poverty Law Center – Hate Map; www.splcenter.org/hate-­map

References Alvarez, R. R., Jr. (1986). The Lemon Grove incident. Journal of San Diego History, 32(2, Spring). Retrieved January 16, 2017, from www.sandiegohistory. org/journal/1986/april/lemongrove/. Ansari, A. (2016, November 15). FBI: hate crimes spike, most sharply against Muslims. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from www.cnn.com/2016/11/14/us/fbi-­ hate-crime-­report-muslims/. Berger, A. (2017, January 10). Watch Obama explain why a “post-­racial America” was always unrealistic. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from www.businessinsider. com/barack-­obama-race-­relations-united-­states-2017-1. California Department of Education. (2016) History–Social Science Framework. (n.d.).Retrieved from www.cde.ca.gov/ci/hs/cf/hssframework.asp. Connor, P. (2016, October 05). U.S. admits record number of Muslim refugees in 2016. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from www.pewresearch.org/fact-­tank/2016/ 10/05/u-­s-admits-­record-number-­of-muslim-­refugees-in-­2016/. Fisher v. University of Texas. (n.d.). Oyez. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from www.oyez.org/cases/2012/11-345. Gay, G. (2000). Culturally responsive teaching: theory, research, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press. Goyette, J. (2016, August 8). It’s now clear that most of the Syrian refugees coming to the United States are women and children. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from www.pri.org/stories/2016-08-08/it-­s-now-­clear-most-­syrian-refugees-­comingunited-­states-are-­women-and-­children. Liptak, A. (2016). Supreme Court upholds affirmative action program at University of Texas. New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2016, from www.nytimes.com/ 2016/06/24/us/politics/supreme-­court-affirmative-­action-university-­of-texas. html?_r=0. Mitchell, A., Rosenstiel, T., & Christian, L. (2011, May 6). www.stateofthemedia. org/2012/mobile-­d evices-and-­n ews-consumption-­s ome-good-­s igns-for-­ journalism/what-­facebook-and-­twitter-mean-­for-news/. Retrieved October 28, 2015, from www.nywici.org/features/social-­media-credibility. Reddit. (2016). Explain like I’m five. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from www. reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/3du1qm/eli5_why_is_it_so_controversial_when_someone_says///www.reddit.com/. Schulberg, J., & Grim, R. (2017, January 25). Read draft text of Trump’s executive order limiting Muslim entry to the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE). Retrieved January 25, 2017, from www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/read-­draft-text-­trump-executive-­ order-muslim-­e ntry_us_5888fe00e4b0024605fd591d?guccounter=1&guce_ referrer_us=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvLnVrLw&guce_referrer_ cs=jkQ1jZEKvnR49nN2l2Tf0g.

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Sleeter, C., & McLaren, P. (2000). Rethinking schools online. Retrieved November 30, 2016, from www.rethinkingschools.org/special_reports/bilingual/himu151.shtml. Spring, J. H. (2016). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality: a brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the united states. New York: Routledge. US Department of Justice – Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2015). Hate Crime Statistics 2015 [PDF]. Released Fall 2016. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/ hate-­crime/2015/topic-­pages/incidentsandoffenses_final.pdf. Voting Rights Act. (n.d.). Voting Rights Act. Retrieved January 15, 2017, from www.aclu.org/issues/voting-­rights/voting-­rights-act.

Racial Intolerance and Social Media


CHAPTER OVERVIEW In this chapter, we look at the historical, social, cultural, and political context of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia as it occurs in Amer­ican society. We consider the conversation around these issues, as addressed on Facebook and Twitter. We focus on the issue of race in America, and its impact on people of color, including Black Amer­icans, who are often the recipients of hate crimes and police shootings, and targets of White supremacists. We also consider the treatment of illegal and legal immigrants and people of color (e.g., Latina/o, East Asians, South Asian, Middle Easterners) in the United States. We look back at the presidential primary of President Barack Obama and the use of social media. We examine the influx of overt racism since the 2016 presidential elections and at President Donald Trump’s constant use of social media. While some inroads have been made toward developing a more non-­ racist, equitable, and multicultural society since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was institutionalized and personal racism and prejudice still remain. Two of the most reactionary factors that have manifested the escalation of racial and ethnic intolerance and equity have been the election of Donald Trump and the use of social media along with constant, 24/7 cable news coverage which also appears on social media. Marisol’s story takes place after the election of Trump and the widespread use of social media, especially among youth. This story is not new, and students like Marisol have been struggling to obtain justice for decades, but what is different is that the overt racism and license to demean and oppress now seems aligned to the Trump administration and the spread of hate, prejudice, racism, and intolerance – massively, instantly, and anonymously via social media.

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Vignette: Marisol’s Story Marisol attends a predominantly White high school in the Midwest. The school started to see an upsurge in Mexican Amer­ican and Mexican immigrant students in the early 2000s. These students represent about 3% of the school population. Some of the Mexican students speak English as their first language and others as their second. Most of the students moved to this community due to their parents’ work. Marisol’s parents brought her over to the United States when she was two years old and she is considered a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) student. She attended schools that offered an English-­only or “sink or swim” approach to instruction, it is illegal for schools in the United States to offer an English-­only sink or swim approach to instruction for English Learners (Lau v. Nicols, 1977). She was never taught in her native language which was Spanish. Instead, she was only taught in English. This is not pedagogically or theoretically supported by educational research. She has never visited Mexico and has only known this community as her home. She speaks her home language, Spanish, at a conversational level. She does not read or write in Spanish. She speaks, reads, and writes in English (her second language) and is at grade level. She is involved in the local food for homeless program, school and church choirs, and helps out at the local church with Sunday school. She has dreams of going to university and is currently trying to figure out where to get help. She is also a student activist for the local DACA movement, attends local rallies, and makes various posts on her Twitter and Facebook accounts to bring the issues to the fore. She shares information from her personal Facebook page and Twitter accounts publicly. Recently, Marisol has noticed an upsurge of negative, if not threatening, responses to her posts, from complete strangers to fellow students. One anonymous user who attended the same high school responded to one of Marisol’s Facebook posts regarding an upcoming “teach-­in” for members of the high-­school community to learn about DACA as follows: “Go back to where you came from. Learn to speak English. You are not welcome at my school. Dirty wetback.” Another post read: “We need to build that border wall NOW, so we can stop dirty, lazy Mexicans like you from coming to America. If you know what’s good for you, stop sharing this garbage about illegal aliens. MAGA.” Marisol reached out to one of her teachers, who persuaded her to talk with the school administration. The vice principal and principal told her to not worry about the posts and not to take it personally. They told her the other students were just letting off steam because their high school was changing – racially and ethnically, including other, non-­English languages. They suggested she “shrug it off.” Studies have shown that when secondary schoolers go through a sudden demographic change, the school environment becomes more hostile and violent.


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In an attempt to address the issue, Marisol reached out to each of the students by sending them a personal Facebook message inviting them to meet with her so that she could share her experiences about being an immigrant in the US. Neither one responded to her invitation. Instead, one of them issued a public post to the school’s official Facebook page and called on all White students to show up to disrupt the teach-­in, saying that they (the students) needed to let all the Mexicans know they were not welcome at their high school.

Tapping into your Personal Lens 1. What ethnic/racial groups are most represented at this high school? What was the ethnic/racial breakdown at the high school you attended? 2. What do you think motivates the White students to react to the Mexican students with name-­calling and threats of showing up to disrupt the teach-­in? 3. What steps should the school administration take to address these public outbursts toward the Mexican students who are either here legally, DACA students, or were born in the US? 4. What would you do?

Discussion The controversy surrounding DACA students and other young people who were brought over illegally by their parents is at the forefront of the discussion surrounding undocumented immigrants and their children. The Obama administration created the DACA policy in 2012. It allowed these children the right to study, live, and work in the US. Applicants are checked for any history of criminality or if they present a national security threat. Applicants must be a student or have completed school or military service. Those who were approved for the DACA program were given a two-­year deferment from any deportation action. The DACA policy ended in March 2018, leaving thousands of DACA individuals in a precarious state or in limbo, not knowing when or if they will be deported. During the 2016 primary presidential election, now President Trump promised to rescind the DACA and further promised to deport illegal immigrants. As noted previously, he stated: “ ‘They are not our friend, believe me,’ he said, before disparaging Mexican immigrants: ‘They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people’ ” (Reilly, 2016).

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Postscript This story suggests that the present administration has given license to spread racist xenophobia and that social media is weapon of choice.

self-­assessment 1. Can you name one issue associated with the influx of illegal immigrants into the United States? For more information, go to www. pewresearch.org/topics/immigration-­trends/ 2. Can you name an issue at the forefront of Amer­ican life with respect to racism and/or xenophobia? 3. What can schools and communities do to counter the incidence of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia in schools?

Racism and Prejudice Racism can be viewed as a system of advantage based on one’s race (Tatum, 1997). To that end, Whites have an advantage over non-­Whites in housing, schools, and employment – even if the recipients of this privilege do not hold prejudiced or racist views toward non-­Whites. Tatum distinguishes between racism (based on a dislike of people based on their race) and prejudice which includes pre-­conceived notions about a given group of people. This suggests that White privilege benefits those who may be aware or unaware (of the privilege). Not everyone is a racist. We understand and, as Tatum and others suggest racism is often institutionalized across the US institutions, e.g., education, social services, housing, employment. The institution of education is a living example of the stratification of privilege across the educational spectrum. Schools in better neighborhoods have more experienced teachers than those in poorer communities; which have the least experienced teachers. The United States system of racism has changed throughout its history. A century ago Italians, Jews and other southern and eastern Europeans were viewed as non-­White and non-­mainstream (Barshay, n.d.). European immigrants were able to assimilate quickly, by giving up their European cultural roots and, in the case of Eastern Europeans, their language was lost. Because of their European (e.g., “White”) appearance and the history of Amer­icanization, they were assimilated into the Amer­ican mainstream. Clair and Denis (2015) look at racism and its relationship to racial discrimination and racial inequality. They note that contemporary sociology considers racism as “individual – and group-­level processes and structures that are implicated in the reproduction of racial inequality in diffuse and


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often subtle ways” (p. 857). They consider the social reproduction of racial inequality in ways that are not readily visible. Institutional racism, is, at times, invisible. Notably, they consider racism and racial inequality in the context of a supposedly “post-­racial” society. When Barack Obama was elected to the presidency in 2008 and became the first Black President (he is in fact biracial, with an African father and a White mother), some Amer­ icans saw this as the start of a new “post-­racial society” in the United States. It is safe to say that, while racism is often invisible and covert, it is also visible and overt. The appearance of racist posts and views on social media are at the center of the conversation.

Context: Historical, Social, Political, Cultural Spring (2016) considers the treatment of dominated groups in the United States as being systematically deculturalized through the Amer­ican school experience. He argues that students are stripped of their language and culture, including their cultural practices (e.g., heritage language, food eaten, family unit, community context). Deculturalization occurs in schools when students are taught one view of history, through the lens of the European Amer­ican experienced as the colonizer. Deculturalized people in America are Indigenous/Native peoples, African/Black, Chinese/other Asians, and Latinos. Deculturalization occurs when people lose their heritage language and suffer language loss. Language loss is often referred to as “linguicide.” History is taught from a European socio-­political context; that is, history through the European experience is most covered in schools. Rarely is history taught from the experience of the colonized or deculturalized. For example, mainstream curriculum does not cover the genocide of the native population of the United States, racist laws against the Chinese, and the repatriation of Mexican Amer­icans in social studies or history. The use of English as the only language of power and the marginalization of native/heritage languages are part of the institutional policy and learning purposes perpetuated by schools. Another example of how history is taught from a European perspective is reflected on how the enslavement of Africans occurred in the United States. Sawchuk (2018) notes: Slavery on U.S. soil underpinned virtually every aspect of life in the Antebellum South. The North, too, depended on the wealth slavery generated; its profits fueled westward expansion. Racist ideology explicitly developed to justify slavery. Slavery is the central cause of the bloody Civil War.

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These facts (noted above) are rarely taught in schools. The Southern Poverty Law Center (Shuster, 2018) published a report (“Teaching Hard History: Amer­ican Slavery”) in which they consider how racial conflict and exploitation are at the heart of farmworkers’ Amer­ican history. This report notes that real historical content needs to be incorporated into social studies and history content. Further, many teachers are not equipped to teach the history of slavery or other acts against colonized peoples because they themselves have not processed this element of the Amer­ican experience. Other “real” histories that are rarely addressed from the perspective of the oppressed include the ethnic cleansing of Amer­ican Indians from their lands, the exploitation of immigrants, e.g., Mexicans in the mines of the Southwest, Chinese to build the railroads, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which denied entrance to the United States to all Chinese laborers for ten years. Merchants, students, teachers and diplomats were exempted (Spring, 2016). It further required all Chinese residing in the US to obtain certificates of registration. Other history needs to be taught as it actually occurred, including the use of Mexican laborers (Bracero program), and must be considered in the context of how Mexican and Central Amer­ican immigrants (illegal or legal) are portrayed in today’s media and social media. The lynchings of each of these groups hold a place in Amer­ican history. The Jim Crow laws of the post-­Civil War United States which occurred both in the North and the South need to be taught as historical fact. The ideas of separate but equal – e.g., Plessy vs. Ferguson, adjudicated in 1896, which upheld the right of states to institute a legal system of racial segregation and developed a two-­tier system of separate and unequal practices that would dehumanize and discriminate against African Amer­icans until 1964 – also needs be taught in the US history/social studies curriculum. Some Amer­ican schools incorporate the perspective of various cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. Gay (2001) notes that teachers can deliver lessons that are culturally responsive; that is, instruction that considers the student’s race, language, and heritage. The emphasis is to build the history and content of African, Asian, Latino, and indigenous Amer­icans into the curriculum. Related to culturally relevant teaching is the idea of teaching and learning that is built on a student’s funds of knowledge. Moll et al. (1992, pp. 132–141) define fund of knowledge as: The skills and knowledge that have been historically and culturally developed to enable an individual or household to function within a given culture and argue that integrating funds of knowledge into classroom activities creates a richer and more-­highly scaffolded learning experience for students. When the funds of knowledge of a student are considered, there is attention given to that student’s social, cultural, and linguistic experience. Additionally, the history and cultural practices of the student are considered and


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included as the cultural capital that contributes to the curriculum, teaching, and learning. The treatment of people based on race or ethnicity or national origin is against the law and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 offered such protection. It is against the law to treat someone unequally in schools or housing or employment based on their race, ethnicity, or national origin.

The first Social Media President President Barack Obama has been called “the first social media president” (Bogost, 2017). He was the first modern-­day president to use social media during the primary election season. We can all recall how he used Facebook and Twitter to spread his message of “hope and change.” In 2009, many Amer­icans were not “tuned in” to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. It is noted that any president who would have been elected would most likely have taken advantage of social media. President Obama was the first to send an official presidential tweet @POTUS, “go live on Facebook, to use a filter on Snapchat” (Bogost, 2017). Many of us will recall that President Obama was dependent and “inseparable” from his Blackberry. He was known for being good on social media, and perhaps this is no surprise. President Obama took advantage of digital media and ensured that he worked with top technology designers and researchers. For example, the Laboratory for Social Machines, at MIT Media Lab, worked with the administration on the Electome project. According to the project: We now draw from the same computer science methods –  including machine learning, natural language processing, and network analysis – to explore how the White House, President Obama, and the First Lady have used Twitter to communicate with the public. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://electome.org/components/electome-­whitehouse/. The Electome project classified the tweets and had some interesting insights about what the @POTUS, @flotus, and @whitehouse tweeted about: @flotus tweeted most about veterans (at 40%), far more than the election-­ engaged public tweeted (single digits); @whitehouse tweeted most about energy and environmental issues – more than the election-­engaged public. More than 173 countries heads of state use Twitter for political communication “to a combined audience of over 300 million followers” (http://­ electome.org/components/electome-­whitehouse/). The digital history of the Obama administration has been preserved. The Obama administration had issued a “call to action” to all interested parties to submit ideas about how to preserve the social media history of the administration and to suggest the best ways to archive the history. In October 2017, the administration shared the various ways that citizens,

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students, companies, and organizations “answered this call to action – and today we’re excited to share some of their innovative archival projects with you” (Miller, 2017). Some of the archival projects included: • •

• •

ArchiveSocial – which offers over a quarter-­million posts that can be searched by date, platform, and keyword. It is available at http:// ObamaWhiteHouseArchive.social. Rhizome – a digital art organization that published a series of “multi-­ media, digital essays” that focused on internet culture in the context of the Obama administration. For example, you can view the #LoveWins hashtag that trended on Instagram and Facebook. You can learn more at Rhizome’s website (https://rhizome.org/search/?q=%23Lovewins). MIT Media Lab – started up by Electome group and programmer Derek Lieu. We mentioned this earlier This tool analyzes administration tweets, and citizen tweets on a variety of topics. Interestingly, the tool analyzes how the White House tweet “topics fluctuated” during Obama’s presidency. GIPHY – This search engine will launch “a page that enables the public to view all GIFs that the White House has ever shared.” Go to www.giphy.com/Obama. Portland, Oregon-­based “Feel Train” houses White House tweets for the duration of Obama’s presidency. The archives include the “most significant moments” of the administration. You can visit @Relive44 on Twitter. The University of Texas-­Austin students, enrolled in a graduate seminar with Dr. Amelia Acker, used social media data in their final projects. At New York University, Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) hosted an “Obamathon” on January 6, 2017 – to brainstorm different ways of archiving presidential social media use. Internet Archive – this tool made the White House social media archive available for download at their website, thus “ensuring” the public’s ability to access the archives.

These are some of the best archival data tools we have seen in the age of social media.  Here is a handful of tweets that have been archived by @Relive44 regarding the Obama administration on social media: • • •

President Obama’s first tweet was on 5/1/09 Relive 44 –160 teacher jobs saved nationwide, find how many in your state in an interactive map Relive 44 – Kagan Confirmed = How Do the Women You Know Continue to Break Barriers? Answers to @whitehouse.bit.ly/ [email protected]


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Relive 44 @Relive44 – Obama to Republicans on more help for economy: “We need to do what’s right, not what’s political – and we need to do it now.” Relive 44 @Relive44 – 1:00 Live video chat on Wall St Reform & African Amer­icans, a community most hit by predatory lending Relive 44 @Relive44 – 10 ways the @DeptVetAffairs is serving our #Vets & more Relive 44 @Relive44 – A deeply moving signing ceremony for the Tribal Law and Order Act: “A Step Forward for Native Women”

• • •

President Obama and his media advisors made strides in introducing Amer­icans and others around the world to the use of various social media platforms – with the intention of messaging people who supported him but were not of the political mainstream: Barack Obama rose to prominence as a politician who could deliver broad, sweeping speeches with universal themes, and he has leveraged the opportunities of the digital age to maximum political advantage. But often, this now means speaking narrowly to his base voters or to groups disconnected from the mainstream political process. (Eilperin, 2015) The administration was able to filter the traditional method; however, this was accomplished without the “filter” of traditional media. This presented an opportunity for the administration to focus on its core supporters, but it also created a challenge; that is, it was also viewed as potentially creating polarization for people who did not identify with him ideologically. There was criticism that such engagement would produce and encourage “hashtag activism.” The Obama administration had various social media accounts on Twitter (3), Facebook (4), Google+ (1), Instagram (1), and Tumblr (2). During the 2015 State of the Union Address, the speech was live-­streamed with 127 slides. The moment the President started speaking, his remarks were released online (Eilperin, 2015). President Obama debuted his Twitter account, six years into his presidency, on May 18, 2015: President Obama. In the Oval Office. Tweeting.#WelcomeToTwitter, @POTUS!http://go.wh.gov/POTUS-­ twitter 10:15 AM–May 18, 2015 President Obama. #[email protected] @POTUS!http://go.wh. gov/POTUS-­twitter (Archived, W. H. 2015)

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An official White House Statement noted: “The @POTUS Twitter account will serve as a new way for President Obama to engage directly with the Amer­ican people, with tweets coming exclusively from him,” the White House said in a statement. “President Obama is committed to making his Administration the most open and participatory in history, and @POTUS will give Amer­ icans a new venue to engage on the issues that matter most to them.” (Eilperin, 2015)

Racism and Prejudice on Social Media While the advances of the 1960s made some inroads to protect under-­ represented groups, the Civil Rights Law cannot and does not protect individuals from ingrained, structural racism and racial stratification within institutions (such as schools, government, employment) and appears to be on the rise. Acts of overt racism, as confirmed in the hate crimes and killings of various members of the Black and Latina/o communities. Social media has captured racist rants toward people of color, including video of White people telling Latinas/os to “speak English” and “go back where you came from.” Since the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the Pew Research Center and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) provide evidence that acts of overt racism are on the rise. According to the SPLC, there are 954 hate groups operating in the United States (www.splcenter. org/hate-­map#). Kaleem (2017) writes about the “Trump effect,” which suggests the election of Donald Trump has emboldened his base to display their racism and racist tendencies. He connects it to the rise of hate groups in the United States. Unlike the “Obama effect,” which suggested an easing up or decline in overt racist tendencies (while some also suggested a “post-­racial” society in the US), the Trump effect is evident in social media, not just with the rise of hate groups, but also includes the increasing numbers of hate group followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The online harassment of people of color is also on the rise. This is especially noticeable with celebrities and other known individuals. Such was the case of the Saturday Night Live performer Leslie Jones, who was attacked on Twitter in March 2016. The attacks started as a result of the Twitter debut of Ghostbusters, which starred an all-­female cast. Jones, in particular, was harassed on her Twitter account, after Milos Yiannopoulos, the alt-­right commentator, formerly of Breitbart News, posted a negative review of the movie. His review spearheaded an onslaught of racist vitriol from his followers. Jones stopped using her account until Twitter was able to address the hate comments. Yiannopoulos’ account was suspended, forever. After some


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time, Jones was able to start using her Twitter account and started to report from the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio, Brazil. In August 2016, her personal website was hacked, with the hackers posting nude photos (purported to be Jones) and the dead gorilla, Harambe. Also in 2016, a county official in West Virginia, F. Taylor caused a nationwide uproar with her ugly comments on Facebook when she wrote (according to a screengrab obtained by CNN affiliate WSAZ), “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a [sic] Ape in heels” (referring to Michelle Obama). Several types of news stories have consistently trended on social media for the past several years and address issues of race, racism, and privilege. Social media has been besieged with cell-­phone video and Facebook Live accounts of Black men shot and killed by police. In July 2016, Philando Castile was fatally shot by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop. Castile’s fiancée, Diamond Reynolds, who was seated next to him as a passenger, streamed the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting on Facebook Live. As the real-­time streaming video begins, Reynolds is saying, “Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light.” In the video, Reynolds is seen talking to the officer, who is standing at the driver’s window, and the victim, Castile, can be seen bleeding and slumped over. The officer has his gun pointed at Castile. Reynolds tells the Facebook Live audience that they were pulled over; that her boyfriend (Castile) is “licensed to carry.” She explains to the police officer that “He was just trying to get his license and registration together, Sir” (Lavish Diamond Reynolds, 2018). Here is a snippet of the transcript as the livestream video begins (Uberti, 2016): Reynolds:  Stay

with me. We got pulled over for a busted tail light in the back and the police he’s he’s covered … They killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he was, that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him in his arm. officer:  Ma’am, keep your hands where they are! Reynolds:  I will sir, no worries, I will. officer:  Fuck! Reynolds:  He just got his arm shot off. We got pulled over on Larpenteur. officer:  I told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his head up! Reynolds:  He had, you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license. Oh my god please don’t tell me he’s dead. The fatal shooting of Castile was the first US fatal police shooting to be live-­streamed on Facebook Live. It marks a turning point for the use of

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social media and first-­person accounts of “citizen reporters” who share the news in real time: The aftermath of the shooting death of Philando Castile – streamed live from Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and broadcast all over the world via the social network – shows a perspective of a police shooting that we’ve never seen before. (Shoichet, 2016) The fatal shooting of Castile allowed people from across the US and other countries to watch the events as they unfolded in real time. It was the first time such an occurrence was live-­streamed on social media. Citizen journalists’ accounts of such events are not new, but the live-­streaming (real time) of the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile provided a first-­person account of an individual who was part of the event. This changed the perspective from that of a citizen journalist standing across the street (as in the case of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, in 2014) where the video is often fuzzy. During the livestream, Castile’s fiancé (Reynolds) notes that: “He let the officer know … that he had a firearm and he was reaching for his wallet, and the officer just shot him in his arm” (Shoichet, 2016). The video shows the dying Castile seated and slumped over, with blood going down his white shirt. He is not offered any help while the officer is pointing his gun at the wounded Castile during the whole video. Uberti (2016) notes: “Reynolds’ citizen journalism gave Amer­icans her unvarnished perspective of the aftermath, a crucial angle that would have gone through multiple layers of reporters and editors otherwise.” Shoichet (2016) describes how the viewer is placed in the “passenger seat.” It shows a new point of view – and “already seems to be changing the conversation.” We are given an insider’s view of what is captured in the live-­stream. While it is true that we do not know what happened before the live video-­stream began, we have a context for what occurred in the immediate aftermath of the deadly shooting. We see that the victim (Castile) was not given any help or medical assistance. We see that the officer continued to point the gun at Castile while Reynolds told the officer that he (Castile) was opening the glove compartment to retrieve his license and registration. We hear the officer as well. The video went viral and was shared by various news groups and activists such as Black Lives Matter. Molly McPherson describes herself as a “social media fixer” on her Twitter account. On July 7, 2016, she tweeted: “The Facebook Live video & now trending #PhilandoCastile is a game changer for police relations & social media” (McPherson, 2016). The fatal shooting of Philando Castile as live-­streamed by Diamond Reynolds is a turning point for how racial profiling of Black men and other people of color is talked about. Uberti (2016) notes that whereas:


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past videos allowed viewers to see uncut incidents of alleged brutality after the fact. Diamond Reynold’s Facebook Live video Wednesday night, captured just seconds after her boyfriend Philando Castile was mortally wounded by a cop during a traffic stop, did so in real-­time. Even more striking was her measured narration of the bloody scene: Reynolds became a broadcaster. In this case, Reynolds “was both victim and reporter – a citizen journalist, ultimately” (Uberti, 2016). Notably, Reynolds’ measured narration of the events following the fatal shooting are somewhat surprising. Yet, she did become a citizen journalist – newscaster of events in real time. Uberti further notes: “Whereas citizen journalists often drove media coverage of the so-­called Arab Spring, for example, they’re now performing a similar service in the national discussion of race and policing in the US.” Indeed, the use of video-­streaming and video-­taping by individual everyday people in America has created the opportunity for people of various backgrounds (e.g., race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religious or non-­religious background) to report on events like the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 (during a struggle with a police officer; Brown was unarmed), the deadly use of force on Eric Garner, who died from a choke-­hold while in police custody in 2014, for selling a single cigarette outside a store. There are more instances of fatal shootings of Black men in America. The point is that the number of these occurrences appears to highlight a pattern in the way police interact with Black males. The immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting of Castile resulted in protests in St. Paul, MN, and across the United States. In June 2017, the officer who fired the shots that killed Castile was found not guilty by a jury of eight men and four women. The jury included one Black man and one Black woman. This verdict resulted in the arrest of 18 protesters “following demonstrations on Interstate 94 in St. Paul” (Kirkos & Ellis, 2017). Then-­Senator Al Franken stated that Castile did not have to die. Franken referenced “systemic racial inequalities” when he stated that “I am heartbroken for the family and loved ones of Philando Castile, whose beloved son, brother, boyfriend, nephew and friend was tragically taken from them last summer. Philando did not have to die” (Philando Castile, 2017). Other examples of racism are regularly demonstrated on social media. The Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) has been scrutinized by mainstream media and the alt-­right. The BLM came to the forefront of Amer­ican media and social media with the shooting and killing of Michael Brown, a young Black man who was shot and killed by police in August 2014, Ferguson, MO. The video of this shooting shows Brown running away from police as they shot him. A total of 12 bullets were shot and it is believed that the last shot was fatal. This video was shared widely on social media and was carried

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by cable and mainstream news stations. The sharing of this viral video brought the treatment of Black men to the forefront of the Amer­ican news-­ scape. Different versions of the video have been released, including cell-­phone video from various onlookers. In a 2014 interview with NPR’s Scott Simon, Colorlines editor-­at-large, Kai Wright stated that the killing of Michael Brown and the ensuing protests were shared on social media, globally. Social media helped to spread news of protests in the shooting of Michael Brown. The videos of young Black men shot and killed by police have established a widely followed social media presence. Wright likens the shooting of young Black men as “something of a macabre ritual this morning” of unarmed Black teenagers who die in interactions with police. He suggests that perhaps, we have to ask a larger question – about understanding that, perhaps, policing practices need to change? (NPR, Weekend Edition, 8/16/2014). We have only to look at the commentary associated with BLM or Michael Brown – or any other postings about young Black men being shot and killed by police – to see what various groups and/or individuals are posting in response to the killing of young Black men by police.  One of the most common responses to the killing of unarmed Black men by police officers is to respond by saying “all lives matter” or “Blue lives matter.” We agree. Black lives and Blue lives matter. We agree. All lives matter. However, we cannot appear to be blind to the treatment of one group of Amer­icans – Black Amer­icans. If we dismiss Black Lives Matter with “all lives matter,” then we diminish the fact that there is a pattern with Black men dying at the hands of police. If we dismiss the attention brought to the killing of Black men, then we are supporting a false narrative, if not a false equivalence. The diminishing of Black Lives Matter assumes that we (allegedly) live in a post-­racial society. If we keep with the argument that all lives matter, and certainly blue lives matter, the resulting “conclusion” is that police are now the “victims” of African Amer­ican men. Therefore, all African Amer­ican men are the perpetrators. In fact, more African Amer­ican men are killed by police officers than non-­Black. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “The idea that black people are wantonly attacking white people in some sort of quiet race war is an untruthful and damaging narrative with a very long history in America” (The Biggest Lie, n.d.). The racism toward Black men is deeply rooted in our history. Since antebellum America, there has been the widespread “belief ” (deeply biased in the racist past of Black slavery) that Black men are going to “take the White women” away. This White supremacist belief, deeply rooted in the history of the antebellum South alleges that Black men are going to “harm” White people. It makes sense that this narrative has carried over to current “beliefs” held by White supremacists towards Black men. Violence toward Black men is “as old as the United States itself and rooted in


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the country’s white supremacy: that black men are a physical threat to white people” (The Biggest Lie, n.d.). There are various websites that reinforce these White supremacist beliefs. Mass shooter Dylan Roof, who murdered nine Black churchgoers (the crimes committed by Roof are discussed elsewhere in this book) during a Bible study group, is reported to have said, “Y’all are raping our white women. Y’all are taking over the world” (The Biggest Lie, n.d.). Analysis of Roof ’s crime, based on his internet searches, notes that he viewed his actions as standing up for Whites who were oppressed by the Black man. If you follow the analysis of the White supremacist ideology, Roof did not view his self as the aggressor or perpetrator. There are hate websites that talk about violent Black people who are “waging war” against White people. Roof is said to have had an “awakening” when he became focused on the Trayvon Martin (a Black teen) murder that led to his “Google” research about “black on white” crime. Of the annual homicides commited in the US (as of November 2015) shows that whites tend to kill other whites. Likewise, blacks tend to kill other blacks (Greenberg, 2015). One of the patterns of White hate speech is the assertion that Black people are violent, and they want to kill White people. Former presidential candidate and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan observed: “The real repository of racism in America – manifest in violent interracial assault, rape and murder – is to be found not in the white community, but the African-­Amer­ican community” (Right Wing Watch Staff., n.d.).  German Lopez and Soo Oh (2017) discuss the number of fatal police shootings of Black men since the killing of Michael Brown on August 14, 2014 in Ferguson, MO. We include a link at the end of this chapter that provides more information on police arrests of Black men in the United States and Canada. Compare the above fatal shootings of Black men to an incident in Toronto, Canada, where a driver sped down a sidewalk and killed 14 people and injured 10, and, when confronted by armed police, was taken into custody without any shots being fired. This comparison is telling in the way two nations executed arrests differently. Canada (which did not institutionalize slavery or discrimination for Black people) is more humane in administrating law enforcement for both Black and White citizens. Since the beginning of 2018, 187 Black men and 7 Black women have been fatally shot by police in the US, and a total of 899 people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds have been killed since October 1, 2018 (Washington Post, n.d.). (For a quick reference and breakdown of people who have suffered fatal shootings, see Washington Post, n.d.) 

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Violence Toward African Amer­icans by White Nationalists Violence toward Black Amer­icans by White (nationalist) Amer­icans is embedded in the history of the United States, beginning with the institution of slavery, when Black Africans were brought to the original US colonies against their will and were forcibly enslaved by the European colonizers. US history is filled with countless accounts of (permitted, legally and de facto) lynchings, mistreatment of and oppression of Black Amer­icans. One present-­day case of violence towards Black Amer­icans as a group includes the mass shooting, on June 17, 2015, of a group of Black Amer­ icans killed during their Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC, by Amer­ican White supremacist Dylan Roof. Roof had entered into an evening Bible study and was welcomed by the participants, who did not question his presence. Toward the end of the Bible study he opened fire, killing nine of the church members and wounding one. Ballistics tests identified Roof ’s .45-caliber Glock pistol as the gun used in the church shooting. James Green, State Law Enforcement Division forensic firearms analyst, testified that Roof ’s gun fired 74 shell casings. Additionally, dozens of bullet fragments were found at the scene. The murders were designated as a hate crime. Hate crimes aimed at people of color in the United States are on the rise. According to the FBI, there were a total of 6,212 hate crimes in 2016. Of this number, the largest number were “Anti-­Black or Black Amer­ican,” at 1,739 (Federal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reporting, 2017). The National Hate Crimes database is at best an estimate, and not an exact science: Before we delve into details, it’s important to mention that national hate crime statistics are flawed and incomplete. That’s because bias and motivations for crimes aren’t always clear, such crimes can be underreported by both victims and police, and even when the available data are compiled by the FBI, they still don’t give a fully realized picture of where and how criminal hate is expressed in America. (Willingham, 2017)

Treatment of People of Color in Ordinary Situations The treatment of other people of color, in situations where they have been arrested by ICE or police, have also been recorded and posted on social media on a constant basis. Given the “fishbowl” nature of social media, it seems that specific “micro-­aggressions” toward people of color occur


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almost daily. On April 12, 2018, two Black men were waiting on a third man in a Philadelphia Starbucks store. They were arrested for sitting at Starbucks and not buying a drink. One asked to use the restroom and was told “no.” The manager then went to their table and asked if she could get them a drink. The men responded “no” and two minutes later the manager called the police (Siegel, 2018). Compare this with a conversation I had with the manager at my local university Starbucks, who stated the following about the high-­schoolers who attend the High School for the Arts on my campus:  The kids from the Arts High [who are mostly upper-­middle class and White] come into the store in large groups, take things without paying and we never say anything because I don’t want to hassle them because these kids are privileged kids whose parents have a lot of power. (Personal communication, 2016) The April 2018 video of the racist commuter on the Long Island Rail Road went viral. In the video, the commuter went on a racial tirade, “upset that the women were talking too loudly,” and added, “they couldn’t possibly know who their parents are” (Furfaro, 2018). The racist man in the video turned toward the women and shouted: Shut the f-­k up, you f-­king loudmouthed monkey mother-­ker (and continued) I can’t listen to your f-­king black ass no more … [sic] You f-­king loudmouthed bitch … At least I got a f-­uking mother. Do you know who your mother is? You don’t know who your mother or your father is because you’re a f-­king monkey, that’s why. One passenger who witnessed the incident said that he didn’t hear the women talking until the man started screaming at them. The women responded that it was not a “designated quiet car.” In the video the racist passenger went up to one of the women and “got in her face” and screamed at her (Furfaro, 2018). These are just a couple of examples of racism aimed at people of color when they are going about their daily lives. In Chapter 7 we discuss the curious trend of people of color getting the police called on them by a White person while going about their daily lives.

Racism aimed at politicians and celebrities of color There are many other examples of racism that make it to social media and often “trend.” Consider the treatment of President Barack Obama,

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who, when he was elected as the 44th president, was met with countless negative memes and racists posts (along with his family) on social media. The memes and posts appeared across the country, sometimes with cartoons or memes depicting watermelons growing outside (and surrounding) the White House. Other memes included President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama as monkeys or gorillas, or other negative portrayals. President Obama was often called a Muslim and a member of Isis. These racist and negative memes were the result of the racist backlash that accompanied his election to the Presidency of the United States. Samuels (2017) notes that social media has both supported and hurt the Obamas. In her article “Social media has become a catalyst for the spread of racism and hate,” she writes that: Close to a decade, the innovative social media and internet campaign that helped propel Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to the presidency has been closely examined and praised. But ironically, the same online commenting and social media platforms were used by critics to target the first black Amer­ican President with blatant racism, bigotry, and stereotyping – viciously attacking Obama and his family on a daily basis. Early in the primary race leading up to the presidency, President Obama was harassed online with allegations of “birtherism” (led by now-­president Donald Trump), which accused Obama of not being born in the United States. The conspiracy theory goes that he was born in Kenya, rather than Hawaii. This conspiracy theory asserts that since President Obama was not born as a citizen in the United States, he could not hold public office, let alone serve as president of the United States. Prior to his election to the presidency, Donald Trump raised the idea that President Obama was not born in the United States, when, during a television interview, he “mischievously began to question President Obama’s birthplace aloud.” By 2012, Trump tweeted that ‘ “an extremely credible source’ had called his office to inform him that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate was ‘a fraud.’ ” (Barbaro, 2016). It should be noted that this conspiracy theory was never supported by any substantiated evidence. In September 2016, Trump, as the presidential nominee, stated: “President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period” (Barbaro, 2016). Various online commenters exhibited their racism toward President Obama and his family. President Obama was called “boy” and First Lady Michelle Obama was called ‘un-­Amer­ican” and apelike. Others called President Obama the “anti-­Christ.” Various online commenters also said that President Obama was not a Christian and was a Muslim, noting that he was going to “give Muslims a higher status than white Amer­icans” (Barbaro, 2016).


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As depicted in the Barbaro (2016) article, there are examples of online posts directed at First Lady Michelle Obama. In the example shown here, there is a post of First Lady Obama as being in the top lists of most admired women in the world. The individual who shared the post states: “I admire a gorilla more than I admire her. (Wait, I forgot, she is a gorilla)! If she was a real First Lady, she would not have used and abused her title, by thinking that she is entitled to go on all the trips that she takes every other day. But most of all wasted all of our tax payer’s money. She is the worst example of a First Lady ever! (Oh, sorry, I meant gorilla not first Lady)!”  This is but one example of the racist and demeaning comments that were posted about First Lady Michelle Obama. In this case, the teacher, from Forsyth County, Georgia, was met with backlash for her racist post. One response named the teacher and asked: “Is that who you want teaching your kids? #askingforafriend.” (Lutkin, 2016). The commenter continued: “I guess she’s Jane Goodall since she called the First Lady a gorilla.” Lutkin comments, “The racism is terrible, but so is the fact that she clearly thinks she’s got jokes on jokes.” Another response states: “Disgrace to your school & community!! Those poor students who have been subjected to this PURE RACISM AND HATRED!! I can only imagine. Institutionalize racism within our schools must come to a STOP” (Lutkin, 2016). [in response to an article on Michelle Obama] Jane Wood Allen This poor Gorilla. How is she going to function in the real world, by not having all of her luxurious vacations paid for anymore? She needs to focus on getting a total make-­over (especially hair), instead of planning vacations! She is a disgrace to America!

Other examples of racism are demonstrated (daily) on social media. The Black Lives Matter movement has been scrutinized by mainstream media and the alt-­right. The BLM came to the forefront of Amer­ican media and social media with the shooting and killing of Michael Brown, a young Black man who was shot and killed by police in August 2014, Ferguson, MO. The video of this shooting shows Brown running away from police as they shot him. A total of 12 bullets were shot and it is believed that the last shot was fatal. This video was shared widely on social media and was carried by cable and mainstream news stations. The sharing of this viral video brought the treatment of Black men to the forefront of the Amer­ican news-­scape. Different versions of the video have been released, including cell-­phone video from various onlookers. 

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In the United States there has been a negative backlash against the Black Lives Matter Movement. The backlash has been demonstrated from the Executive Branch of the United States (Tump) to the many people who follow him. Some White, right-­wing conservative Amer­icans believe that Black Lives Matter movement goes against the rights of non-­Black people. In the case of some of those who counter Black Lives Matter, it is argued that there is a natural counter-­argument that if Black Lives Matter, then, in conclusion, White lives “don’t matter”. Framed in the argument of “White victimhood,” the argument goes like this: the White person does not look at himself or herself as a racist and therefore rejects the idea of having any type of assumed privilege (Smith, 2018). Therefore, the individual isn’t a racist and doesn’t see race (is in fact color-­blind) and is therefore not privileged. In fact, the White person is a victim of Black people who believe that they are oppressed. In fact (the argument goes), the White person believes that s/he is a victim of identity politics. In fact, the Black Lives Matter movement is a response to White supremacy. Nikita Carney notes that some Black Twitter users always use the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter along with #AllLivesMatter regularly. Using the two hashtags suggests that “Black lives mattering is a precondition for all lives mattering” (Carney, 2016): Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important – it means that Black lives, which are seen as without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation. Given the disproportionate impact violence has on Black lives, we understand that when Black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide-­reaching and transformative for society as a whole. The backlash against #BlackLivesMatter has also been voiced by politicians. According to former New York Mayor Giuliani, during a CNN interview, Black Lives Matter is “inherently racist” because “it divides us.” He continues with the “All Lives Matter” mantra: Black Lives Matter never protests when every 14 hours someone is killed in Chicago, probably 70–80% of the time by a Black person. Where are they then? Where are they when a young Black child is killed? (Lim, 2016) It should be noted that Giuliani’s remarks were made after the shooting of Dallas police, in which a lone gunman targeted officers who were patrolling around a peaceful Black Lives Matter March. The march was to protest the killings of two unarmed Black men, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Giuliani continued that he understood the concerns of Black


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people being killed by police, but that the BLM movement “put a target on the backs of [police officers]” (Lim, 2016). In the video, Alicia Garza, a co-­ founder of the BLM movement, reflected on Giuliani’s comments as “a relic of the past.” She further notes to host Don Lemon (CNN) that if Newt Gingrich can acknowledge the reality of racism in America, why can’t the former mayor? (Lim, 2016). In an interview with Van Jones, CNN commentator, Gingrich said that “normal white Amer­icans do not understand being black in America” (Scott, 2016). Gingrich continued: It took me a long time, and a number of people talking to me through the years, to get a sense of this: If you are a normal white Amer­ican, the truth is you don’t understand being black in America and you instinctively underestimate the level of discrimination and the level of additional risk. (Scott, 2016) Senator Marco Rubio, FL, echoes the remarks of Gingrich when he states that “Amer­icans who are not African-­Amer­ican will never fully understand the experience of being black in America.” The use of social media and the BLM movement as an organizing tool to pull people together to organize, in this case, about the killings of unarmed Black men is relevant to the viral spread of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter movement. According to Professor Cliff Lampe, University of Michigan, “Activists have used communication technology for a long time,” and “Before, they used flyers and posters. Now, with social media, the costs of space and time are less” (Verma, n.d.).

Extension of BLM to an Historical Context The social media response to issues associated with Black Lives Matter extends to other issues that focus on historical events related to Black Amer­icans, e.g., slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow. Recently, a new memorial was opened in Montgomery, AL, which honors African Amer­ican men, women, and children who were lynched in 805 US counties (Henderson, 2018). The opening of the memorial in April 2018 was covered on 60 Minutes. Various comments from the Facebook post and CNN article of the memorial range from support to criticism (Henderson, 2018). One user posted: “Guess I’m confused? People are trying to remove statues from the past for racial injustice but at the same time constructing new ones that remember the past of racial injustice” (from Facebook feed, 4/7/18). Other Facebook users responded with either a “thumbs up” for support and/or a “surprised” or “angry” emoji. Others called out the writer of the post as “conveniently forgetting” Amer­ican history. Another post supported the

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opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which houses the lynching memorial:  I am SO glad Oprah did this and it was aired. This was LONG overdue! This country has a VERY ugly past and it needs to not be sugar coated anymore! Unfortunately, the ugliness continues to this day … we make it seem like this country is SOOOOO great. In a sense, it is. However, it is also VERY ugly. (Facebook post, quoted 4/9/2018) This post garnered 221 “thumbs-­up,” “hearts,” and “crying” emojis. One Facebook user replied to this post with “Every country has a disgusting past. In fact, some countries still live in a dark world. Look at Africa. They still have slaves” (quoted 4/9/2018). This response garnered three “angry” emojis and six “thumbs-­up” emojis. This response was met with more responses asking the author of the post to “expound on your thought.” Yet, another responded with “Blame the Democrats!!!!!!.” Another Facebook user asked for the poster of the “Look at Africa” response to “Which African countries?” Yet, another post asked people to consider the disgusting past of some countries, including the United States. She noted:  Yes, many countries have a disgusting past. So back to the topic at hand, informing and educating people about the past of the US. Giving people the ability to see how it has influenced and become the root of what is happening today. Hard to see, difficult to take in, and needs to happen. To this post, another Facebook user responded (paraphrasing): “Root of America – please explain.” The various posts go from support for the lynching museum and the need for this history to be taught and not whitewashed. Yet others argue that this is no longer relevant to Amer­ican history and that other Amer­icans had to experience hard times as indentured servants. Still, another user posted that the Irish immigrants were treated poorly in the United States and that they (the Irish) choose not to complain about their past. The Irish are less inclined to bring up the past because they have now been included into the Amer­ican mainstream and are no longer discriminated, unlike people of color. Others argue that all countries have negative pasts. This argument of other countries having negative pasts does not make sense, nor follow any logical response to why this part of history should not be taught. Unfortunately, those who argue that we need to put this part of history behind us lead us to the idea that everyone needs to “get over it.” Perhaps it is the lack of understanding of actual history that leads many Amer­icans to tell others to “get over it” or to say other groups were oppressed (e.g., the Irish). If it is simply a lack of


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understanding of Amer­ican history, then that assumes there is a potential willingness of others to learn this part of Amer­ican history, e.g., the oppression of Black Amer­icans, indigenous peoples, Mexicans, Asians, etc. Yet Amer­ican history highlights years of systematic oppression of people of color by White institutions, and this is reinforced by institutional practices and by individuals who are protected and privileged by these practices.

Presidential Use of Social Media President Trump’s use of Twitter serves as a direct line of communication to his base and to the various news and cable news outlets that cover him. While he is not the first president to use a social media platform – in this case, Twitter – he is the first to tell all of us what is “on his mind” at any particular time of day. He is often characterized in various cartoons, sitting, watching TV and eating popcorn. Various cable news pundits report on his daily tweets and/or “tweet-­storms.” Others wonder how he has so much time to watch cable TV and “tweet” given all the work he has in his role of president of the United States. Trump’s presidential primary campaign appearances and rallies were often announced on social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. In his role as president, he continues to have campaign-­type rallies (or “post-­campaign campaigns”) to gather his supporters (Homans, 2018). It can be argued that he has used his presence on Twitter as a platform, often aimed at criticizing, demeaning, and (perhaps) demonizing Latina/o immigrants, people of color, women, progressives, and “others.” His statement that “Mexicans are rapists”; the removal of reporter Jorge Ramos out of a press conference; the White House non-­invitation to members of Black media to the 2017 Christmas party, e.g., April Ryan; his comments about “shit-­hole” countries (Haiti, El Salvador, all of Africa) during a White House meeting – these have all trended and made the Twitter and Facebook news feeds. As a matter of practice, Trump often “blocks” people (usually someone who disagrees with him and with a large following of Twitter users) from his Twitter account. On May 23, 2018, a Federal judge in New York ruled that Donald Trump could not block Twitter users from his Twitter feed (Breuninger & Mangan, 2018). This ruling was made in response to several law suits (including Knight First Amendment Institute) that had been blocked on Twitter by Trump. Lately, President Trump has taken to Twitter to “tweet” about former presidential advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman, who was fired from the White House. Manigault Newman is a Black woman. During a series of interviews she has given to different media groups, she revealed that she had recordings of her being fired by Chief of Staff Kelly, which she released. She also released a recording of

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herself – talking with the President about being fired. President Trump is reported to have been angry and felt “betrayed” by his friend and former White House advisor. He tweeted: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” This latest tweet aimed at an African Amer­ican has garnered criticism – from regular Twitter users to media hosts, politicians, and celebrities (Glasser, 2018). Nearly two years into his presidency, given his penchant for using Twitter to tell us what he is thinking, we might begin to think this is just a given. But we must caution ourselves: this is not to be normalized. President Trump has a large Twitter following. It appears that he tweets early mornings and, oftentimes, you can tell if it’s something he’s tweeted himself or if he had someone else tweet on his behalf. Another group the President likes to tweet about are the Black football players of the NFL. On various occasions he has called out Black football players for “taking a knee” during the playing of the national anthem. During a rally for Republican candidate Luther Strange, who was running in a special election to remain in the seat that had been vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions, he famously referred to Black players as a “son of a bitch”: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” During the primary election series of 2016 and currently (2018), President Trump has used Twitter for a variety of reasons. In some cases, he might tweet out a message about the Black football players who kneel during the national anthem, or congresswoman Maxine Waters of LA, who he refers to as “dumb” and with a low IQ. He might tweet about Senator Elizabeth Warren, who he refers to as “Pocahontas” because of her partial Native heritage. We all remember when he referred to Senator Marco Rubio as “little Marco Rubio” or when he called Senator Ted Cruz “lyin Ted Cruz.” During a CNN interview between host Don Lemon and LeBron James, he tweeted: “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” (President Trump bashes, 2018). The tweet came in response to a question that Lemon asked James: if he (James) could sit across from President Trump, what would he say? James answered that he would never want to sit across from President Trump. Instead, he said he would want to sit across from Obama. We suspect that this is what led the President to tweet about Lemon and James and to criticize them as being “dumb.” Social media is a powerful platform that can be used by anyone who wishes to use it. President Trump is the first chief executive to use the platform to “post” about what he’s thinking about. We know this because the daily and nightly news usually report what the President has tweeted on any given day.


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President Trump has used Twitter to respond to other people that he disagrees with, or those who criticize him. He is the first chief executive who has so openly used a social media platform, Twitter to communicate with the Amer­ican people about what he is thinking at any given time. Many read the Presidents daily Twitter feed to keep up on his thinking of the day. While President Trump’s tweets may “delight” his supporters, it is important that his tweets may “distract” his “detractors.” This can happen to the point of viewing his daily tweets as “normal.” It is important that we pay attention to everything the President has to tweet about, but we must consider what is occurring with executive orders, policy, the legislative agenda, as well. Yet as a substantive matter, these staccato statements cannot be ignored. They serve up invaluable insight into the workings of the president’s mind, a rich resource for historians and one that journalists mine in real time – as do Trump’s own aides, who scroll through his account to figure out what he is thinking. Now we can see the President having a Twitter fight with other world leaders. Take, for example, the tweet he sent out about North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un. He called him “obviously a madman,” who “will be tested like never before.” On November 11, 2017, he tweeted: Why would Kim Jong-­un insult me by calling me “old,” when I would NEVER call him “short and fat?” Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend – and maybe someday that will happen! (Ward, 2017) According to President Trump’s Twitter Archive, here are the top 10 topics he tweeted about within a period of 577 days (by number of tweets). • • • • • • • • • •

286 about fake news 53 about CNN 45 about NBC 59 about the New York Times 255 about Fox News or Sean Hannity 250 about Russia 164 about Hillary Clinton 133 about Obama 73 about Obamacare 32 about the NFL. (Trump Twitter Archive, n.d.)

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There has been criticism regarding President Trump’s Twitter use. Most of the criticism focuses on how he uses it to tweet against his own appointees, e.g., Attorney General Jeff Sessions or US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. As President Trump noted to Fox host Maria Bartiromo: “When I put it out, you put it immediately on your show. I mean, the other day, I put something out. Two seconds later, I’m watching your show. It’s up” (Keith, 2017). The top five most retweeted Trump tweets in 2017 were: • • • • •

The wrestling tweet – when President Trump is seen wrestling a man with the CNN logo – posted on July 2. Name-­calling Kim – “little rocket man” – posted on November 11. Covfefe – “despite the negative press covfefe” – posted on May 31, this post was an “internet sensation.” It was never determined what “covfefe” meant. Saudi Arabia – “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing …” posted on June 6. Follow-­up on Covfefe – most likely, the President realized his mistake. He posted this: “Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!” – posted on May 31.

Classroom Practice • • • •

Role-­playing: See “Further Reading” below for classroom practice. Have students draw pictures that depict the treatment of people who don’t look like them on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media sites. Ask students if they have any type of social media account or know someone who does. Ask students if they have learned about the Civil Rights Movement.

Chapter Questions for Discussion 1. Do you think that Amer­icans view social/ethnic standing as two-­tier system of discrimination, i.e. you are either White or mainstream or non-­White and non-­mainstream? 2. Is the US a multi-­tier system where each group or nationality is ranked in order of preference? Discuss or debate this question, both in the historical past or in the present current social context.


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Critical self-­Reflection/Check-­In 1. Choral reading – “Puerto Rican Obituary.” Please discuss how this relates to the ideas of race, culture, and difference. Here is the link: www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/58396/puerto-­rican-obituary (good for middle to upper grades). 2. How are ethnic and racial people in America treated on social media? How does this treatment reflect the current and historical context of race in America in the context of the Civil Rights Movement?

keeping up to date and Further Reading 1. Marshall, E., & Sensoy, O. (2016). Rethinking popular culture and media (2nd ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools. This text has a multitude of hands-­on activities related to difference. See the articles on “Mulan’s Mixed Messages,” “A Barbie-­Doll Pocahontas,” “Sin Fronteras Boy” and “The Murder of Sean Bell.” These are articles written by practitioners about the work they do with their students. 2. www.vox.com/a/police-­shootings-ferguson-­map.

references Archived, W. H. (2015, May 18). President Obama. In the Oval Office. Tweeting. #WelcomeToTwitter, @POTUS!http://t.co/SzWXltjNK0 pic.twitter.com/ce4Durw YXj. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/ObamaWhiteHouse/status/60034904732 9857537. Barbaro, M. (2016, September 16). Donald Trump clung to “birther” lie for years, and still isn’t apologetic. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from www.nytimes. com/2016/09/17/us/politics/donald-­trump-obama-­birther.html. Barshay, initial? (n.d.) Retrieved from www.history.com/topics/immigration/ u-­s-immigration-­before-1965#section_4. The biggest lie in the white supremacist propaganda playbook: unraveling the truth about “black-­on-white crime.” (n.d.). Retrieved from www.splcenter.org/ 20180614/biggest-­lie-white-­supremacist-propaganda-­playbook-unraveling-­truthabout-­%E2%80%98black-white-crime. Bogost, I. (2017, January 6). Obama was too good at social media. Retrieved from www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/01/did-­america-need-­a-social-­ media-president/512405/. Breuninger, K., & Mangan, D. (2018). Trump can’t block Twitter followers, federal judge says. CNBC. Retrieved May 23, 2018, from www.cnbc.com/2018/ 05/23/trump-­cant-block-­twitter-followers-­federal-judge-­says.html. Carney, N. (2016). All lives matter, but so does race. Humanity & Society, 40(2), 180–199. doi:10.1177/0160597616643868.

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Clair, Matthew and Denis, Jeffrey S. (2015). Sociology of racism, edited by James D. Wright. The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 19: 857–863. Eilperin, J. (2015, May 26). Here’s how the first president of the social media age has chosen to connect with Amer­icans. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost. com/news/politics/wp/2015/05/26/heres-­how-the-­first-president-­of-the-­socialmedia-­age-has-­chosen-to-­connect-with-­Amer­icans/?utm_term=.4b1ce1870f10. Federal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reporting (FBI: UCR). (2017, November 3). Table 1: incidents, offenses, victims, and known offenders by bias motivation. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-­crime/2016/ tables/table-­1. Folkenflik, D. (2018, April 7). Analysis: In Trump’s Twitter Feed, A Tale Of Sound and Fury. Retrieved from www.npr.org/2018/04/07/6001/38358/analysis-­intrumps-­twitter-feed-­a-tale-­of-sound-­and-fury. Furfaro, D. (2018, May 4). LIRR commuter shouts racist comments at black women. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2018/05/03/lirr-­commuter-shouts-­ racist-comments-­at-black-­women/. Gay, G. (2018). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Glasser, S. B. (2018, August 14). Dog days: Trump and his toxic Twitter insults of Omarosa. Retrieved from www.newyorker.com/news/our-­columnists/dog-­daystrump-­and-his-­toxic-twitter-­insults-of-­omarosa. Greenberg, J. (2015, November 22). Trump’s Pants on Fire tweet that blacks killed 81% of white homicide victims. Retrieved from www.politifact.com/truth-­ometer/statements/2015/nov/23/donald-­t rump/trump-­t weet-blacks-­w hitehomicide-­victims/. Henderson, M. M. (2018, April 26). A new lynching memorial rewrites Amer­ican history. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/travel/article/lynching-­memorialmontgomery-­alabama/index.html?CNNPolitics=fb. Homans, C. (2018). The post-­campaign campaign of Donald Trump. New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2018, from www.nytimes.com/2018/04/09/magazine/ donald-­trump-rallies-­campaigning-president.html. Kaleem, J. (2017, May 31). “There’s a virus in our country”: The “Trump effect” and rise of hate groups, explained. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from www.latimes.com/nation/la-­n a-southern-­p overty-law-­c enter-05312017-html story.html. Keith, T. (2017, December 20). From ‘Covfefe’ to slamming CNN: Trump’s year in tweets. Retrieved from www.npr.org/2017/12/20/571617079/a-year-of-thetrump-presidency-in-tweets. Kirkos, B., & Ellis, R. (2017, June 17). Thousands protest after Philando Castile shooting verdict; 18 arrested. Retrieved 16 April 16, 2018, from www.cnn. com/2017/06/16/us/philando-­castile-verdict-­protests/index.html. Lavish Diamond Reynolds recorded her boyfriend Philando Castile being shot by police. (2016, July 7). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from www.youtube.com/ watch?v=BKUvRMckJkM. Lim, N. (2016, July 11). Rudy Giuliani: Black Lives Matter “inherently racist.” Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/11/politics/rudy-­giuliani-black-­ lives-matter-­inherently-racist/index.html.


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Lopez, G., & Oh, S. (2015, August 9). Police killings since Ferguson, in one map. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from www.vox.com/a/police-­shootings-ferguson-­map. Lutkin, A. (2016, October 4). An elementary teacher got busted for calling Michelle Obama a gorilla on Facebook. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from www.oxygen. com/very-­real/an-­elementary-teacher-­got-busted-­for-calling-­michelle-obama-­agorilla-­on-facebook.  McPherson, M. (2016, July 7). The Facebook Live video & now trending #PhilandoCastille is a game changer for police relations & social media [Tweet]. Accessed April 19, 2018, from twitter.com/MollyMcPherson/status/751034640920608768.  Miller, J. (2017, January 5). New lenses on the first social media presidency. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2017/01/05/new-­ lenses-first-­social-media-­presidency. Moll, L.C., Amanti, C., Neff, D. & Gonzalez, N. (1992). “Funds of Knowledge for Teaching. Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms.” Theory into Practice, vol. 31, pp. 132–141. Narayan, C. (2016, December 14). Official who called Michelle Obama “ape in heels” gets job back. CNN.com. Accessed from www.cnn.com/2016/12/13/us/ official-­racist-post-­return-trnd/index.html. NPR (2014, March 16). NPR. NPR: Weekend edition Radio. Philando Castile “did not deserve to die”, says Minnesota Senator Al Franken. (2017, June 17). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from www.theguardian.com/us-­ news/2017/jun/17/philando-­castile-protests-­st-paul-­jeronimo-yanez. President Trump bashes LeBron James over recent interview. (2018, August 4). Retrieved from www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/2428012/president-­donald-trump-­ takes-shot-­lebron-james-­tweet. Right Wing Watch Staff. (n.d.). Buchanan, attempting to peg blacks as criminal, cites white supremacist “research.” Retrieved from www.rightwingwatch.org/ post/buchanan-­attempting-to-­peg-blacks-­as-criminal-­cites-white-­supremacistresearch/. Samuels, A. M. (2017, February 9). Social media has become a catalyst for the spread of racism. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from www.nydailynews.com/news/ national/social-­media-catalyst-­spread-racism-­article-1.2967833. Sawchuk, S. (2018, June 20). How is slavery taught in U.S. schools? Not Well, Says Study. Retrieved from www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/02/07/how-isslavery-taught-in-us-schools.html. Scott, E. (2016, July 9). GOP leaders: whites unaware of challenges facing black Amer­icans. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2016/07/08/politics/republican-­ lawmakers-black-­Amer­icans/index.html. Shoichet, C. E. (2016, July 7). Facebook Live video offers new perspective on police shootings. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from www.cnn.com/2016/07/07/us/ facebook-­live-video-­minnesota-police-­shooting/index.html. Shuster, K. (2018, January 31). Teaching hard history. Retrieved from www. splcenter.org/20180131/teaching-­hard-history. Siegel, R. (2018, May 3).Two Black men arrested at Starbucks settle with Philadelphia for $1 each. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com//news/business/ wp/2018/05/02/African-­Amer­ican-men-­arrested at-­starbucks-reach-­1-settlement-­

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with-the-­city-secure-­promise-for 200000-grant program-­for-young-­entrepreneurs/ ?utm_term=90dd82a09fc4. Smith, D. (2018, August 16). The backlash against Black Lives Matter is just more evidence of injustice. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/the-­backlashagainst-­black-lives-­matter-is-­just-more-­evidence-of-­injustice-85587. Spring, J. (2016). Deculturalization and the struggle for equality. Taylor and Francis. Tatum, B. (1997). Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? And other conversations about race. New York: Basic Books. Uberti, David. (2016, July 7). Philando Castile, Facebook Live, and a new chapter for citizen journalism. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from www.cjr.org/analysis/ philando_castile_minnesota_facebook_live.php?utm_content=buffer6c324&utm_ medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer. Verma, A. (n.d.). Importance of the Hashtag in #BlackLivesMatter. Ward, A. (2017, November 12). Trump’s latest tweetstorm called Kim Jong Un “short and fat.” Retrieved from www.vox.com/2017/11/12/16639462/trump-­ kim-north-­korea-russia-­twitter. Washington Post (n.d.). Fatal force: 2018 police shootings database. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/police-­shootings-2018/? noredirect=on&utm_term=.730dd3967cd8. Willingham, A. J. (2017, November 15). Hate crimes rose in 2016 – especially against Muslims and whites. CNN. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2017/11/14/ us/hate-­crimes-muslim-­white-fbi-­trnd/index.html.

Religious Views and the Treatment of Others on Social Media


CHAPTER OVERVIEW If the United States is a Christian country, what does this mean for non-­ Christians, non-­Western religious groups, and non-­religious people? To answer this question, we must first look back at the establishment of the US as a Christian nation with the arrival of the Pilgrims to the “New World,” due to the fact that many of the Pilgrims were Protestant Christians. In Chapter 5, we examine the impact that religion has on shaping an historically Protestant Christian country’s perspectives and policies. The prominent role that religion has played during key moments in modern US history is then looked at, including during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. We compare the historic implications of religion to its current impact on social and political issues in the US, spanning from the 2016 presidential primary election to the present day. We will address religion’s specific impact, not only with respect to various religious and non-­religious groups, but also with respect to other populations, including the LGBTQ community, people of color, immigrants, and women. This includes a review of how these groups are treated on social media. The role and influence of these groups in the social, cultural, and historical fabric of the US are also addressed, with particular focus on the relationship between them and the Evangelical Right. Finally, we consider the implications for practice, and how specific messages are used to promote acceptance.

Vignette: Umar and Dylan – Friends Umar and Dylan have known each other since the third grade. Umar lives at home with his parents and little brother and sister. Umar’s grandparents are originally from Afghanistan, making Umar and his siblings third-­ generation Amer­icans. Dylan and his family are Euro-­Amer­ican. When asked what their background is, Dylan’s mother will often tell people, “We are a mix – all Amer­ican – Heinz 57.” When Dylan’s mom uses the term

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


“mix,” she means that their ancestry is made up of different European roots, which she equates with being “All-­Amer­ican.” Dylan speaks only English at home and he and his family are practicing Evangelical Christians. He lives with his mother and brother. His mother and father have been divorced since Dylan was three. Dylan’s mother remarried last year to a man who attends her Evangelical Christian church. He is conservative, both in his religious and political beliefs. Umar and Dylan have played on the same soccer team for the past four years and are good friends. Umar speaks English and Pashto at home and practices his family religion of Islam. The boys are now in the sixth grade and are meeting new kids from other schools at their new middle school. They have made new friends, but they have also maintained their friendship. Dylan is turning 12 and he is having a sleepover to celebrate. He has invited a group of friends, including Umar. Umar has been at many of Dylan’s sleepovers throughout the years. Dylan and his friends are excited, and they talk about staying up all night and playing a game to see who can stay up the longest. The boys begin to arrive at Dylan’s home at 6:00 p.m. for pizza, games, and staying up. Dylan’s mom and stepfather welcome each boy as they arrive. This is the first time that Dylan’s stepfather is meeting Dylan’s closest friends. He is happy to meet them. He welcomes each one, shaking each boy’s hand. When Umar arrives, he is introduced to Dylan’s stepfather, who tells him where the other boys are. He doesn’t shake Umar’s hand. After Umar leaves the room, he tells Dylan’s mother, “This is going to need to change.” Dylan’s mother looks at him and says, “What needs to change?” He answers, “This friendship. They are different than we are.” Again, Dylan’s mother asks, “What?” He responds, “They are not our kind of people. They aren’t even Christian. They come from a religion that goes against our religion. Everyone needs to stay with people who are like them and have the same religious practice.” He continues, “He needs to be friends with other Amer­icans – Christians.” Dylan’s mother is taken aback, but doesn’t say anything to counter her husband, as she believes he knows best. She tells herself that it’s probably a good idea for them to have other friends, since they are growing up and their differences will become more apparent. The next day, with this in mind, she tells Dylan that it was good to see all the boys at the sleepover. She tells him she looks forward to the next soccer season and going to his new middle-­school events. It turns out that Dylan and Umar don’t have any classes together. Dylan tells his mother that he is sorry he and Umar don’t have classes together, but at least they can still see each other on the weekends and at soccer. At that time, his mother tells him that “This is a good time to make new and different friends with kids who are more like you. Umar has been good friend, but, since you don’t have classes together, maybe this is the time to let old ties go and make new friends. Umar and his family really don’t have anything in common with


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us.” She adds that he should do things with kids from the same religious background. Dylan objects and tells his mother that he and Umar are best friends and they will always be best friends. His mother tells him she understands, but that it’s time to make new friends, and that his stepfather expects him to follow their rules on who he can be friends with. It takes Dylan a few days to let this sink in. The next time Dylan sees Umar at school, Umar calls out to Dylan while switching classes, “Hey Dylan, let’s go to a movie this weekend!” Dylan tells him, “Sorry, can’t go.” For the next couple of weeks, Umar tries to reach out to Dylan, asking him to go to his house. At first, Dylan makes up reasons not to hang out with Umar. Eventually, Dylan stops answering Umar’s texts and phone calls, telling his friend he’s too busy. Umar wonders why Dylan is doing things with their other friends if Dylan is too busy to hang out with him. Umar appears to be noticeably upset over the following weeks. One of his teachers notices this and asks him, “Is there something going on that you would like to talk about, Umar?” He responds that his best friend, Dylan, no longer talks to him or answers any of his text messages or emails. His teacher asks if he can remember when this started to happen. Umar thinks about it over the next few days. When he reflects, he realizes that things started to change after Dylan’s birthday sleepover. Umar shares his realization with his teacher.

Tapping into your Personal Lens 1. What religious groups are most represented in the United States? Which religious group is most often associated with the US? 2. What factors do you think form the basis for Dylan’s stepfather’s belief that Dylan should not have friends of different religions, such as Umar? Do you think that Dylan’s stepfather would feel just as strongly about other different Christian-­based faiths? 3. What steps could have Dylan’s mother taken (if any) to counter the decision made by Dylan’s stepfather? 4. If you were Dylan’s teacher, how would you handle this?

Discussion America is a nation of immigrants with vast and diverse origins. However, some Amer­icans do not identify with, or even know, their specific cultural and religious backgrounds, and simply identify as being “Amer­ican.” Nonetheless, the incredibly wide array of Amer­icans’ ancestral cultures – whether those cultural origins trace back to Indigenous Amer­icans, the Mayflower, or to their parents – means that America is innately made up

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of people with many different religious practices. Despite America’s varied religious background, America remains a country primarily identified as Christian. As a result, the religious practice of individuals who come from non-­Christian backgrounds can be a source of strife for them. Dylan and Umar’s story demonstrates this potential strife, showing that a student’s non-­Christian religion can cause problems for that student. Umar experienced this type of discord firsthand as a result of an adult’s negative opinion of his non-­Christian religion with Middle Eastern origins, Islam. Unfortunately, prejudice against Middle Eastern cultures and the Islamic religion in the US grew following the tragic terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001. These mounting prejudices have impacted virtually every area of society and, sadly, children are no exception. Children are affected by these prejudices as a result of adults imposing their own prejudices onto children and indoctrinating them. This is all too apparent when prejudiced parents do their best to shape their children’s views, oftentimes beginning the process by pointing out the “differences” of another child at the receiving end of the adult’s prejudice. The adult will then use the identified “differences” as the basis for telling the child that they cannot be friends with the other child, which is exactly what Dylan’s stepfather did. This type of religious intolerance is an undeniable reality in the US and, sadly, it is not a new phenomenon. Although the US is considered to be a historically Protestant Christian nation, as established by the religious practices of America’s first immigrants, America was first a nation of indigenous people with many different religious (and spiritual) practices. However, the so-­called discovery and overtaking of the “New World” over the next generations brought about the destruction of Native Amer­ican religious and spiritual traditions and horrific genocide. To this day, the original native people continue to live primarily on reservations, the undesirable lands on the geographical fringes set aside for their living by the US government. Although Umar’s circumstances in the vignette above, and the abhorrent treatment if indigenous people in America are seemingly disparate, religious intolerance is the common thread running through both examples. This shows that religious differences and intolerance to non-­Christian practices can have effects ranging from negatively impacting a student’s daily life to playing a major role in the marginalization and systematic genocide over time of an entire race of people.

Self-­Assessment 1. Can you think of an instance where you became friends with someone from a different religion than yours (assuming you practice a religion)? Please describe.


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

2. Have you ever become friends with someone who practices a religion, and you do not practice any religion in particular? Please describe. 3. What would you do if you were the adult authority figure (e.g., parent, teacher, or friend of the parent) in a situation in which you suspected religious prejudice was an issue involving students?

Historical Context – The Civil Rights Movement The prominent role that religion plays in influencing policy in the United States is not a new phenomenon. Protestantism has not only served as the primary foundation for Amer­ican religious practice, it has also pervaded the Amer­ican political, social and cultural identity since the country’s inception. Protestants comprise the largest group of Christians in the United States and account for about half of the country’s population. The Pew Research Center (Wormald, 2015) reports that, of that 50%, Evangelical Protestants represent 25.4%, mainline Protestants make up 14.7%, and historically Black Protestants represent 6.5% of the US population (Wormald, 2015). The early settlers to the US systematically worked to extinguish the indigenous religious practices of the native people. Additionally, some non-­ Protestant religious groups, such as the Irish Catholics, were the first major immigrant group (1830–1890) that were profoundly discriminated against by the mainstream Protestant population (Klein, 2017). Irish Catholics were discriminated against because they were Roman Catholic and impoverished (fleeing starvation, potato famine). They were viewed by the British Protestant early settlers as inferior – subhuman, even. They would suffer from overt discrimination until at least the 1920s. For example, New York Governor Al Smith lost his bid for the presidency in 1928 due to the fact that the majority of Amer­icans would not vote for a Catholic president (Citation Needed, www.britannica.com/biography/Al-­Smith). It would take another 32 years for America to elect John F. Kennedy (JFK) – the first and, to this day, only Catholic president – in 1960. (His religious status was a significant/considerable issue and shock …) JFK’s presidency coincides with the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement spearheaded by Reverend Martin Luther King, who led a number of non-­violent marches in the Amer­ican South. On April 12, 1963, Dr. King was arrested for breaking an injunction against demonstrations in Birmingham, AL. On that same day, the New York Times published an opinion piece written by eight White clergymen stating that Dr. King and the Birmingham Movement incited civil disturbances. In their opinion piece, the Birmingham clergy argued that resistance to racism should be fought in the courts, and not the streets. They criticized Reverend King for being an “outsider.” Dr. King read the opinion piece and wrote his response,

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


“Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in the margins of the article, addressing and responding to the various Alabama clergy who criticized his use of non-­violent means to resist racism, racists, and racist practices (MLK, n.d.) (also known as the “Letter from Birmingham City Jail” and the “Negro is Your Brother”) noted that all people have a moral responsibility to counter racism in its various forms. In the letter, he called on clergy from across the South to come forward and counter racism through non-­violent means, including the use of the pulpit to preach about the negative impact of racist practices. He responded to the criticism of being an “outsider,” and noted: But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the prophets of the eighth-­century bc left their villages and carried “thus saith the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns, and just as the Apostle Paul left his village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to the far corners of the Greco Roman world, so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid. Dr. King further contended that he was not actually an outsider, as his accusers charged. He explained that different Christian groups banded together to combat racism across the South with the establishment of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), founded on January 10, 1957. The SCLC spearheaded the collective non-­violent efforts of the Southern Black churches to counter the racist narrative prevalent in the United States. The African-­Amer­ican civil rights organization is still actively operating today. King explained: I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.” I have the honor of serving as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization operating in every southern state, with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. We have some eighty-­five affiliated organizations across the South, and one of them is the resources with our affiliates. Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct action program if such were deemed necessary. We readily consented, and when the hour came we lived up to our promise. So, I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here. I am here because I have organizational ties here. Reverend King went on to describe the approach to the non-­violent direct-­ action program with the objective of achieving equality for Black Amer­icans in the Jim Crow South. During this time, Black Amer­icans were


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not allowed to participate in some of the most basic daily practices of society. They were prohibited from sitting at a lunch counter to have a coffee, sitting at the front of a public bus, and drinking from a water faucet designated for “Whites only.” They were not allowed to live in an all-­ White neighborhood. The Black leaders of Birmingham had attempted to change these practices and had approached various business owners to ask them to remove Jim Crow signs decreeing statements like “White only,” but their efforts proved futile. There was no change. King further addressed the clergy’s criticism of his presence and involvement in the non-­violent direct-­action demonstration in Birmingham, explaining: Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and States. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned with what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. Throughout the “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Reverend King responds to the different criticism aimed at the non-­violent movement, including breaking the law (to which he responds by stating that we must obey “just” laws but question “unjust” laws), obeying the laws of segregation, and actively countering racism through sit-­ins, marches, to name a few. He countered the clergy’s objections to his role in leading the resistance movement in Birmingham by pointing to the circumstances that required the establishment of the movement to remedy the injustices: You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes. It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative. Reverend King’s calls for non-­violent resistance to racism, racist practices, and racist laws were at the foundation of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, resulting in a non-­violent collective act of citizen resistance against the oppression of people of color. The movement also served as the catalyst for many other social justice movements: the anti-­Vietnam War resistance, the

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women’s movement, and student and labor-­based movements. The emergence of significant student and labor-­based movements, in particular, included the United Farm Workers movement, the Alcatraz takeover, Black Student Movement, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanos de Atzlán (MECHA), and Students for a Democratic Society.

The Farm workers Movement The role that religion played in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement was echoed in the farm workers’ labor movement in the Southwest, namely California and Arizona. As with the involvement of the various Black southern churches in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, religious leaders in California and Arizona joined forces to bring about social justice for farm workers. They banded together in active participation in peaceful, non-­violent action to support the struggles of the United Farm Workers (UFW) movement. The UFW was led by Cesar Chavez, who was himself a practicing Catholic. The partnership between the UFW and the religious community was discussed in a PBS interview between interviewer Gonzalez (2013) and a Protestant pastor active in the movement, Chris Hartmire. They talk about the strong visual presence of religious imagery and symbolism in UFW marches, which often featured a banner of the Virgin Mary alongside a flag of the United States and the UFW Banner. Chavez himself also integrated religious practices into UFW actions. It is a well-­known fact that Chavez used a spiritual cleansing by fasting prior to marches to “bring attention to the plight of farmworkers” (Gonzalez, 2013). Chavez and the marchers also often took Communion prior to a march, and/or a mass was celebrated prior to the beginning of a march. The director of a ministry for farm workers in the 1960s, and a close confidant of Chavez, Hartmire noted that religious symbolism was key to the UFW cause. Hartmire explained: Because of the power of the church to communicate its message out there and the fact that the church is everywhere. And because of the credibility it gives the movement. The growers say “he’s communist.” People believe a lot of things about the church, but they don’t believe we’re communist, so it helped to defeat that kind of propaganda. (In Gonzalez, 2013) The Catholic University of America (n.d.) notes that the Catholic Church has had a relationship with labor since the 19th century. On their website, they have a series of documents that connect the Catholic Church to Cesar Chavez and the UFW. The National Council of Catholic Bishops was instrumental in supporting legislation for the UFW. Monsignor George


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Higgins worked hand in hand with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in negotiating contracts between growers and laborers in California. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops was involved in the very high-­profile California labor dispute of 1970. The Catholic University of America offers a set of six documents from the collections of Monsignor Higgins and the ad hoc committee. The collection consists of critical events and ideas in the farm workers’ labor movement between 1965 and 1973: https://cuomeka.wrlc.org/exhibits/show/the-­ufwand-­the-catholic-­churc/background/background2.

Evangelical Protestantism and other Religions The Evangelical Right started to actively engage in politics as a response to the counter-­culture movement of the 1960s. This group adheres to the teachings of fundamental Protestantism and believe that, in order to be “born again,” followers must adhere to the teachings of the Bible, and view the Bible as the authority on how they live. These beliefs have had a strong impact on the varied political ideology prevalent in the United States. The role of conservative Evangelicals in the Republican Party became increasingly evident with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1981. Founded in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell, the Evangelical Christian movement helped to garner conservative Christians as a political force and influenced various policies that continue to define today’s conservative right/Evangelical agenda: e.g., right to life, anti-­abortion, school prayer, a focus on family values, the right to bear arms, opposition to homosexuality and LGBTQ issues, and opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment. The involvement of the moral majority not only occurred at the federal level, but also at the state level. Local involvement included lending support for their candidates, and targeting members of the congregation to register to vote and support their candidates. They also utilized rallies, telephone hotlines, and religious television broadcasts to garner additional support. With the help of these tactics, they were able to raise large amounts of money from the congregants in order to support their political candidates and pursue specific policies and legislation. Fitzgerald (2017) notes that the involvement of Evangelicals in the conversion of Muslims before and after the 9/11 attacks has gone largely under-­reported. Fitzgerald reports that Evangelical Christians had a “comprehensive plan” to convert Muslims prior to the 9/11 attack. The Southern Baptist Convention was particularly interested in creating missions for conversion in Iraq. The International Bible Society had sent representatives to Iraq by April 2003, following the beginning of the US invasion in mid-­March 2003: “The International Mission Board of the

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SBC “announced that eight hundred missionaries had volunteered to distribute food and shelter and to help Iraqis have true freedom in Jesus Christ” (Fitzgerald, 2017).  The role of Evangelical Christians in present-­day US politics is relevant to the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency in November 2016: “Last November, for example, white Evangelical/born-­again voters gave Donald Trump 81% of the vote. Exit polling after the 2004 election showed that ‘moral values’ were highest priority for a plurality of voters, most of whom voted for Bush” (Fitzgerald, 2017). Fitzgerald notes that Democrats rarely pay sufficient attention to the influence of Evangelicals in the Amer­ican political system, and suggests that non-­Evangelicals fail to see the role of ongoing (true or not) messaging to their followers that Christianity is at risk of being lost in the United States. That is, Evangelicals use the notion that true believers are going to be oppressed and are in constant danger of being overtaken by ungodly, free-­thinking liberals who are not bound to the teachings of the Bible. The opposing non-­Evangelical progressives, sometimes termed the “radical left,” see the potential and real harm that Evangelical policies and religious beliefs present to the “non-­ believers.” Although one of the foundations of the country is the separation of Church and State, it would be naive to think that the two do not co-­mingle. The religious/conservative Evangelical Right presents a serious danger to many Amer­icans that do not share their particular brand of faith-­based political views. For many, it is viewed as a Christian religious movement that promotes reactionary theology that focuses on the assault on women, promotes racism, and Trumpism, etc. The theology of the extreme Evangelical Christian right is in direct opposition to the notion that all men and women are created equally and are to be treated as equals in the United States, regardless of religious or non-­religious background, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. In fact, many of these issues directly relate to specific rights currently in danger of being encroached upon. Gender issues are especially contentious regarding the overall control that women have over their own bodies, including their right to make their own decisions about birth control without interference from the government. The rights of the LGBTQ community at large, as well as the legal right to same-­sex marriage, are also at stake. Religious freedom for non-­ Evangelicals is also threatened when Evangelical Christianity dictates political policies. Access to equal treatment for people of color is another vital area that is put at risk. The influence of the Evangelical Right also impacts millions of Amer­icans in the context of public schooling when it comes to the issue of imposing a single religious practice on an education designed for all. The historical separation of Church and State that America was founded on is at the forefront of current politics and legislation. The recent nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United


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States (SCOTUS) brings up the issue of whether or not school prayer will once again be argued at the Supreme Court, as Kavanaugh is a supporter of school prayer. Walsh (2018) notes that Kavanaugh “has argued for allowing students to lead prayers at high school events and supported the inclusion of religious schools in voucher programs.” During the early 2000s, the Westboro Baptist Church made it to the national news when it started to hold demonstrations at the various burials of veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan war. They appeared holding signs against homosexuality in an effort to bring their stance against the LGBTQ community to the forefront of the Amer­ican political, social, and cultural landscape. Why they chose to demonstrate against the LGBTQ community at the burials of deceased service members is questionable at best. On the home page of the Westboro Baptist Church, the following is written: “God Hates Fags” and continues with “all proud sinners” (Psalms 5:5) (Refuge of the righteous, n.d.). Their website has information regarding their picket schedule, sermons, and other types of information. The church uses inflammatory speech hate speech against LGBTQ people. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center: “Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is arguably the most obnoxious and rabid hate group in America.” According to the WBC: “Filthy sodomites crave legitimacy as dogs eating their own vomit & sows wallowing in their own feces crave unconditional love” (Westboro Baptist Church, n.d.). The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the WBC as a hate group. WBC describes the events of 911 as “divine retribution,” and “punishment for America’s horrendous sins [of homosexuality].” The WBC began its “picketing ministry” in 1991. At their various protests, they hold up signs like “God hates fags,” “God hates Jews,” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” No other church in the United States has taken such an outspoken, hate-­filled stance toward the LGBTQ community. 

Evangelicals and the 2016 Presidential Election The White Evangelical Right voted for Donald Trump overwhelmingly in the 2016 presidential election, at 81%. Support for Trump is at an all-­time high (Burton, 2018), with 81% of Evangelical men showing support and having a favorable view of the President. Given the fact that Trump is not a Christian Evangelical, some question how this particular religious group shows such great support, despite some of his very public behavior that goes against moral teachings of the Evangelical Right. For instance, Trump has had three wives and has been unfaithful to all of them. Perhaps an even more significant example was revealed during the primary election cycle. As the bus that he was on approached the TV studio, Trump was overheard on an Access Hollywood tape describing what he would like to

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do to a woman presenter on the show. He made lewd remarks about the woman and stated that you could do anything, including “grabbing them by the pussy,” when you are a star (Leonnig et al., 2018). Some believed that this would dissuade Evangelical Christian voters from supporting Trump. The opposite proved true. In fact, the Evangelical right voted overwhelmingly for Trump. One possible explanation for their continued support could be one of the core teachings of Evangelical Right Christians, which vigorously encourages the “forgiveness” of the sinner, or the idea to hate the sin but love the sinner. Notably, the White Catholic vote was much more evenly split than the Evangelical Right, with 52% casting their votes for Trump and 45% voting for Clinton. The majority of Hispanic Catholics shifted the vote further: 67% voted for Clinton and 26% voted for Trump (Beres, 2016). The number of Latino Catholics who voted for Clinton can be understood, as the Trump campaign (and now presidency) has cast a negative view toward Latino immigrants – both legal and undocumented. The religious Protestant right and White Catholics supported a candidate that holds an ideology that goes against one of the most basic teachings of Christianity – e.g., do unto others as you would have them do unto you – with respect to his attitude and treatment of non-­White immigrants. However, the same people who overlook this “Golden Rule” of Christianity often use the religious tenet mentioned previously, which calls for forgiveness and the “redemption of the sinner” to defend their continued support of Trump. Most recently, the world has witnessed the Trump administration separate children as young as one year old from their immigrant parents who come from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua), oftentimes seeking asylum. During the month of April 2018, the Trump administration initiated a zero-­tolerance program aimed at refugee asylum seekers trying to enter the US. They were told that they would be separated from their children and placed in a sort of immigrant detention center. One may ask how Christians can support an ideology that runs counter to Christian doctrine. Beres (2016) explains it this way: It is surprising, from a doctrinal perspective, that political affiliation overrules spiritual belief. This forces us to confront a starker reality: religion is fluid and conforms to the tribe, which is opposite of how religion is usually advertised, as a pre-­existing condition. If that were truly the case, Evangelicals, Protestants, Mormons, and Catholics would have never voted for the most uncharitable candidate in modern times. Voters might claim religious affiliation, but in an election like this the numbers paint an entirely opposite picture.


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

Treatment of Immigrants and Religion The “Make America Great Again” – or “MAGA” – slogan has much to do with the ideology of religion, as it relates to treating others as you would like to be treated. The “do unto others” verse from Matthew 7:12 comes directly from the Bible, and is at the core foundation of Christianity. Is it possible to reconcile the dogma of Christianity with the practice and legislative agenda of the Trump administration? What of the treatment of infants and children being separated from their parents at the border? As of July 2018, the office of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that at least 3,000 children have been separated from their parent (Bump, 2018). At one point, the HHS estimated that at least 1,000 children, mainly infants and toddlers, were being held in a detention center. Some toddlers as young as one year old were sent to appear before a judge, mostly without legal representation. The political cartoons of infants appearing as criminal defendants in front of a judge hit social media and continue to trend as of this writing. Why do self-­ described Christians support the anti-­immigrant ideology, and why does the religious right embrace it? One explanation was offered by the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Bort, 2018), when she responded to a question posed by CNN reporter Jim Acosta: “On the children who are being separated from their families as they come across the border, the attorney general earlier today said there is justification for this in the Bible …” CNN’s Jim Acosta responded: “Where does it say in the Bible that it’s moral to take children away from their mothers?” Sanders said she wasn’t familiar with the comments made by Attorney General Sessions, before countering that “it is very Biblical to enforce the law.” She went on to blame Democrats for refusing to close the “legal loopholes” that enabled the administration’s new policy of enforcement. When asked about the zero-­tolerance policy toward asylum seekers from Central America and the detention of thousands of children (separated from their parents) and their parents, Donald Trump answered (Bump, 2018): “Well,” he replied, “I have a solution: Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do – come legally.” “Is that what you’re saying?” a member of the media asked in response. “You’re punishing the children?” “I’m saying this: We have laws. We have borders … Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing.” A bit later, he added: “Without borders, you do not have a country.”

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


The treatment of asylum seekers from Central America became one of the hottest topics on social media. The topic has garnered attention from various groups, including political parties, religious groups, anti-­immigrant groups, and individuals taking to social media to post about the issue. Immigrant rights, the incarceration of infants, young children and older children and their parents have been at the forefront of the US and global social media dialogue during the summer of 2018. The zero-­tolerance ideology of the Trump administration has arguably given rise to increased anti-­ immigrant ideology and behaviors aimed at Latinos – both legal and undocumented. There are many examples of anti-­Latino sentiment that have made it to social media that appear to go beyond immigration and appear to be based on racial and ethnic intolerance including the following statement from the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions: Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite to you the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful. (Scott, 2018) In an article titled “What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees,” Carey (2015) writes about current immigration as being “politically polarizing.” The author notes that the issue of asylum seekers from Central America and the President’s zero-­tolerance stance have also divided religious groups and people. Carey cites 12 Bible verses that “discuss how Christians should treat immigrants, refugees and those in need of help.” Some of the verses include: love refugees as yourself; leave food for the poor and the foreigner; God loves the foreigner residing among you; do not oppress a foreigner; and the all-­time favorite, “love your neighbor as yourself.” The article goes on to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan in which “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.” The parable goes on to say that a priest walked around the man and then another man did the same. Neither man helped the man who had been beaten and robbed. However, a Samaritan came and helped the man. “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.” The Good Samaritan gave money to the innkeeper to take care of the man until he (the Good Samaritan) returned. Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The answer was clear – “the one who had mercy on him” – at which Jesus replied. “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:29–37).


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

At the end of the Carey (2015) article, which appeared on social media, there were many comments. Here are a sample of the comments, which should give you an idea of how people distinguish between religious beliefs and the treatment of strangers, asylum seekers, migrants, and people in need. Notably, one of the first comments addressed Sharia law: Yes this is so, but when the refugee comes to harm those that give them welcome, ie; Islam sharia law than only a fool abides by this. When the word was written these people’s were not present, nor their barbaric beliefs. Bless those who come in peace with clean hearts, and rebuck those who hate our Christian ways of life, and come to destroy our people. This post was met with 11 responses. Here are a couple: “I have never seen a terrorist here that was actually a refugee in this country” and “So I reckon its ok to make up what the Bible says as you go along [sic].” Another post reacted to the Christian “right” posts: “You will be judged by every word that comes out of your mouth. Sorry the bible doesn’t support this countrys hate [sic].” Others posted about the questionable mismatch between the treatment of immigrants and the teachings of the Bible:  Your beliefs of who immigrants and refugees are do not match reality. They are simply things you have been told and choose to believe. You are far more likely to be harmed by a White male than a Muslim, and Muslim terrorists are not out attacking people in this country. It is simply not true. Refugees are fleeing some of the most horrendous bombings and crimes against humanity that we have ever seen, and the US destabilized the middle east by invading Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Finally, another Christian responded with a defense of the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers: If you are a Christian, read Luke 11:21 and Romans 13:1–7. A strong man protects his house. And, immigration is the preview of the Federal Government. Christians are supposed to be law abiding. Some foreigerner want apiece of America (they don’t want to be Amer­icans) Some want to do us harm. They want to bring in narcotics, make you speak Swahili before you’re hired! We’ve become Balkanized! This is ridiculous! Let the people you voted for solve this. In the meantime, you as a Christian don’t be a hypocrite – abide by the law [sic]. There were several responses to this post. One of the posts tries to clarify how one’s understanding of the law of God vs. the law of man is misguided:

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


Yes, we should ABIDE mans laws, but mans laws are flawed and unjust at times. Gods laws are perfect and should be abided by first and formost. Christ didn’t mean follow mans laws blindly! Use good and just judgements. Love your neighbor without assumptions & human judgements. By the way, you say “let the people we vote for solve this” VOTING is not the end of our involvement. That’s the problem with modern day thinking. Narrow mindedness brings hypocrisy. Abide by the laws of our LORD first! Peace [sic]. There were a number of other anti-­Muslim posts in response to the article (Carey, 2015): I agree with every passage and can’t find anything in any of that which could be construed as “move another nation of people into your nation and turn your nation into Babylon.” The bible leads me to desire to help these people set a boundary around their nation and help them protect and feed themselves and their families. To use wisdom helping their families instead of foolishly thinking we must sacrifice our people to help theirs. Importing Islam is importing war and death. One interesting aspect of this specific series of posts has to do with one of the commenters noting that the article is written from a liberal viewpoint offered in the article: you need to be spreading the gospel and quit promoting your liberal view points you sound more like CNN you just stick to spread the gospel most Amer­icans knows what’s best for the country we don’t need you dictating your political viewpoint. One response to this comment above noted that “I love how you called this article – which is 90% just quotes from scripture – ‘promoting liberal view-­points,” and yet another stated, “lol didn’t know a string of bible verse could be considered ‘liberal view points’; “Sorry the bible doesn’t say that you want it to – must suck.” The comments after the Carey article on what the Bible says about how immigrants should be treated are well-­rounded and include comments on why the Bible says that we must help others in need (including immigrants, asylum seekers, etc.) and those who argue that the Bible says we need to keep our boundaries and borders safe and not allow other people (who are different) into our country. This is but a small sampling of how such “conversations” occur on social media, and they happen every day at all times of the day.


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

Religion in America – Context The United States has gone through a number of revolutionary changes in terms of how its population interacts with Religious institutions. In a 2018 study by the Pew Research Center on religion and public life, titled The Age Gap in Religion Around the World, researchers found that Amer­icans have begun to shift their religious institutional affiliation from mainstream Protestant denominations, i.e., Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, etc., to a category called “spiritual non-­affiliated,” which now has more believers then any mainstream Protestant denomination. The Roman Catholic Church now has a Latino majority. The growth area for Protestant denominations have shifted to the Evangelical Church. Mainstream churches, including the Roman Catholic Church, have made major theological and social shifts in reaching out to the LGBTQ community. Some local parishes have formed groups for previously under-­ represented people, e.g., LGBTQ, divorced, single parent, to name a few. One denomination, the Episcopal Church, has ordained gay men and women as priests. This has caused major conflicts within that denomination, with many Episcopalians either leaving the church or moving to branches that continue to practice a more traditional social norm. Although the Catholic Church has not made any theological changes to its core beliefs, the pronouncement by Pope Francis (Gallagher & Burke, 2016; Winfield, 2018) to focus on acceptance of fellow Catholics regardless of their sexual orientation has made the Catholic Church more open to the LGBTQ community. In contrast, the Evangelical Church has become more antagonistic toward the LGBTQ community. It also moved to become the primary supporter of the anti-­choice movement. It is evident that, as mainstream denominations become more open and liberal to the LGBTQ and non-­White communities, they are losing mainstream White Amer­icans, while Evangelicals are growing, incorporating both mainstream White Amer­icans and people of color. A central question for Amer­ican society and its social policies – now that a large number of Amer­icans identify as agnostic, atheist, or spiritualist – is: what kind of treatment can these Amer­icans expect by institutions which traditionally were aligned to mainstream Protestantism? Can a nation so invested in the Judeo-­Christian tradition provide equal treatment to non-­Judeo-Christian believers, which includes Buddhist, Hindus, and Muslims? The role of religion in the United States is a very complicated issue. Protestant Christianity has been a powerful foundation of the republic. It was the history of hostility between various Protestant denominations that garnered support for the constitutional amendment that stated that “Government shall not establish a national religion,” which was established to make sure that no one Protestant denomination would be promoted over another. As the religious composition of America became

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


diverse, Catholicism and Judaism went from being marginal religious institutions to being completing accepted in the Amer­ican mainstream. The United States therefore developed a type of secular Christianity in its institutions, i.e., Sunday as a non-­work day, Bible study, moment of silence and prayers in school and sporting events, as well as legal codes enacted to deny LGBTQ rights, and the general suppression of libertine activities, i.e., alcohol restriction, anti-­drugs, sexual restrictions. Most of the secular religious practices have either been eliminated or toned down in the last few years by court action or administrative action. Evangelicals, more than any other religious group, fear that America is on the road to a completely secularized nation and are, therefore, applying political pressure on local, state, and national elected officials to all issues they feel that are considered objectionable to their form of Christianity. It is said that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. Non-­ White Amer­icans have usually gathered for religious services in churches where they have had a historic presence. There have always been African­Amer­ican Episcopal-, Methodist-, and Baptist-­focused churches. Latinos have traditionally been overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and Asian Amer­icans have established their own churches. Even though many non-­ Whites have migrated to mainstream congregations, the majority of non-­ Whites continue to participate and worship in their own church as grouped by the language of the church service, e.g., Spanish Mass, Korean or Chinese services. In the case of the Catholic Church, Latinos now outnumber White Catholics. This has profoundly impacted the Church. With the Vatican II reforms of 1968, Catholic mass changed from being delivered in “Latin,” the official language of the Church, to whatever language the congregation used. This meant that the Catholic Church would use English in the United States. As more Latinos joined more Catholic congregations, more masses were conducted in Spanish and in some cases more Spanish masses than English masses. The leadership of the Catholic Church has also made major changes in its social events, i.e., classes for marriage and baptism, social services, and religious festivals. Today, the Catholic Church is a major supporter of immigrant rights and understands the need to articulate the needs and concerns of the Latina/o community. One reason for this support of Latina/o issues is that Latina/os like many other Amer­icans and Latinos in Latin America are abandoning the Catholic Church for Evangelical churches. They are joining other Amer­icans in these churches, which vary widely in theology, practice, and organization. They include tent revivals, mega-­churches, and strip mall set-­ups. What they have in common is the profound desire to evangelize new members. They encourage participants to accept Jesus as their personal savior. They also encourage their congregants to be cautious of the non-­evangelical world and stand up to end abortion, eliminate LGBTQ rights, and be fearful of Muslims. As more


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

non-­Whites move to the Evangelical churches, the Evangelical community has been profoundly silent on social issues – in the case of the Latino community, immigration issues. It seems that the Evangelical movement will recruit Latinos into their church but do nothing to promote their causes. In fact, the Evangelical Right often uses the “rule of law” to legitimize the oppression of immigrant rights and those of the disenfranchised.

The Christian Evangelical Right and the Religious Disconnect One religious group that professes to believe in the teachings of Christianity and mixes their politics with beliefs often referred to as the “Christian Right” or “Evangelical Right” demonstrates a disconnect between their professed religious teachings of Christianity and the application of those beliefs on others. In recent years, we have witnessed how the Christian Right/Evangelicals use their religious beliefs as a way of imposing their actions toward under-­represented and disenfranchised people. In the case of people of color who are immigrants, a large proportion of the Christian Right supports the treatment of undocumented Latina/o immigrants, which includes the imprisonment of families seeking asylum from Central America. Children are separated from their parents and put into detention centers until they can appear before a judge: “As a matter of policy, the US government is separating families who seek asylum in the US by crossing the border illegally,” and “There are some cases in which immigrant families are being separated after coming to ports of entry and presenting themselves for asylum – thus following US law” (Lind, 2018). With the 2016 election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, it appears that the Evangelical Right has solidified its presence and impact on the Amer­ican political system. The proliferation of the religious Right has also seen an upswing in the number of people who have disassociated with a religious group. Jacobs (2018) notes: “Religion in America has been rocked in recent decades by two societal shifts: the rise of Christian evangelicals as a right-­wing political force, and the increasing number of people who decline to affiliate with any faith tradition.” The recent Pew Report on religion (2018) shows that increased numbers of younger people choose not to affiliate with a religion: In the United States, religious congregations have been graying for decades, and young adults are now much less religious than their elders. Recent surveys have found that younger adults are far less likely than older generations to identify with a religion, believe in God or engage in a variety of religious practices.

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


Another report notes that, with the political influence currently enjoyed by the religious Right, a growing number of young people are beginning to disassociate with religion. Instead, they are starting to identify as agnostic, atheist, or no religious affiliation: “New research presents evidence that these trends, usually discussed separately, are in fact related. It reports the rate at which people disassociate themselves from religion is higher in states where the Christian right exerts its political muscle” (Jacobs, 2018). One can read articles and blogs posted on social media, like Twitter and Facebook, where it is argued that the imprisonment and detention of immigrants seeking asylum, and a better life for their families and work, are related to the “rule of law” in that “they” are here illegally and need to be sent back to wherever they came from. As young children are separated from their parents and put into holding cells (Lind, 2018), we see the Evangelical Right defending this practice. On a recent Facebook Live post (June 13, 2018), a group of lawmakers demonstrated in front of the US Customs and Border Protection headquarters to express their dissatisfaction with the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrant children, some infants, toddlers, from their parents. This was a big story in the US. Here is a sample: “These are terrible times we live in today. I would have never guessed in a million years that this country would be reduced to what it has become in one year.” Some replies to this comment include: “the cost of humanity? It’s funny but the same people who whine and cry about children being torn from their parents couldn’t give two flips about the MILLIONS of unborn babies aborted every year in this country.” Another response: “Don’t change the laws … ENFORCE THEM!!! AMERICA FIRST!!!” Another comment read: “What the hell do we stand for????? Are we Christian? If so, where is our Christianity??? Where is our compassion? What is this? 1940’s Germany????” One response read: “One needn’t be a Christian to display compassion for others! Just be kind and think of someone beside yourself.” Another noted: “It is one thing to be a Christian. It is another thing to allow all these people to come into our country and live off the taxpayer’s dime. This is the main reason the US citizens are have such a hard time trying to make it each month. We are paying for people who refuse to get a job and pay their own way in life.” Finally, “sadly enough those in power claim they are Christians. Even if one is not religious, this behavior does not represent Christianity.” This argument presents a disconnect from the basic Christian belief, known as the “Golden Rule.” One of the major tenants of Christianity is drawn from Matthew 7:12: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” Similarly, according to the “Golden Rule,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is seen as a way of conducting oneself ethically and draws from Matthew 7:12. If we take the “Golden Rule” at face value, religious belief and the treatment of immigrants are at odds.


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

Using Religion to Disenfranchise and Oppress People and Other Communities in the 2000s LGBTQ In the case of the LGBTQ community, the religious Right will often use the argument of religion to argue against things like, same-­sex marriage. Recently, religious beliefs regarding the LGBTQ community have been used to help business owners decline to sell their goods or services to same-­ sex couples. In a recent court case, a same-­sex couple went to the Masterpiece Cakeshop (in July 2012) to ask for a wedding cake to be made. David Mullins and Charlie Craig went with Charlie’s mother to order a cake for the upcoming wedding reception. The owner, Jack Phillips, said that the bakery wouldn’t sell a wedding cake to the couple, due to his religious beliefs. Although Colorado has a state law that prohibits public places like businesses open to the public from refusing service based on race, religion, or sexual orientation, Mullins and Craig were still denied service. Mullins and Craig filed a complaint with the Colorado Office of Civil Rights and contended that Masterpiece Cakeshop had violated their civil rights – mainly that the bakery violated Colorado’s Anti-­ Discrimination Act. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission found that the bakery had illegally discriminated against the couple, violating their civil rights. The Commission’s order was unanimously affirmed on August 13, 2015 by the Colorado Court of Appeals and found that the bakery discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation and was in violation of state law: The court also concluded that application of Colorado’s Anti-­ Discrimination Act did not infringe the bakery’s freedom of speech or free exercise of religion. The Colorado Supreme Court denied review, and the United States Supreme Court granted Certiorari on June 26, 2017. (Amer­ican Civil Liberties Union, updated June 4, 2018) [Note: Certiorari refers to a writ (or order) by which a higher court reviews a decision of a lower court; Wex Legal Dictionary.] On June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) determined that Jack Phillips, who declined to bake a wedding cake for a same-­sex couple, had been denied his religious rights – he had been denied his civil rights, by not adhering to his religious beliefs; in other words, he had been discriminated against and denied his civil rights because of his religion:

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


The Supreme Court justices’ limited ruling Monday turns on what the court described as anti-­religious bias on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission when it ruled against baker Jack Phillips. They voted 7–2 that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission violated Phillips’ rights under the First Amendment. The SCOTUS did not rule against the same-­sex couple and did not rule whether they had been denied (or not) their civil rights. The rationale used by the SCOTUS was pertinent only to this case and doesn’t set a precedent that broadly allows anti-­LGBTQ discrimination (Lopez, 2018). According to Chief Justice Kennedy: “The first [issue] is the authority of a state … to protect the rights and dignity of gay persons who are, or wish to be, married.” The second is “the right of all persons to exercise fundamental freedoms under the First Amendment.” Because Jack Philips “claimed the commission’s order violated his rights of free speech and free exercise; Kennedy found him half right.” In other words, according to Epps (2018), the opinion was written entirely in terms of “free exercise” of religion. Craig and Mullins say the fight is not over. They say that they will continue to work toward equality for the LGBTQ community through the Equality Act. This proposed act would add anti-­discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equality Act would not only amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but also amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Jury Selection and Service Act, to place added protections for the LGBTQ community (Oser & Lang, 2018).

Muslims According to the Pew Research Center, Mohamed (2018) shares new estimates of the US Muslim population which has continued to increase. Because the US government does not ask for religious affiliation on the Census, the numbers are estimates. Pew Research Center estimates that about 3.45 million Muslims (of all ages) lived in the United States in 2017. This represents about 1.1% of the total US population. In 2007, there were an estimated 2.5 million Muslims living in the US, and in 2011 there were 2.75 million. Accordingly: At the same time, our projections suggest that the U.S. Muslim population will grow much faster than the country’s Jewish population. By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-­largest religious group after Christians. And by 2050, the U.S. Muslim population is projected to reach 8.1 million, or 2.1% of the nation’s total population – nearly twice the share of today. (Mohamed, 2018)


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

Muslims came to America more than 400 years ago (Interfaith Alliance Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center, Teaching Tolerance, 2012). The first Muslims came as Africans, enslaved and brought to the Amer­ican colonies. Some also came from Spain and Portugal to the Spanish colonies. Many of the first Muslims practiced their religion in secret, as slaves were not allowed to carry on their traditions, including religion. Some of the early Muslims were involved in the anti-­ slavery, Abolitionist movement. The second wave of Muslims who immigrated to the United States started in the mid-­19th century. Most were Arabs who came from Lebanon and Greater Syria. It should be noted that most of the Arabs who came were Christian, but there were some Muslims. There is also a sizable number of African Amer­ican Muslims. The African Amer­ican Muslim population grew after the First and Second World Wars. Now, African Amer­ican Muslims make up about a third of the Amer­ican Muslim population. The Amer­ican Muslim community is diverse and consists of a mix of one-­third African Amer­ican, one-­third of South Asian descent, and one-­ quarter of Asian descent. Notably, there is an increasing number of Latinos who are converting to Islam. White Evangelicals express concern about Amer­ican Muslims, with two­thirds believing that Islam is not a part of mainstream Amer­ican society and that “it encourages violence more than other faiths” (Shellnutt, Casper, et al., 2017). The difference between Evangelical Christianity and Islam, in the view of a few Amer­icans, can be attributed to the belief that America is a Christian nation. This is not surprising (as explained earlier in this chapter), in that the first European immigrants to the “New World” were Protestant. The majority of Muslims believe that other Amer­icans do not see them as part of the mainstream (at 62%), with others also saying they were worried about the impact of President Trump (at 68%). Amer­ican Muslims are concerned about Trump’s immigration policy, which has targeted certain Muslim countries, including Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia (BBC News, 2017). It should be noted that the Evangelical Christian Right largely approves of the travel ban, as they believe their religion is counter to the teachings of Christianity. Unfortunately, a large number of the Evangelical Right believe that there is a “fair amount” of extremism amongst US Muslims. In comparison, Amer­ican Muslims are also concerned about extremism within Islam in the US (71%). Half of Amer­ican Muslims state that they have experienced discrimination (Shellnutt, Casper, et al., 2017). Most White Evangelicals do not believe that Muslims belong in America and think Muslims’ beliefs are not only contrary to Evangelical Christianity, but they they are also unable to assimilate into the Amer­ican mainstream (assimilation suggests the ability to “fit in” with language, culture, religion). According to a recent poll, “75% of white evangelicals, 66

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


percent of white mainline Protestants, and 63 percent of white Catholics said they saw Islamic and Amer­ican values in conflict” (Shellnutt et al., 2017). There are some interesting statistics that show that Republican, White Evangelicals with less education demonstrate the most reservations about Muslims. Of all US adults ages 18–29, 27% believe that Islam encourages violence more than other faiths; of all US adults with high school education or less, 42% hold this belief; 35% of college graduates believe that Islam encourages violence (more than other faiths). Of older Amer­icans (all US adults ages 65 and over), 50% believe that the religion of Islam encourages more violence than other faiths. White Evangelicals make up 63% (of all White Evangelicals) who believe that Islam is a more violent faith). In a survey completed by the Pew Research Center in 2017, Trump’s refugee policy was approved of by 76% of White Evangelicals, “to stop refugees and to prevent people from seven majority-­Muslim countries from entering the U.S.” (Pew 2017). Of White mainline Protestants, 50% approved; Black Protestants, 10%, White Catholics, 50%, Hispanic and other minority Catholics, 14%; and unaffiliated, 24%. Figures for those who disapproved of Trump’s Muslim travel ban were: White Evangelicals, 22%; White mainline, 47%; White Catholic, 49%; Hispanic and other minorities, 81%; and unaffiliated, 74%. (Pew, 2017) According to Michael Urton, associate director of the Coalition of Ministries to Muslims in North America (COMMA Network), “A lot of that is because people do not know Muslims. They do not know what Muslims believe, and they feel overwhelmed. It creates this paralysis” (Shellnutt, Zylstra, et al., 2017). Some Christian ministers consider it a welcome opportunity to reach out and get to know their Muslim neighbors. In response to Trump’s Muslim ban, a group of prominent pastors signed a letter, along with “500 evangelical figures opposing Trump’s refugee ban, not just for the sake of persecuted Christians but also to assist ‘vulnerable’ Muslims.” So some Evangelical Christians would like to reach out to the Muslim community.

African Amer­icans Amer­icans have often rejected the right of fellow Amer­icans to worship where and how they want. But, there has been a history of profound hostility toward African Amer­ican churches. Although during slavery African Amer­icans were expected to practice whatever form of Christianity their owners followed, they were not allowed to have their own churches in the south until after the Civil War. At that time, the African Amer­ican church became one of the only institutions that African Amer­icans controlled, unlike schools, universities, organizations, businesses, etc. When the Civil Rights Movement developed it was led, organized, and supported by the Black churches (as noted here and previously), such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

Because of their role during the Civil Rights Movement, Black churches were often targets of violence, and numerous churches were firebombed during this period. In the view of racist White Amer­icans who attacked Black churches, it was the one institution they could not control. The most heinous bombing was the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, in which four young girls were killed: Addie May Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson (all 14), and Denise McNair (age 11). It should be noted that the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was the third in 11 days, after a federal court had mandated integration of the Alabama school system. The attack was racially motivated, as the church was predominantly Black and also served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders, and had regularly received death and bomb threats. On the morning of September 15, 1963, at least 200 church congregants were in the building, and Sunday school classes were in session. The bomb detonated from the east side of the church; parts of the church destroyed. There had been many bombings of Black churches before 1963, but no one had ever been killed before. It was this bombing that showed the rest of nation what African Amer­icans had had to endure in the segregated South, and it was just too much for most Amer­icans, who then began to support civil rights for African Amer­icans.

Classroom Practice What should the educational institution do to address religious societal change? First, educational institutions should promote respect of all religions, whether or not they are Christian. No one should be forced to engage in an activity against their religious beliefs, but on the same note no one has a right to discriminate or violate the religious beliefs of any other person. When we first taught – beginning in the mid 1970s for Lillian – we still sang Christmas carols during December (in public school!) and we had Christmas pageants and performances. This started to change (as it should have) in the early 1980s. We must remember the separation of Church and State, but we must also accommodate and honor each child that comes into our classroom, whether or not they attend church, mosque, temple, or cathedral every Sunday (or Saturday), sometimes, or never. We understand that some students come from homes that are non-­religious, unaffiliated, agnostic, or atheist.

Mario’s Reflection on Teaching I was a teacher in a middle school ESL class made up of mostly Latino students. I had one male student from Pakistan. He was well behaved and an applied student. One day I told the class that because they had worked so

Religious Views and Treatment of Others


hard on an assignment the class would have a pizza party! I ordered six pizzas, one cheese and the others with various items, e.g., sausage, pepperoni, etc. During the pizza party, the student asked to be excused to go to lunch line to buy some food. I asked, “Why do want to go to the lunch line, we have all this pizza here?” He stated that the other kids had eaten all the cheese pizza and there was only the other pizzas left and because of his Muslim beliefs could not eat pork. I felt so bad that I did not take into account his religious beliefs that I called the pizza place and ordered one more cheese pizza and told the other kids that only after the boy got his fill could they have the rest. Later on, that year, the class was reading the Amer­ican classic Little Women. The same boy told me that he did not want to read a book about little women; he stated, “Can’t we read a book about little men?” I asked why? He stated that there was no point in reading a book about women because they are inferior to men! I said “No! Your religious beliefs do not allow you to perpetuate discriminatory beliefs about women, minorities, or LGBTQ individuals.” How to balance the rights of one person and the beliefs of another will be an ongoing situation that teachers and administrators will have to address situation by situation. I was adamant about providing this Muslim student his basic right, i.e., respecting dietary laws, but I would not allow this student to perpetuate discriminatory practices against a protected class of individuals. What schools can easily do is instruct students on the variety of world religions, how they came to be, their belief systems, relations with other religions, practices and rules. A more informed student body would be more open to respecting all beliefs as well as respecting people who have no religious beliefs at all.

Chapter Questions for Discussion 1. What role does religion have in the US today? 2. What role did religion have in the nation’s historic past? 3. What rights do non-­Christians have in America’s secular religious culture? 4. What role do non-­Christian and unaffiliated Americans have in secular religious culture?

Critical SELF-Reflection/Check-­In 1. When you think about religion, do you think it has a vital role in the Amer­ican consciousness? Please explain your answer. 2. Do you think young people are as concerned with religious beliefs as they were 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Please explain your answer.


Religious Views and Treatment of Others

3. Does religion necessarily “need” to play a role in someone’s life? Please explain your answer.

references (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ryanwhite.com/. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2018, from https://bidenfoundation.org/pillars/equality/ asyouare/. Amer­ican Catholic History Classroom. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://cuomeka.wrlc. org/exhibits/show/knights Armus, T. (2018, June 13). Democratic lawmakers, activists protest family separations. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/democratic-­ lawmakers-activists-­protest-family-­separations/2018/06/13/55690500-6f1f-11e8bf86-a2351b5ece99_story.html?utm_term=.e834b2c35057 A guide to state level advocacy following the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act [PDF]. (2014). Human Rights Campaign. A Timeline of HIV and AIDS. (2018, March 27). Retrieved from www.hiv.gov/ hiv-­basics/overview/history/hiv-­and-aids-­timeline. Barnes, R. (2013, June 26). Supreme Court strikes down key part of Defense of Marriage Act. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-­court/ 2013/06/26/f0039814-d9ab-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_story.html?utm_term=.9b0 212cdc752. BBC News. (2017, February 10). Trump’s executive order: Who does travel ban affect? Retrieved from www.bbc.com/news/world-­us-canada-­38781302. Beck, B. (2018, July 31). UW will remember Matthew Shepard 20 years after his death. Retrieved from www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/uw-­will-remember-­ matthew-shepard-­20-years-­after-his-­death#stream/0. Beres, D. (2016, November 15). Why did the religious vote for Trump? Retrieved from https://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirituality/why-did-the-religious-votefor-trump. Britannica, T. E. (2018, September 30). Al Smith. Retrieved from www.britannica. com/biography/Al-­Smith Bump, P. (2018, July 9). Analysis | The children separated from their parents, by the numbers. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/07/09/ the-­children-separated-­from-their-­parents-by-­the-numbers/?utm_term=.ccb3d0f891ab Bump, P. (2018, July 10). A frustrated Trump blames migrants for having their children taken from them. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/ politics/wp/2018/07/10/a-­frustrated-trump-­blames-migrants-­for-having-­theirchildren-­taken-from-­them/?utm_term=.36f8083acbeb. Burton, T. I. (2018, October 3). White evangelicals are the only religious group to support Trump. Retrieved from www.vox.com/identities/2018/10/3/17929696/ white-­evangelicals-prri-­poll-trump-­presidency-support. Carey, J. (2018, October 30). What the Bible says about how to treat refugees. Retrieved from https://relevantmagazine.com/god/what-­bible-says-­about-how-­ treat-refugees.

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Chicana Brown beret at La Marcha de la Reconquista (1971). (2014, April 17). Retrieved from www.notesfromaztlan.com/2014/04/16/chicana-­brown-beret-­atla-­marcha-de-­la-reconquista-­1971/. Criswell, C. (n.d.). AIDS Timeline. Retrieved from www.factlv.org/timeline.htm. Dashow, J. (2017, November 13). Data shows increased reported incidents of anti-­ LGBTQ hate crimes. Retrieved from www.hrc.org/blog/new-­fbi-data-­showsincreased-­reported-incidents-­of-anti-­lgbtq-hate-­crimes-i. Dear colleague letter on transgender students notice of language assistance [PDF]. (2016, May 13). U.S. Department of Justice & U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. Epps, G. (2018, June 4). Justice Kennedy’s “masterpiece” ruling. Retrieved from www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/the-­court-slices-­a-narrow-­rulingout-­of-masterpiece-­cakeshop/561986/. Examples of policies and emerging practices for supporting transgender students [PDF]. (2016, May). U.S. Department of Education. Family in AIDS case quits Florida town after house burns. (1987, August 30). Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/1987/08/30/us/family-­in-aids-­case-quits-­ florida-town-­after-house-­burns.html. Fitzgerald, F. (2017). The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America. New York: Simon and Schuster. Gallagher, D., & Burke, D. (2016, June 27). Pope says Christians should apologize to gays. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2016/06/26/world/pope-­apologize-gays/ index.html  Gonzalez, S. (2013, May 10). June 22, 2012 – United Farm Workers 50th Anniversary. Retrieved July 12, 2018, from www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/ 2012/06/22/june-­22-2012-united-­farm-workers-­50th-anniversary/11407/. Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.matthewshepard.org/. Home. (2017, October 25). Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-­crime/2016/ hate-­crime. Interfaith Alliance Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center (2012, October 02) What is the truth about American Muslims? Retrieved from https://interfaithalliance.org/truthaboutmuslims-2/. Itkowitz, C. (2017, January 20). LGBT rights page disappears from White House web site. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/local/2017/live-­updates/ politics/live-­coverage-of-­trumps-inauguration/lgbt-­rights-page-­disappears-from-­ white-house-­web-site/?utm_term=.2cae687b1752. Jacobs, T. (2018, May 1). Is the Christian Right Driving Amer­icans Away from Religion? Retrieved June 13, 2018, from https://psmag.com/news/is-­the-christian­right-driving-­Amer­icans-away-­from-religion Kennedy, B. (2018, June 7). 1998: When James Byrd was murdered in East Texas. Retrieved from www.star-­telegram.com/opinion/opn-­columns-blogs/bud-­kennedy/ article212722054.html. King, M. L. (n.d.). Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.]. Retrieved July 12, 2018, from www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html. Klein, C. (2017, March 16). When America Despised the Irish: The 19th Century’s Refugee Crisis. Retrieved from www.history.com/news/when-­america-despised-­ the-irish-­the-19th-centurys-­refugee-crisis


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Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Giga, N. M., Villenas, C., & Danischewski, D. J. (2015). The 2015 National School Climate Survey: the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Youth in our nation’s schools [PDF]. GLSEN. Lamb, W. S. (2016, September 21). 20 years ago, Bill Clinton signed Defense of Marriage Act. Retrieved from www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/21/20years-­ago-bill-­clinton-signed-­defense-of-­marria/. Legislative response to recognition of same-­sex marriage address potential religious implications [PDF]. (2015, October 29). Congressional Research Center. Leonnig, C. D., Helderman, R. S., & Fahrenthold, D. A. (2018, April 11). Federal investigators sought Trump’s communications with his lawyer about ‘Access Hollywood’ tape. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-­investigatorssought-­c ommunications-trumps-­l awyer-had-­a bout-access-­h ollywoodtape/2018/04/11/91101dcc-3dbb-11e8-a7d1-e4efec6389f0_story.html?utm_term=. d2516d16623a LGBT rights milestones fast facts. (2018, April 1). Retrieved from www.cnn. com/2015/06/19/us/lgbt-­rights-milestones-­fast-facts/index.html. LGBT rights timeline [PDF]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://breakingprejudice.org/ assets/AHAA/Activities/Gay Rights Movement Timeline Activity/LGBT Rights Timeline.pdf. LGBTQ heritage theme study. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.nps.gov/subjects/ tellingallAmer­icansstories/lgbtqthemestudy.htm. LGBTQ history in government documents: timeline of documents. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ucsd.libguides.com/lgbtdocs/timeline. Lind, D. (2018, June 11). The Trump administration’s separation of families at the border, explained. Retrieved from www.vox.com/2018/6/11/17443198/children-­ immigrant-families-­separated-parents Lopez, G. (2018, June 4). Why you shouldn’t freak out about the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling. Retrieved from www.vox.com/identities/2018/6/4/17425294/ supreme-­court-masterpiece-­cakeshop-gay-­wedding-cake-­baker-ruling Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. (2018, June 2). Retrieved from www.aclu.org/cases/masterpiece-­cakeshop-v-­colorado-civil-­rightscommission Mitchell, T. (2018, April 20). The gender gap in religion around the world. Retrieved from www.pewforum.org/2016/03/22/the-­gender-gap-­in-religion-­around-the-­world/. Mohamed, B. (2018, January 3). New estimates show U.S. Muslim population continues to grow. Retrieved from www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/03/newestimates-show-u-s-muslim-population-continues-to-grow/. Oser, K. S., & Lang, N. (2018, June 15). A digital magazine for the modern queer world. Retrieved from https://intomore.com/impact/masterpiece-­cakeshopcouple-­not-done-­fighting-will-­pursue-equality-­act. Out online: the experiences of LGBT youth on the internet. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.glsen.org/press/study-­finds-lgbt-­youth-face-­greater-harassment-­online. Pilkington, E. (2010, September 30). Tyler Clementi, student outed as gay on internet, jumps to his death. Retrieved from https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2010/ sep/30/tyler-­clementi-gay-­student-suicide. Quackenbush, C. (2018, August 9). Joe Biden launches LGBTQ family acceptance campaign called “As You Are.” Retrieved from http://time.com/5361952/joe-­ biden-lgbtq-­family-acceptance-­as-you-­are/.

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The refuge of the righteous. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://biblehub.com/csb/ psalms/5.htm The repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.hrc.org/ resources/the-­repeal-of-­dont-ask-­dont-tell. Ross, B., Jr. (2018, July 9). New York Times’ 20th anniversary piece on East Texas dragging death is powerful, yet disappointing. Retrieved from www.getreligion. org/getreligion/2018/7/11/new-­york-times-­20th-anniversary-­piece-on-­james-byrd­jrs-dragging-­death-is-­powerful-yet-­disappointing. Scott, E. (2018). The trouble with using the Bible to support hard-­line immigration policies. Accessed from www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-­fix/wp/2018/06/15/ on-­looking-to-­the-bible-­to-support-­hard-line-­immigration-policies/?utm_term=. 028ddf7c6a63. Shellnutt, K., Casper, J., Jackson, G. P., Martin, B., & Noble, O. A. (2017, July 26). Most white Evangelicals don’t believe Muslims belong in America. Retrieved from www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/july/pew-­how-white-­evangelicalsview-­us-muslims-­islam.html. Shellnutt, K., Zylstra, S. E., Jackson, G. P., Crook, C., & Noble, O. A. (2017, March 20). Missionaries dreamed of this Muslim moment. Trump’s travel ban may end it. Retrieved from www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/march/ missionaries-­muslim-moment-­trump-travel-­ban.html Statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the withdrawal of Title IX guidance. (2017, March 17). Retrieved from www.justice.gov/opa/pr/statement-­ attorney-general-­jeff-sessions-­withdrawal-title-­ix-guidance. Stonewall: National Monument, New York. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.nps.gov/ ston/index.htm. Stonewall riots. (2017). Retrieved from www.history.com/topics/the-­stonewall-riots. The Law of Religious Freedom. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.tolerance.org/ magazine/publications/what-­is-the-­truth-about-­Amer­ican-muslims/the-­law-of-­ religious-freedom Thirty years of HIV/AIDS: snapshots of an epidemic. (n.d.). Retrieved from www. amfar.org/thirty-­years-of-­hiv/aids-­snapshots-of-­an-epidemic/. Title IX and sex discrimination. (2015, October 15). Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/ about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html. Walsh, M. (2018, July 11). Kavanaugh Has Supported Public School Prayers, Religious School Vouchers. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/school_ law/2018/07/kavanaugh_has_supported_of_pub.html Westboro Baptist Church. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.splcenter.org/fighting-­hate/ extremist-­files/group/westboro-­baptist-church What is the Truth About Amer­ican Muslims? [Pamphlet]. (n.d.). Washington, DC: Interfaith Alliance, Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center. The White House. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/. Winfield, N. (2018, May 21). LGBT community praises Pope Francis’ comments to gay man. Retrieved from http://time.com/5285839/pope-­francis-gay-­comments/. Wormald, B. (2015, May 11). Religious Landscape Study. Retrieved from www. pewforum.org/religious-­landscape-study/.

Women and Girls and Social Media


CHAPTER OVERVIEW In this chapter we explore issues related to girls and women and their presence on social media. We include an overview of the women’s movement in the United States. We look at modern-­day activism on social media as it pertains to women and girls. A prime example of how women coordinated efforts via social media, in direct response to the 2017 presidential election, focuses on the Women’s March on Washington and Sister Marches throughout the United States and their continued efforts. We also look at the role of social media on the #MeToo movement.

Vignette: Three Friends Kristen, Abby, and Ella have been friends since preschool. They are getting ready to enter middle school in the Fall. Since Kindergarten, they have been on different soccer teams together and sometimes as competitors. Even when they have not been on the same team, they have always remained friends and attended each other’s birthday parties, sleepovers and playdates. Toward the end of the fifth grade, each of the girls took a test that would help them be placed in the appropriate classes as they entered the sixth grade. Ella tested very high and was placed in all accelerated classes, while Kristen and Abby placed at an average level of performance and would have most of their courses together.  As the girls compared their course schedule on the first day of the Fall semester, Kristen and Abby had a short conversation:  Kristen:

At least we will be together in most of our classes. We can still be friends. We’re not in the ‘nerd’ class like Ellie.  Abby: We aren’t smart. We are pretty.

Women and Girls and Social Media


Later that day, after school, the three friends joined up. They had the following conversation:  Ellie:

I’m going to try out for the sixth-­grade soccer team. Are you going to come and try out?

[Kristen and Abby look at each other and smile.] Kristen: No soccer for me. I don’t want to get dirty anymore. Abby: Hey Kristen, let’s try out for cheerleading. Ellie: OK. You know – you can still play soccer and do whatever

you like.

Tapping into your Personal Lens 1. When you were a child, did you have any friends who decided that they couldn’t be “smart,” or could only be “pretty”? 2. If you heard this type of conversation amongst girls, what would you say to them? 3. Do you think it is still an issue for girls to pursue academic achievement rather than focusing solely on looks – as noted above, on “being pretty”?

Discussion The issues raised in this vignette offer only a snapshot of what some tween, pre-­teen, or teen girls go through. Issues of academic performance, or being a student who is able to achieve academically in the basic content areas, show good citizenship, sportsmanship, etc., are not specific to girls. In this case the idea of two of the friends (Abby and Kristen) “choosing” between being “smart” or being “pretty” is not a new phenomenon. Although we are close to finishing up the first 20 years of the 2000s, the challenges of growing up and being a girl remain constant, e.g., being a good student, daughter, friend, sister. Add to that the fact that, as girls begin to develop physically, they begin to notice that they are all growing at different rates. Social media plays a role in shaping how girls look at themselves. Increasingly, girls, ages 11–21 feel pressures to “present themselves as having a ‘perfect’ life” (Marsh, 2017). Marsh mentions a poll by the Girl Guides Association, which found that 35% of girls “[aged] 11–21 said their biggest worry online was comparing themselves to others” (2017). Young girls are on social media – with Instagram and Pinterest being the most popular used by girls. Marsh found that Instagram is the


Women and Girls and Social Media

social media platform that encourages an image of girls as having to live up to a certain standard of beauty. For younger girls, they may use other social media platforms such as Musically, where they lip-­sync popular songs by “popular” artists. There are issues with all of these platforms, as there are very young girls who get their parents or an older sibling to create accounts for them. In some instances, there is inappropriate content that parents need to oversee. In the case of “tween” girls (meaning girls ages 10–12) Lehman (2018) found that girls who start to use social media (by age 10) may be “unhappier” in their early teens as opposed to early teens who used social media less at that age. In a national study conducted in the UK, researchers looked at social media use among boys and girls, beginning at age 10 until they reached the age of 15. They looked at aspects of the (pre-)teens’ happiness and found that “wellbeing decreased with age for boys and girls, but more so for girls.” The unreal expectations for girls and teens, as depicted on social media, may contribute to the disconnect that girls feel: trying to live up to the actresses, models, or performers they see on Instagram or any other social network, for example, perfect hair, make-­up, style. In her book Queen Bees & Wannabes, Wiseman (2016) writes about how mothers, fathers, and family can help their girls survive the various challenges of being a girl, e.g., cliques, gossip, boys, early puberty, and social networks. The third edition is an update to her original book, which was published in 2002 prior to the now constant obsession with the internet and social networks. Wiseman talks about social networking and includes some good advice and insight on things like when girls need a cell phone. She also talks about social networking platforms and their use by girls, such as Facebook, Snapchat and Yik Yak. Parents are cautioned not to become overly (as in constantly 24/7) involved in what their daughters are doing on social media. Instead, she suggests that parents talk with their daughters, ask them what they are posting on social media, and be a constant observer of what they are doing and who they engage with. These items will be cited and discussed later in this chapter. Wiseman makes several acute observations regarding middle school girls and their changing bodies: “In middle school, young girls will remark openly on their own bodies with disgust and frustration; the girl who dares to be content with her body doesn’t feel comfortable saying anything or will even fabricate some claim of displeasure just, so she fits in with the rest of her peers. After a while, she no longer needs to make up these claims. She actually believes them”. – Grace, seventeen. (2016, p. 158) It is not a surprise that the media promote a false sense of beauty for girls and women. You have only to look at the advertisements that appear

Women and Girls and Social Media


online as you or your daughter search for clothing, shoes, etc. Or, if you take a trip to an actual store, you will encounter clothing that is often too revealing for tween, pre-­teenage, and teen girls. The constant posting of “selfies” on social media by adults and children of all ages is a mirror of how you see yourself. If you follow a celebrity on Instagram, you believe you have access to that celebrity’s life. In reality, all of the professional Instagram accounts are curated by people who excel in creating an “image” of that person. In other words, the accounts are not accurate representations of who that person really is. This presents a dilemma for many girls, who strive to live up to the “Instagram life” that is presented of their favorite celebrity. According to Statista (2018), for 2018, the most followed celebrities on Instagram were Selena Gomez (135.46 million followers), Cristiano Ronaldo (123.33 million), Ariana Grande (118.32 million), Beyoncé (113.5 million); Kim Kardashian (109.78 million), Taylor Swift (107.04 million), Kylie Jenner (106.57 million), Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson (102.68 million), and Justin Bieber (98.4 million). Issues associated with girls and their use of social media will be discussed later in this chapter.

Self-­Assessment 1. How would you encourage your daughter to talk about her “life” on social media? 2. How do you present yourself on social media? How often are you on social media? 3. Do you think you are a good example of how to be a balanced social media user? Please explain.

Historical Context: Women’s Rights in the 1960s and 1970s In this section we discuss the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Often referred to as the second wave of the women’s rights movement (with the first wave occurring in the 19th and early 20th centuries, e.g., women’s right to vote), the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s also included the renewed activism of women that included all facets of women’s experience, e.g., family, work and sexuality (Burkett, 2016). With the publication of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique in 1963, she raised the condition of women, as homemakers, wives, mothers, “housekeepers,” describing women as “deadened by domesticity.” By the early 1960s, women began to lobby for better wages and for “equal protection against employment discrimination.” Their lobbying did not yield any big


Women and Girls and Social Media

changes and in June 1966 they formed the National Organization of Women (NOW), a national activist group aimed at forwarding the cause of women. Some of the early efforts occurred in the first two years of the organization and included a Bill of Rights for Women. This group agreed on six measures aimed at ensuring women’s equality: enforcement of laws to ban employment discrimination; pregnancy leave; child care centers that would allow mothers to work; tax deductions for child-­care expenses; equal and unsegregated education; and equal job-­training opportunities for poor women (Burkett, 2016). The NOW also worked on the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the US Constitution, which would ensure equal rights regardless of sex. The other big measures were the liberalization of contraception and access to abortion. These last two measures created controversy amongst the women in the NOW and their supporters. For example, the United Auto Workers withdrew their support of NOW because the ERA would not allow women to have access to protective labor legislation. Abortion rights and equal treatment of women in the workplace remain at the forefront of equal rights for all women. The contentious senate hearing on the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) poses the possibility of the 1973 Roe v Wade being reversed. Associate Justice Kavanaugh is anti-­abortion and pro-­life. His nomination to SCOTUS by Donald Trump ignited a wave of opposition from women, and other supporters of the pro-­choice movement. Kavanaugh filled the seat left by Justice Anthony Kennedy. In a speech given in 2017, Kavanaugh appeared to support and affirm former Justice William Rehnquist for his dissent in Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973 (Arkin, 2018). During remarks at the Amer­ican Enterprise Institute (a conservative thinktank) in 2017, Kavanaugh noted that Rehnquist, along with Justice Byron White, “ultimately dissented from the court’s 7–2 holding recognizing a constitutional right to abortion” (Arkin, 2018). Recently, Kavanaugh dissented from the appeals court’s ruling in the case of Garza v. Hargan that Garza, an undocumented teen, could leave government custody (temporarily) to obtain an abortion. He argued that the teen did not have the right to “an immediate abortion on demand.” The confirmation hearings of Associate Judge Kavanaugh were some of the most watched confirmation hearings in recent history. According to Nielsen data, based on the three news networks, (Fox News, MSNBC and CNN) 11 million viewers tuned in between 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. (Fitzgerald, 2018). While NOW focused on issues of women’s rights, other groups emerged on college campuses and joined other student groups to work on mutual objectives, including activism related to healthcare for female students, access to contraception, and sexual consent between male professors and female students at university. Students also pushed for the creation of

Women and Girls and Social Media


Women’s Studies majors to be created as academic programs. By 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Higher Education Act, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex from any educational institution receiving federal funds. This made all-­male schools open their doors to women and forced athletic programs to fund women’s sports teams. Early Women’s Studies programs focused on the roles of women in economic and political contexts. Courses focused on the role of women in the economy, politics, and history of women in the United States. The 1980s saw a focus on gender roles and the cross-­cultural perspectives of women. The 1990s introduced the role of feminist thought, race, and the socialization of women into the curriculum (Smith 2017). Since the first Women’s Studies majors came out more than 30 years ago, people may wonder if we still need these academic programs and courses today. As of 2016, there were Women’s Studies 2,677 degrees awarded. This shows a growth rate of 7.34% per year (Women’s Studies, n.d.). The data show that, yes, we do need these majors. An increased focus on the intersectionality of women’s and gender studies with race, ethnicity, socio-­economic status, and culture indicates continued and increased interest in the academic discipline. In 1965, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) held that women have equal access to employment and that employers with long-­established history of discrimination against women be required to provide timetables aimed at increasing the numbers of women in the workforce. The EEOC was created as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to “ensure equality of opportunity by vigorously enforcing federal legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment – particularly discrimination on the basis of religion, race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability” (EEOC, n.d.). Many of these issues remain at the forefront of equality for women, including equal pay for equal work in the workplace. As of 2015, according to the US Census Bureau, women earned 79.6 cents for every dollar earned by men, and in 2016 the Labor Department shows that women made 82 cents for every dollar made by men, so the amount of money made by men and women suggests a continued pay gap. According to Emily Martin, general counsel and VP for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), “a woman working full time, year-­round will lose more than $10,000 a year to the wage gap” (Vasel, 2017). There are five key facts about the gender pay gap that Vasel identifies. They include: (1) women earn around 80 cents for every dollar men earn; (2) this 20% gap adds up, meaning that women lose about $10,470 in median earnings each year; and (3) race and ethnicity widen the gap – that is, “Hispanic women made 54 cents for every dollar a White, non-­ Hispanic man earned, which means they will lose more than a million dollars over a 40-year career based on today’s wage gap, according to the NWLC” (Vasel, 2017).


Women and Girls and Social Media

Women earn more money than men in traditionally held female jobs, including: counselors; teacher assistants; combined food preparation and service workers, e.g., fast-­food and sewing machine operators. However, this does not in any way account suggest that women who work in these industries are being paid a liveable and fair wage. The women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s was seen as a time of transformational change. The movement started partly in response to the Civil Rights Movement and was joined by others in their quest not just for civil rights, but for social justice in the United States. The baby boomers of the 1960s and 1970s still represent a time of upheaval, change on the political, cultural, and social landscape. Many of the social and cultural movements remain at the Amer­ican social and cultural landscape of who we, as a country aim, to be (or not). The issues associated with the feminist movement live on today, with the potential of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Many women have joined forces to counter the narrative of rape culture and the mistreatment of women with the emergence of the #MeToo movement. Many women are united in their rejection of “business as usual” when it comes to the treatment of women in the context of the Trump administration. Along with this, many Evangelical Christian women stand by the Trump administration, even in the context of the many allegations brought by women against the President. The issues are not easy to discern, but in the next section we look deeper into present-­day women’s issues.

Women and Girls Today: Movements, Causes, and Representation on Social Media Women in the Workplace, Body Image, Body Shaming, Representation of Beauty, No Make-­up Campaign, #throwlike a girl The first couple of decades of the 2000s have demonstrated how women continue to work toward equality for all women across race, ethnicity, socio­economic background, and educational attainment. While the 1960s and 1970s serve as the foundation of current issues that impact women and girls, there are specific issues related to women and girls today. First, let us look back at several key legislative rulings that occurred between 1965 and 1994 that still impact women in the 2000s. You may be surprised that some that these legislative rulings actually happened in the not too distant past:  1965 – in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court overturns one of the last state laws prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples.

Women and Girls and Social Media


1969 – California adopts the nation’s first “no-­fault” divorce laws, which allows a couple to mutually consent to a divorce. 1971 – Philips v. Martin Marietta Corporation, 400 US 542 – the US Supreme Court outlaws private employers’ practice of refusing to hire women with preschool-­age children. 1974 – Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 US 632 – the US Supreme Court finds that it is illegal to force pregnant women to take maternity leave, assuming they (the woman) are incapable of working in their physical condition. 1976 – General Electric v. Gilbert, 429 US 125 – the Supreme Court upholds a woman’s right to unemployment benefits during the last three months of pregnancy. 1981 – The US Supreme Court rules in Kirchberg v. Feenstra, 450 US 455, 459–70 – overturns state laws designating a husband as “head and master” with unilateral control of property owned jointly with his wife.  1989 – Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 US 490 – the Supreme Court affirms the right of states to deny public funding for abortions and to prohibit public hospitals from performing abortions.  1994 – Congress adopts the Gender Equity in Education Act, designed to train teachers in gender equity, promote math and science learning by girls, counsel pregnant teens, and prevent sexual harassment;  1994 – the Violence Against Women Act funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, allows women to seek civil rights remedies for gender-­related crimes, and provides training to increase police and court officials’ sensitivity and a national 24-hour hotline for battered women.  (National Women’s History Alliance, n.d.) These rulings (1965–1994) are relevant to women and girls today. It may surprise some that just 50 years ago employers could refuse to employ a woman if she was pregnant. Or you may find it surprising that just 37 years ago the husband was considered the “head and master” of property co-­owned with his wife and could conduct business (on the property) unilaterally without the input or agreement of his wife. Or consider the current emphasis on training girls for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, yet this was part of the Gender Equity in Education act of 1994 –25 years ago. If anything, these rulings suggest that the issues associated with the women’s movement of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s remain relevant. Issues related to sexual harassment, rape (including untested rape kits), reproductive rights, job discrimination and pay inequality, violence toward women and girls, and the continued sexualization of women and girls are at the forefront of women’s issues today. In the next section we


Women and Girls and Social Media

discuss these issues in the context of current activism and the role of social media.

Women’s Activism on Social Media One could argue that the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency has reignited the women’s rights movement, beginning in 2016 during the primary season. It is no secret that many Amer­ican women see the President in a negative light, especially in light of his questionable track record when it comes to women, both in his personal life and in the mainstream. It is also true that there are many Amer­ican women who supported his candidacy and election to the presidency. The impact of the White women’s vote contributed to his election, in that a large number (52%) voted for Trump (Bump, 2017). While we can be certain that women voted along party lines, it is somewhat surprising (to some) that White women voted for a candidate while knowing that he had been accused of sexual harassment by a multitude of women (Blau, 2018). A variety of women (at least 11 cited in the Blau article) accuse Trump of some type of sexual harassment, beginning in 1980 (allegedly groping a woman on a plane) and up to 2010. Post-­election, two different women emerged with allegations that they had a extra marital affair with the commander-­in-chief. In 2018, former adult film star Stormy Daniels alleged that she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Former playmate/model Karen McDougal also alleges that she had an affair with Trump in 2006–2007. Trump has denied that anything occurred with either of these women. This denial, even though his former lawyer Michael Cohen taped a conversation that was allegedly between him and Trump at the time of the primaries. In the recording, candidate Trump can be heard talking with Cohen, as they discuss the rights to buy a Playboy model’s (Karen’s) story about an alleged affair she had with Trump. In the conversation they talk about an exchange of cash or a check (this has been argued on cable television and analyzed by audio experts). CNN’s release of the tape on July 24, 2018 led to yet another burst of fodder for the news cycle, be it network, cable, left-­leaning, right-­ leaning, etc. (Cuomo et al., 2018). This is all to say that Trump’s treatment of women has been noted in the press from during the primary season and into the second year of his presidency. As of writing, none of these allegations have harmed his presidency, as he appears more popular than ever, with a rating of 90% amongst Republicans (Peters, 2018). And, as has been noted earlier, a high percentage of White, suburban and Evangelical women continue to support him.

Women and Girls and Social Media


The Women’s March on Washington – 2017 The election of Trump has given rise to women’s rights activism on social media. One of the first social activism events was the Women’s March on Washington which occurred the day after the inauguration. Various women’s groups came together to plan a Woman’s March on Washington, with hundreds of others planned in other cities across the United States as a reaction to the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, advocating for legislation and human rights policies, LGBTQ rights, equal rights for women and girls, reproductive rights, racial equality – to name a few. The protest was not only centered in Washington, DC. There were hundreds of sister protests going on throughout the United States on the same day (the Washington march drew an estimated 1,000,000 people, and an additional estimated 3.3–5.2 million participated in marches throughout the US), as well as marches throughout the world (168 in 81 other countries). Officials who organized the marches worldwide reported that 673 marches actually occurred in other countries, including nearby neighbors Canada (29 marches) and Mexico (20 marches). Demonstrations took place in the major cities of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Oakland, San Francisco, and others: “According to a sister march webpage, an estimated 2.6 million people took part in 673 marches in all 50 states and 32 countries, from Belarus to New Zealand – with the largest taking place in Washington” (Przybyla & Schouten, 2017). The impact of the Women’s March of 2017 was so large that it has been compared to two of the largest marches in the history of the United States – the Civil Rights March of 1963 and the Vietnam War protests of 1967. So what motivated so many hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children of all ages and ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds to participate in these marches held on January 21, 2017 – one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States? For many, the protest had to do with the treatment of women – mainly by the many women that came forward alleging various sexual harassment instances with the (then) future president. Some were moved by the idea that women had been treated negatively by candidate Trump – for example, the comments he made during one of the presidential debates aimed at commentator Megyn Kelly. During the Republican debate, Kelly had asked Trump about sexist and misogynistic remarks he’d made in the past, such as calling women things like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals” (Yan, 2015). Trump responded to Kelly by calling her questions “ridiculous” and “off-­base.” A few days later, during an on-­air interview with Don Lemon of CNN, Trump stated: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” The criticism of Kelly, then an anchor on Fox News, was met with ­negative backlash. Trump was disinvited from a group called Red State


Women and Girls and Social Media

Gathering, where all of the Republican presidential candidates were to appear; Trump was scheduled to give a keynote address. Soon after, Trump tried to clarify his comments via his favorite social media platform, Twitter: Re Megyn Kelly quote: “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever” (NOSE). Just got on w/ thought 5:46 AM–Aug 8, 2015 · New Jersey, USA 3,543 (Trump, 2015) The Women’s March started as a Facebook post by a Hawaii grandmother the day after Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump, and it  blossomed into a massive protest uniting people of all ages, races and religions who crowded downtown Washington. They called for a “revolution” as a bulwark against the new administration and the Republican-­led Congress they fear will roll back reproductive, civil and human rights.  (Przybyla & Schouten, 2017) One San Francisco resident, who attended with his wife and daughters, said he was showing support for women’s issues “to a president who doesn’t seem to recognize or care about them.” Crystal Hoyt, an associate dean at the University of Richmond, noted: “They came on their own, many aboard overnight charter buses for one of the largest and most significant demonstrations for social justice in America’s 240-year history” (Hedger, 2017). Protesters of all ages and backgrounds, men, and women attended the march. Protesters in the “red” states also came out for the Women’s March: Overall, there were 297 marches in states Trump carried in the election, with between 721,000 and 1,005,000 total marchers. In red states such as Montana and Alaska, many people marched – if you use “many” to mean more than 1 percent of the state’s population using low estimates. (Chenoweth & Pressman, 2017) Unable to attend one of the marches in Los Angeles area, a group of five women cancer patients and their nurses marched around one of the floors of their hospital. Allie Oetken, a stage IV cancer patient, noted that she and the other women had to walk anyway, so they turned it into their own Women’s March. Nurses walked with the women as they walked pulling their IV towers behind them, onto which they taped signs

Women and Girls and Social Media


that read: “ ‘Women’s March 2017’ and ‘March for Our Rights’ ” (Kahn, 2017). Oetken tweeted the following: allie [email protected] couldn’t make it the LA march today so we had to do our own protest around the hospital (only got 1 floor – we tried tho) #WomensMarch 2:32 PM–Jan 21, 2017 There are many stories of women who made the Women’s March and surmounted difficulties in order to participate, such as that of women from a retirement home in Encinitas, CA, who participated. Another 415 women were so limited that they participated online (Chenoweth & Pressman, 2017). 15.4K people are talking about this •

“There’s a lot of people who care about the lies he’s told,” said Laurie Gentry, a 60-year-­old who took an overnight bus from Greenville, S.C. She cited climate change, education and marriage equality.

“I’m aghast, and it obviously prompted me to get myself up and get to Washington. I’m not just doing it for myself but I’m doing it for my daughters and granddaughters,” said Wendy Hames, a 67-year-­old retired school teacher who took a sleeping pill to weather the overnight haul. (Przybyla & Schouten, 2017) Women and men from all backgrounds unified to march for humanity, for the rights of women, for climate change, and for their daughters and granddaughters.

The Women’s March of 2018 On the anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March, women across the globe marched to focus on issues directly related to women. For example, in Canada, women marched to bring attention to the high number of indigeneous women who have been murdered. (Bruce, 2018). The objective for the second anniversary was to register more women to vote and to elect more women and progressive candidates to public office (Shamus, 2018). The 2018 march was headquartered in Las Vegas, NV, and focused on “power at the polls,” that is, to register as many people as possible, with the objective of increased voter turnout during the 2018 midterms. Tamika


Women and Girls and Social Media

D. Mallory, co-­president of the Women’s March noted: “In 2018 we must turn our work into action ahead of the midterms. This new initiative will address voter registration and voter suppression head on” (Tatum, 2018). Here are a couple of the “most-­engaged” posts over the course of the Women’s March according to Wood (2018). The Amer­ican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted: ACLU of Nevada @ACLUNV Thousands of women ready to rally #powertothepolls #lasvegas #womensmarch http://ift.tt/2DWJlXV 12:21 PM–Jan 21, 2018 176 people are talking about this The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) tweeted the following: Saturday’s Women’s Marches drew historic crowds in cities coast to coast, as millions took to the streets to build the movement for justice, equality, and rights for women and their families. In Morristown, NJ, 1199 SEIU’ers joined thousands of marchers under the theme “Power to the Polls,” to lay the groundwork for a massive progressive victory in the 2018 mid-­term elections and motivate people to vote! The Eva Longoria Foundation posted on Instagram: •

• • • • • • • • •

evalongoriafoundation “This march and this movement is far more ambitious in scope and scale and it extends beyond one political actor or even one political party. What we’re calling for is sustainable and systematic change to the experience of women and girls in America.” – @evalongoria with @nportmanofficial and @ wonstancecoo at the @womensmarchlosangeles this past Saturday. [photo by] Jae C. Hong, AP gohard4kminez3Yesssss!!!!! rosskeithhardie It was an absolute pleasure to watch @EvaLongoria’s speech here on Facebook Live. I’m truly proud to know her. She is a phenomenal human being. susiedoll44 CHICAGO somoschingonassd CHINGONAS fainefield Nice, stop by our page. waddup_hill Your best is yet to come!!! #KeepPushing constancewu❤ womenshistory❤❤❤ lotusluv02 Love this!! (Eva Longoria Foundation, 2018)

Women and Girls and Social Media


The use of social media during the 2017 Women’s March on Washington clearly made a strong impact. Most of the people who attended the march heard about it on social media. Through the power of social media, the march was able to draw hundreds of thousands of marchers in Washington, DC and in the various sister marches in the US and across the globe.

The #MeToo movement The recent history of women’s rights seems to have produced a dilemma: female actors are told that they can act and do what they want, yet are still subjected to the same exploitation, in that (in 2018) sex sells. It took women actors at least half a century to voice “Enough!” in terms of the sexual exploitation in the film, television, and other media outlets. It is an old story. The exploitation of women in film has occurred for decades. One reason the #MeToo movement has made such a strong and unified voice saying “No!” is the role and use of social media. “Me Too” was coined by Tarana Burke in 2006. As a survivor of sexual violence, she wanted to do something to help other women and girls (of color) who had suffered some type of sexual violence. Then, on October 5, 2017, actor Ashley Judd accused movie producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. She is also suing him for defamation and blames him for the lack of offers of work. Over the course of 2018, Weinstein was accused by many other actresses in what has turned out to be an almost continuous stream of allegations of sexual harassment and more serious allegations, including exploiting women in the industry by demanding sex in “exchange” for movie roles. Many women are saying “Hell, no! Not me, not another woman,” and they are speaking up. On October 12, 2017, head of Amazon Studios Roy Price resigned after he was accused in 2015 by producer Isa Hackett of lewd behavior and making propositions. A few days later, actress Alyssa Milano reintroduced the phrase “Me Too” with this tweet: “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” It turned into a movement, as the #MeToo went viral. It soon spread to non-­actresses, and to everyday women and also some men. On October 18, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney tweeted that she was assaulted by the former team doctor, Lawrence G. Nassar, who had recently been sentenced to 60 years in prison. Up to this time, most of the allegations were issued toward Weinstein. On October 28, actor Kevin Spacey was accused by an actor who stated that Spacey had made sexual advances toward him when he was only 14 years old.  The Me Too movement even made it into the political realm. By November 9, the Washington Post published an investigative piece about the Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, and his alleged history of


Women and Girls and Social Media

preying on underage girls. There were allegations that he went to the local mall to find young girls. The comic Louis C.K. was accused by several women who also accused him of sexual misconduct. In late November 2017, longtime Today host Matt Lauer was fired after NBC received detailed allegations about his history of sexual misconduct with staff. The next day, Garrison Keillor was fired from Minnesota Public Radio after allegations of sexual misconduct. Soon after, Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies after he was accused of sexual assault. The December 6, 2017 Time magazine named the “Silence Breakers” as its 2017 Person of the Year. By early December 2017, the Me Too movement made its way back to the political scene. This time, Senator Al Franken was accused of sexual misconduct and he resigned. During the winter of 2017, there were more accusations aimed at men in power. In January 2018, more than 300 women in Hollywood formed a coalition called Time’s Up. At the 2019 Golden Globe Awards, when Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, she noted that she was “inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.” She went on: “But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.” On January 20, 2018, more than a million people marched around the country for the second annual Women’s March, which marked the anniversary of President Trump’s oath of office. Since the start of the movement, many have been implicated and accused of unwanted sexual advances, and sexual harassment and rape in some instances (Johnson & Guarino, 2018). One reason why the Me Too movement spread like wildfire was the use of social media, in which numerous victims were able to see and hear about the exploitation of others and speak in unison. This movement went viral, moving from film to television to network news organizations, sports, and other fields. The use of social media to identify an issue which has touched so many women for such a long period of time came to a peak. What we can discern from observing social trends is that a mass social movement of protest like #MeToo is profoundly much easier in the digital age. The social media aspects of the Me Too movement suggest that it has helped to empower women and men who have been victimized to come forward and retake their power. There is some suggestion that social media might be helping to change society for the better. Certainly the Me Too movement has gained momentum, most likely from its wide social media presence. Social media has encouraged women to come forward in ways that they had not before: “It’s now a fight to change the way society could discuss, act upon, and become aware of the sexual harassment that is occurring every single day all around the world” (Woods-­Holder, 2018). Within the first 24 hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, #MeToo was used

Women and Girls and Social Media


more than 12 million times across Twitter and Facebook posts, comments, and reactions. We should not be surprised by the power of social media, as the Me Too movement became a worldwide phenomenon. It was a fast and simple way to express solidarity with other women – to express solidarity with victims of sexual harassment and abuse –  and it was also a reminder of the “remarkable power imbalance that still exists in Amer­ican society between men and women” (Zilles, 2018). Many people are unaware that #MeToo went global. In Spanish, it became #YoTambien. In French, it was #balancetonporc. There were also different versions of #MeToo in the Middle East. The Me Too movement has transcended cultures and nations, and is alive and well in 2018.

Chapter Questions FOR DISCUSSION 1. How would you describe the issues for women in 2018? 2. How has social media helped women to spread the message of equality? 3. How would you utilize social media to help girls learn about equality?

Critical self-­Reflection /CHECK-IN 1. What are the most interesting things you learned after reading this chapter? Please share one item and explain. 2. When did you realize you were learning something new? Please explain. 3. In the future, how will you use what you have learned about women and girls and social media? Please explain.

KEEPING UP TO DATE AND Further Reading 1. https://msudenver.edu/weeac/resources/gendertitleixgenderequity/ 2. https://nwlc-­ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-­content/uploads/ 2018/04/5.1web_Final_nwlc_DressCodeReport.pdf 3. https://nwlc.org/issue/sexual-­harassment-assault-­in-schools/

References Arkin, D. (2018, July 12). Kavanaugh addressed Roe v. Wade in speech last year. Retrieved from www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-­court/brett-­kavanaughaddressed-­roe-v-­wade-speech-­last-year-­n890991.


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Blau, M. (2018, May 10). These women have accused Trump of sexual harassment. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2016/10/14/politics/trump-­women-accusers/ index.html. Bruce, A. (2018, January 20). Women’s March 2018: protesters take to the streets for the second straight year. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/us/ womens-­march.html. Bump, P. (2017, November 8). The shifts in Virginia voting that handed Trump an embarrassing defeat. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/ wp/2017/11/08/the-­shifts-in-­virginia-voting-­that-handed-­trump-an-­embarrassingdefeat/?utm_term=.5ad658c547d7. Burkett, E. (2016, August 2). Women’s movement. Retrieved from www.britannica.com/topic/womens-­movement. Chenoweth, E., & Pressman, J. (2017, February 7). Analysis: this is what we learned by counting the women’s marches. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-­c age/wp/2017/02/07/this-­i s-what-­w e-learned-­b ycounting-­the-womens-­marches/?utm_term=.c55abef7fb11. Cuomo, C., Scannell, K., & Watkins, E. (2018, July 25). CNN obtains secret Trump-­Cohen tape. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2018/07/24/politics/michael-­ cohen-donald-­trump-tape/index.html. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (n.d.). An act. Retrieved from www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/history/35th/thelaw/civil_rights_act.html. Eva Longoria Foundation. (2018, January 22). This march and this movement is far more ambitious in scope and scale and it extends beyond one political actor or even one political [Instagram post]. Retrieved from www.instagram.com/p/ BeQ2JDRlP0d/?utm_source=ig_embed. Fitzgerald, T. (2018, September 28). Kavanaugh hearing ratings: how many people watched the Senate testimony? Retrieved from www.forbes.com/sites/tonifitzgerald/ 2018/09/28/kavanaugh-­hearing-ratings-­how-many-­people-watched-­the-senate-­ testimony/amp/. Friedan, B. (2013). The Feminine Mystique. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Hedger, L. (2017, August 25). Live blog: women’s marches surpass crowd expectations. Retrieved from www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/21/live-­ womens-march-­scenes-dc-­indy/96844948/. Izadi, E. (2017, October 17). Roy Price resigns from Amazon Studios amid sexual harassment allegations. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-­ and-entertainment/wp/2017/10/17/roy-­price-resigns-­from-amazon-­studios-amid-­ sexual-harassment-­allegations/?utm_term=.eb85089c99ad. Johnson, C. Y., & Guarino, B. (2018, September 21). After outcry, Yale removes prestigious honor from professor who sexually harassed a colleague. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/09/18/controversy-­over-sexual-­ misconduct-case-­roils-yale-­university/?utm_term=.5945dcecaf86. Kahn, M. (2017, October 11). These inspiring cancer patients held a Women’s March in the hospital. Retrieved from www.elle.com/culture/career-­politics/news/ a42373/the-­cancer-patients-­who-held-­a-womens-­march-in-­a-hospital/. Lehman, S. (2018, March 29). For ’tween girls, social media use tied to wellbeing in teen years. Retrieved from www.reuters.com/article/us-­health-kids-­socialmedia/for-­tween-girls-­social-media-­use-tied-­to-wellbeing-­in-teen-­years-idUSKBN1 H531A.

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Marsh, S. (2017). Girls as young as seven in UK boxed in by gender stereotyping. www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/21/girls-­seven-uk-­boxed-in-­by-gender-­ stereotyping-equality. National Women’s History Alliance. (n.d.). Detailed timeline. Retrieved from www.nwhp.org/resources/womens-­rights-movement/detailed-­timeline/. Peters, J. W. (2018, June 23). As critics assail Trump, his supporters dig in deeper. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2018/06/23/us/politics/republican-­voterstrump.html. Przybyla, H. M., & Schouten, F. (2017, January 22). At 2.6 million strong, Women’s Marches crush expectations. Retrieved from www.usatoday.com/story/ news/politics/2017/01/21/womens-­m arch-aims-­s tart-movement-­t rumpinauguration/96864158/. Shamus, K. J. (2018, January 12). Pink pussyhats: The reason feminists are ditching them. Retrieved from www.freep.com/story/news/2018/01/10/pink-­pussyhatsfeminists-­hats-womens-­march/1013630001/. Smith, C. (2017, March 13). Women’s studies have changed over the years – and it’s more popular than ever. Retrieved from http://college.usatoday.com/2017/03/05/ womens-­studies-popular/. Statista. (2018). Instagram accounts with the most followers worldwide as of September 2018. Retrieved from www.statista.com/statistics/421169/most-­ followers-instagram/. Tatum, S. (2018, January 21). DC Women’s March brings protesters to National Mal l. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2018/01/20/politics/dc-­womens-march/ index.html Trump, D. (2015, August 8). Like this tweet. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/ intent/like?tweet_id=629997060830425088. Vasel, V. (2017, April 4). 5 things to know about the gender pay gap. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2017/04/04/pf/equal-­pay-day-­gender-pay-­gap/index. html. Walsh, K. T. (2010, March 12). The 1960s: a decade of change for women. Retrieved from www.usnews.com/news/articles/2010/03/12/the-­1960s-a-­decadeof-­change-for-­women. Wiseman, R. (2017). Queen Bees & Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and the Realities of Girl World. London: Piatkus Books. Women’s studies. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://datausa.io/profile/cip/050207/. Wood, S. (2018, January 22). How the Women’s March Won Social Media. Retrieved from www.prnewsonline.com/womens-­march-2018 Woods-­Holder, D. (2018, October 1). Is social media changing society for the better? #MeToo suggests it just might Be. Retrieved from https://thesocialelement.agency/is-­social-media-­changing-society-­for-the-­better-metoo-­suggests-it-­ just-might-­be/. Yan, H. (2015, August 8). Donald Trump’s “blood” comment about Megyn Kelly draws outrage CNNPolitics. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/politics/ donald-­trump-cnn-­megyn-kelly-­comment/index.html. Zilles, C. (2018, May 3). The #MeToo movement shows the power of social media. Retrieved from https://socialmediahq.com/the-­metoo-movement-­shows-the-­ power-of-­social-media/.

Hate, Violence, Terrorism, and Social Media


CHAPTER OVERVIEW In this chapter we consider how issues of hate and violence have been treated on social media. We begin with a brief look at the recent past with respect to hate and violence in the US prior to the arrival of social media and the internet. Next, we look at violence in schools, public places in the US, and abroad. In the second part of the chapter we look at hate and violence in the context of White nationalism and terrorism, both home-­grown and international. We talk about several mass shootings and bombing attacks. We look at the treatment of different people and groups in the context of hate and social media. We look at hate crimes and hate groups throughout the chapter. The presence of hate speech on social media is discussed throughout.

Reacting to violence – In the news Given the content of this chapter, we decided not to present a vignette. Instead, we look at the number of school shootings that occurred in 2018 up to August 2018. A news story published on July 26, 2018 (Allen, 2018) details the mass shootings in America in 2018 (so far). According to a 2013 report from the Office of Congressional Research Service, a mass shooting is described as one in which a shooter will “ ’select victims somewhat indiscriminately’ and kill four or more people in the same incident” (Allen, 2018). This definition does not include gang shootings or domestic incidents. Another definition of mass shooting, according to the Gun Violence Archive, is an incident “in which four or more people are shot, including those who are injured but survive, and not including the shooter.” The Gun Violence Archive (n.d.) offers some interesting statistics. Out of a total number of incidents at 34,715: • •

Number of deaths – 8,703 Number of injuries – 16,942

• • • • • • • •

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Number of children (0 months to 11 years) killed or injured – 412 Number of teens (ages 12–17) killed or injured – 1,727 Mass shooting – 212 Officer involved incident: officer shot or killed – 178 Officer involved incident subject: suspect shot or killed – 1,327 Home invasion – 1,232 Defensive use – 1,074 Unintentional shooting – 1,020 (Gun Violence Archive, n.d.)

In the first 178 days of the year (to July 26, 2018), a reported 154 mass shootings have occurred in the US, with the latest occurring at the Capital Gazette killings in Maryland on June 28. These killings occurred in a newsroom, in which the gunman killed five people in the newspaper office. The shooter entered the newsroom armed, in what is referred to as a “revenge attack” (Allen, 2018). The attack occurred in retaliation by the shooter for having been “exposed” for stalking a woman on Facebook. During the attack, reporters and staff went to Twitter and asked for help, as they hid under their desks. The shooter was taken into custody after murdering five people. The newspaper had received threats from the shooter previously via social media. In 2012, the shooter tried (unsuccessfully) to sue the paper for defamation. According to the latest data, the worst violent gun attack occurred on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, FL – 14 teenagers and three staff were killed, and another 17 were hurt in this shooting rampage.

Tapping into Your Personal Lens 1. What is one of the first mass shootings you remember as if it happened yesterday? Please explain. 2. Have you ever been involved in any type of “lockdown” drill? Please explain. 3. What comes to your mind when you think of the number of mass shootings that have occurred in the recent past in the US?

Discussion The rate of gun violence in the US is increasing. In 2018 alone, at least 154 mass shootings have been reported. You will read about mass shootings that have occurred in Amer­ican schools and classrooms, and other public places. The idea of such violence in public spaces is not new, but it is happening at such a rate, and with 24/7 media and social media coverage, that


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we have only to look at Twitter, Facebook, or the daily news on social media to see the latest shooting. Due to mass shootings, public settings have become prone to violence as never before. These shootings occur in schools, movie theaters, nightclubs, concert venues, churches, and in middle-­class and suburban and rural areas. However, urban schools have been addressing issues of violence for a long time. Since the 1980s, many large districts have employed armed police – not security personnel, but sworn law enforcement, real police. The Los Angeles Unified School District School Police Department is the third largest police force in Los Angeles County, after the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff ’s Department. The Los Angeles Unified School District has also has employed metal detectors in entrances, conducts random searches of students for weapons, and regularly schedules drills for lockdowns. Violence is nothing new for urban communities in the United States. These security procedures were not implemented because of mass shooters. They were implemented because of the daily violence that occurs in the surrounding community which routinely spills onto school campuses. Gang activities that tend to be prevalent in many of these communities include almost daily drive-­by shootings, gang fights, and other gang altercations that move onto campus. In many of the country’s largest urban areas, the local news includes car chases, carjackings (e.g., fugitives avoiding police pursuit. These activities have become so commonplace in urban schools and the surrounding communities that news of mass shootings, although rare in urban minority schools, have elevated the fear factor in these schools (without experiencing a mass shooting) just by virtue of the established protocols students in these school must tolerate throughout their schooling. In the middle school I (Mario) taught at for eight years, a year did not go by without at least one student (ages 11–13) being killed in some type of violent crime – many of the killings were gang-­related. The fact that they are subjected to safety protocols on a daily basis gives the students a sense that they are being treated as if they are “would-­be” criminals. Violence in schools is not only a safety concern. Studies have shown that a higher state of precaution towards violence will impact learning. One cannot focus on learning if one is worried about their safety. As mainstream America mourns its youthful victims, urban America endures life a usual. Violence has come to all of us.

Self-­Assessment 1. How would you describe your understanding of violence in schools and public places? 2. What kind of elementary, middle, or high school did you attend? Did your school have safety procedures for possible violence?

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3. Do you have any concerns about going out to any public places, given the rate of violent acts in the US?

Hate The emergence of faceless and sometimes anonymous “speech” has emboldened people to engage in online hate speech and messages that promote hate. Recently, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has been criticized for allowing Holocaust deniers to post their propaganda on Facebook. A new law in Germany intended to “clamp down” on hate speech and fake news on social media (Schumacher, 2018), was put into effect. Facebook was criticized for seemingly paying little attention to the new law. An independent media investigation in the UK found that, while social media giant Facebook may delete anti-­Semitic posts, it does not delete Holocaust denial posts. The U.K. investigation found that Facebook does not include Holocaust denial in its standards on hate speech. Facebook and social media video platform YouTube recently “published the results of the law on content deletion – numbers that are less than confidence-­inspiring” (Schumacher, 2018). YouTube reported that it had received an estimated 215,000 videos that users believed would incite violence, political extremism, and personal injury. About 27% (58,000) of those complaints were considered to be justified. YouTube notes that they delete these videos within a 24-hour period upon receipt of the complaint, but it could take a week to remove the content. Facebook has been the most commonly used social media platform for the spread of fake news. Holocaust denial is not included in Facebook’s “community standards.” Zuckerberg, who is Jewish, has recently been criticized by human rights groups in Germany and the US by stating that, while he finds it deeply offensive (the Holocaust deniers and their posts), he would not take them down from Facebook. He states: “I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think they’re intentionally getting it wrong” (Schumacher, 2018). This particular statement from Zuckerberg led to a multitude of posts that criticized him for his response. Notably, one video/news post from CNN’s Reliable Sources host, Brian Stelter, looks at the treatment of Holocaust denier posts on Facebook (Lipstadt, 2018). In the video, Stelter talks about “InfoWars” Alex Jones and the hoax that was posted online via Facebook and other social media outlets in which he “prophesized” that the US would have a civil war, beginning on July 4, 2018. InfoWars has a Facebook page with at least one million followers. Oliver Darcy, Senior Media Reporter at CNN, tweeted about an event he attended at Facebook and asked a question on “fake news” and why it


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still allows InfoWars a platform. He received a response from FB. Here is the exchange. Darcy tweeted: “Facebook invited me to an event today where the company aimed to tout its commitment to fighting fake news and misinformation. I asked them why Info Wars is still allowed on the platform. I didn’t get a good answer” (Darcy, 2018a). Facebook responded to the tweet on Facebook, which Darcy included in a Tweet: “We see Pages on both the left and the right pumping out what they consider opinion or analysis – but others call fake news. We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech” (We see pages, 2018). In spite of the U.K. Times newspaper stating that Facebook allowed the promotion of Holocaust denial, suggesting that the murder of 17 million people was a hoax, these posts were not taken down, as they did not meet Facebook’s censor policy. The guidelines for censorship were released for the first time in April 2018. The company came out with a 27-page set of guidelines on April 23, 2018 to address online hate speech, violent imagery, misrepresentation, terrorist propaganda, and disinformation (Wong & Solon, 2018). An added piece to the new policy includes the opportunity for users to appeal Facebook’s decisions. The company has been criticized by civil rights groups when Facebook has removed stories about people being victimized. Currently there are 7,500 reviewers assigned to review questionable posts 24 hours a day, every day. Reviewers represent 40 different languages and moderators and live in different cities, and in other countries outside of the US, e.g., Austin, TX, Dublin, Ireland, and the Philippines. The Facebook content review team includes “high-­level experts including a human rights lawyer, a rape counselor, a counter-­terrorism expert from West Point and a researcher with a doctorate who has expertise in European extremist organizations” (Dwoskin & Jan, 2018). Facebook has also been criticized by civil rights groups for allowing pages that represent White supremacists to stay on the platform. Zahra Billoo, who is executive director of the Council on Amer­ican-­Islamic Relations’ office for the San Francisco Bay Area, notes (Dwoskin & Jan, 2018): An ongoing question many of the Muslim community have been asking is how to be better at protecting users from hate speech and not to be hijacked by white supremacists, right-­wing activists, Republicans or Russians as a means of organizing against Muslim, LGBT and undocumented individuals. Professor Deborah Lipstadt (2018) writes: What Zuckerberg fails to understand – even though he claims this was not his aim – is that by saying deniers aren’t “intentionally” getting

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things wrong, he leaves open the possibility that they could be right. For someone with Zuckerberg’s massive profile and platform, this is breathtakingly irresponsible. Holocaust denial relies on such a robust set of illogical untruths that it is only possible to be a denier on purpose contrary to what Zuckerberg says, intentionally. Lipstadt logically and coherently argues that, in order for the denial to be true, many people, former soldiers of the Second World War on all sides, civilians, and government officials, would have had to be part of the “conspiracy” or “in” on the hoax.

The emboldening of hate crimes, groups, and speech? Did the presidential primary and election of President Donald Trump embolden the resurfacing of hate crime and hate groups in America? In a recent article, Newsweek reported a 17.6% increase in hate crimes in California from 2016 to 2017 (Porter, 2018). Some experts blame President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and suggest that it has helped the surge. Notably, this is the third year in a row where hate crimes in California have increased by 44% in the following categories: race, religion, and sexual orientation. The data show an increase of hate crimes against Latinos, with an increase of 51% from 2016. African Amer­icans were targeted most frequently, with 27.6% of hate-­based offenses against the group. Gay men were the victims of 15.7% of hate crimes. Religion-­based hate crimes increased, with anti-­Semitic crimes up 26.8%, and crimes against Muslims up by 24.3% (Porter, 2018). Professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, makes a connection between social media and White nationalism: I think people, particularly with bigots, they are now more emboldened, and we are seeing this across a spectrum of data points. [That’s clear] if you look at bigoted social media posts, if you look at the number of white nationalist rallies across the nation and in California. (In Queally, 2018) Levin further states that changing demographics and an increased number of organized hate groups in California have contributed to the rise of hate crimes in the state. Hate crimes in California had been decreasing between 2007 and 2014, with a low of 758 according to the report. Professor Levin notes that the increase in hate crimes may have something to do with the nature of social media and regular comments made about groups like immigrants, LGBTQ, to name a couple.


Hate, Violence, Terrorism, and Social Media

It has been argued by various news platforms, commentators, and panels that the election of Donald Trump to the presidency has emboldened hate speech and, by extension, hate crimes. The Reverend Amos Brown notes that President Trump’s rhetoric regarding immigrants and developing countries contributed to the surge in hate speech and hate crimes: “This president has emboldened those who are perpetrators of hate with his rhetoric, his vulgarity and with his outright abusive language attacking people from Caribbean Islands and from Africa. It begins at the top” (Cabanatuan, 2018). Has hate always been at the invisible level of the Amer­ican mainstream? That is, has it always been there but rarely brought to the surface in the past? Has social media shed a light on (or brought to the surface) the issue of hate? To answer this question, you have only to look at the various comments from other fellow social media users as they react to different stories in the news and other types of stories that make it into the Amer­ ican social media landscape, e.g., immigrants, being Black while having a BBQ, or going to Starbucks while being Latino and having the barista write “Beaner” on the cup (in lieu of his name). Violence and hate in the US is not new; they have always been a part of the Amer­ican legacy. What is shocking is that recent incidents involving hate and violence have taken place at a time in Amer­ican history when legal and social equality was believed by many to be fully infused into US society. Many social critics had articulated that – with the passage of Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Immigration Act of 1965, Bilingual Education Act of 1968, and the election of the first Black Amer­ican president, Barack Obama in 2008, etc. – modern-­day America had progressed to a post-­racial, post-­prejudicial period that was respectful of diversity and difference. It seems that the social critics were wrong, as racism, religious intolerance, and anti-­LGBTQ hate crimes have increased in the US. As mentioned previously, hate crimes jumped for the fourth straight year in the US in the country’s 10 largest cities. Hate crimes jumped by 12% in 2017, thereby reaching the highest level in a decade (Hauslohner, 2018).

#LivingWhileBlack A day does not go by when some person of color (or other identifiable group, such as the LGBTQ community) is harassed because of their ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion or other prejudice the perpetrator holds toward their victim. In terms of “petty hate harassment,” we have heard the story of a White person calling the police on a group of Black and brown people for doing ordinary things. Take, for example, the White woman who called the police on two Black men who were going to

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barbecue with a charcoal grill at Lake Merritt, CA (Wootson, 2018). The unidentified woman walked up to the pair and told them that they were not allowed to have a charcoal grill at the lake. One of the men, Onsayo Abram, told her that there was no sign prohibiting such activity and that he believed he was in the correct area. The woman did not stop and decided to call the police. When the gentlemen suggested she “go on about your day and leave me alone,” she answered, “No, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I’m gonna need you to shut this down, or I’m gonna call the police [sic].” Abram responded, “I’m like, ‘Do what you need to do’ ” Abram recalled, “I’m gonna continue to enjoy my day” (Guzman, 2018). Abram said the woman called Lake Merritt “my park” and that “you guys shouldn’t be here, you shouldn’t be doing this.” The woman reportedly hung around for about two hours while she said she was calling the police. When another friend, Kenzie Smith, arrived (who also happens to be Black), he called his wife Michelle Snider (who is White) and asked her to come over. Soon after, Snider began to video the woman calling the police and said she called her out: “If you’re here this long, is it really about charcoal and the police, or is it really because you don’t want two black men having a barbecue? … I just didn’t see any reason why there was a threat.” Police finally arrived and both parties filed harassment reports. The video of the woman confronting the two Black men was shared and viewed “thousands of times.” Other examples of #LivingWhileBlack continue to occur. In early June 2018, an 8-year-­old Black child was selling water to passers-­by on the sidewalk outside a San Francisco apartment building. Shortly after, a White woman was calling the police on her cell phone as she “paces back and forth on a sidewalk outside” the apartment building (Sweeney, 2018). Another woman started to film the woman on the phone and can be overheard on the video: “This woman don’t want to let a little girl sell some water; she be [sic] calling police on an 8-year-­old little girl.’ ” The woman calling to complain about the child was dubbed “#PermitPatty” and the video went viral on Instagram and Twitter. The woman in the video said that the girl and her mother had been “shouting at passers-­by as they sold bottled water from a cooler for several hours while she tried to work from home on her cannabis pet product company” (Sweeney, 2018). Another Black child mowing a lawn had the police called on him. In June 2018, a 12-year-­old middle-­schooler of Mr. Reggie’s Lawn Service, and his two cousins and sister who “provided manual labor in their neighborhood outside Cleveland,” had the police called on them. As Reggie and his helpers were finishing up the lawn, the local police of Maple Heights drove up to the house where the children were working. The owner of the home, Lucille Holt-­Colden, had hired the children to mow her lawn. She filmed the police talking with the children. Her video “This is RIDICULOUS” went viral. The neighbor who called the police is White and Holt-­Colden is Black. The children were not cited (Madden, 2018).


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There have been other reports about #LivingWhileBlack (Wootson, 2018). Other incidents of #LivingWhileBlack continue to occur and make their way to social media through videos placed on social network sites like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook. We witnessed the Black female PhD student taking a nap in the common area of her residence hall at Yale in May 2018, only to have a White female resident call the police on her – presumably for being Black while taking a nap in the common area. The incident of the Yale student was captured on video, which was widely shared on social media. The graduate student had fallen asleep in the common area of her residence hall when she was startled awake by a White student who “flipped on the lights, told her she had no right to sleep there and called the campus police” (Caron, 2018). The graduate student, Lolade Siyonbola, posted a 17-minute video of her encounter with the police. The woman who called the police said, “I have every right to call the police. You cannot sleep in that room,” and reported “an unauthorized person” in the common area (Caron, 2018). During the video, several officers are seen talking with Ms. Siyonbola. One of them notes:  We need to make sure that you belong here.” It took a while for the police to confirm her identity. Yale’s Vice President for Student Life noted in an email to all graduate students that she was “deeply troubled” by what had happened and that “this incident and others recently reported to me underscore that we have work to do to make Yale not only excellent but also inclusive. (Caron, 2018)

Black Men Arrested at Starbucks On April 12, 2018, in a well-­publicized incident, two Black men were arrested inside a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia as they waited for a third party for a business meeting. The men did not order coffee and had decided to wait until the third person arrived. One of the men asked to use the restroom but they were told “No” because they hadn’t ordered anything. They were asked to leave but declined. The police were called. Once the police arrived, the incident was video-­recorded. The two men were handcuffed and, as they were being led out of the Starbucks, the third person, who happens to be White, arrived. The video shows the police asking him if he was with the two men. He answered “Yes” and asked why they (the police) had been called and continued, “Because there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?” (Stevens, 2018). The two men were arrested for trespassing, but Starbucks declined to press charges. Soon after the video was released, it went viral, with over eight million views on Twitter. Although the company apologized on Twitter, #BoycottStarbucks trended on Twitter. As a result of this incident and several others, most

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Starbucks across the country closed their doors for mandatory racial bias training on May 29, 2018. There are certainly other incidents of other people having the police called for “being Black.” On April 30, 2018, three Black women at an Airbnb in California had the police called on them by a neighbor after the women did not “wave” back at her. This happened in Rialto, CA, which is about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles. The women were met by police as they were leaving the Airbnb. Although they were traveling with a fourth woman, who is White, the caller only identified the three Black women. The Black women were asked to put their hands up in the air as the women tried to explain that they had stayed at the Airbnb. They were detained for up to 45 minutes. One of the women said she had seen the neighbor but didn’t see her wave (Andone, 2018).

#LivingWhileBrown We’ve seen the videos on YouTube and Facebook of Latinos being harassed and told to go back to where they came from, etc. Recently, a woman wearing a shirt with the flag of Puerto Rico was told by a White man that she had no right to wear that shirt in the US. (The person harassing the woman is videotaped and was shown widely on Facebook Live. She was there to set up for a party and had reserved the space. The man came into her space and harassed her. This person did not know that Puerto Rico is part of the United States. Notably, there was a police officer present, but he did not do anything to stop the harasser.) The policeman was put on desk duty until an investigation into the incident could be completed. Ricardo Rossello, the Governor of Puerto Rico, tweeted: Ricardo Rossello @ricardorossello 9 Jul Today a video surfaced of an undignified event in which a Puerto Rican woman was brutally harassed by a bigot while an officer did not interfere. I am appalled, shocked & disturbed by the officer’s behavior www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/2152660761432069/… @DavidBegnaud @ACLU (Diebel, 2018)

Latino at Starbucks in La Cañada, CA In May 2018, a Latino customer at a Starbucks in La Cañada, CA (a 40-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles), ordered two cups of coffee. When he received his coffee order, the man, Pedro, noticed that instead of


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having his name written on the cup, the barista had written “beaner” (a racial slur toward Latinos) written on his cup. Starbucks offered him a $50 gift card, which he described as “an insult.” A person who knows Pedro tweeted out to Starbucks about the incident. Starbucks tweeted back: “Thank you for letting us know, Priscilla. This is not the welcoming experience we aim to provide, and we have reached out to this customer to apologize and make this right” (Mejia, 2018).

Latinos in West LA to Do Repairs, Woman Throws Hot Coffee at One of the Men’s Face On August 4, 2018, a woman was seen on video throwing a cup of hot coffee at the face of Latino contractor, Miguel Sanchez, who with a colleague was trying to enter the condominium where they were scheduled to complete work/repairs requested by the owners. The incident took place in an “upscale” community in Century City. The woman, who is White, confronted the two men and later stated that she was trying to protect her property. Sanchez said: “She was calling us wetbacks, and that they were probably there to steal stuff.” He recorded the video after all the racial comments started. She said there had been recent burglaries from the garage and questioned why the men were trying to get into the building. In the video, Sanchez can be heard saying: “There’s a lady being super racist and crazy right now. She doesn’t let us in; we work here.” Sanchez called LAPD when the woman threw coffee at him. He declined to press charges, as he was afraid it could impact his relationship with the company who’d contracted him. Several Latino groups and one of her neighbors staged a protest outside her home. The woman said she wanted to “set the record straight” and that “she never meant any harm” (Wynter & Flores, 2018).

Employees at New York Restaurant Told to Speak English by Customer In May 2018, a customer told several employees in a New York restaurant to speak English. The man, who happened to be a lawyer and White, overheard the employees speaking English. He told the employees he was going to report them to the U..S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, and accused them of being in the US illegally. Customers laughed at him. A video emerged and went viral. It was posted to Facebook, and in it you can see the man is very angry because he heard employees speaking Spanish to customers. The man tells an employee: “Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English … This is America” (Moye, 2018). The lawyer was identified as Aaron Schlossberg and, several days later, a protest occurred

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outside his apartment: “A GoFundMe campaign titled ‘Mariachis for Aaron Schlossberg’ was created to raise money to throw a Latin party outside the attorney’s apartment with a mariachi band and taco truck. The campaign raised over $1000 in one day” (Mariachi band plays outside apartment, 2018). You have only to look at the almost daily social media posts that take aim at people of color to see that racial and ethnic hate has not been eliminated in the US; instead, it was buried just below the surface of acceptable societal behavior. It leads one to ask if the election of Donald Trump has increased the instances of hate and petty hate instances. The President of the United States has called Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists,” has referred to Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nigeria as “shit hole countries,” and Muslims are seen as a security risk. These types of comments by the US President may have given license to closeted racists to come out and exercise their racist behavior in real time, online, and on social media. There has been a strong correlation between the 2016 presidential election and the increase in hate crimes (Williams, 2018).

Hate Crime and People of Color People of color have not only experienced harassment, but many have been physically attacked or killed. Two engineers from India, who worked legally in the United States, were shot by a man who observed them having an after-­work drink. Referred to as the “Jameson guys” by some of the staff, they were sitting outside the bar having an after-­work whiskey and were approached by a White male who asked them if they were here legally and what kind of passport they had. The man also made racial slurs toward the two men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani. He was escorted from the bar, only to return later to shoot at the two men – killing Mr. Kuchibhotla, wounding Mr. Madasai and another man, Ian Grillot (age 24), who had tried to intercede (Eligon et al., 2017).

Anti-­Semitism Increase The increase of anti-­Semitism is something that most social critics have missed. There is no group more integrated in the Amer­ican mainstream and upper echelons of US mainstream society at large than the Amer­ican Jewish community, yet anti-­Semitism has sky-­rocketed. It is counter-­ intuitive that a community so educated, economically powerful, politically well placed, entrenched in academe, media, and art would be so maligned by White Amer­ican nationalist hate groups. Most Jews live their lives within mainstream America and many supported the election of Donald


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Trump, yet the Jews are hated as profoundly as African Amer­icans, Latinos, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community. Why?  It seems that anti-­Semitism is an heirloom from the 20th century, in which the eugenics movement, Nazis, and master-­race theories developed a system for ranking all the ethnicities of the world, placing White northwestern Europeans first (the theorists concluded that, because this group was the whitest and had developed the greatest civilization in the world, they were the “master race”). Modern Amer­ican anti-­Semitism is a throwback to Nazi Germany, which used anti-­Semites to scapegoat Jews as a “those people who were the cause of their problems.” History teaches us that German anti-­Semitism led to the Final Solution, the Nazi program to kill all Jews in German-­controlled lands.  Modern Amer­ican anti-­Semitism has sent a strong message that, regardless of their education, prominence, and money, Jews are not considered part of the Amer­ican mainstream. Consider the “Unite the Right” march in 2017 in Charlottesville, VA, in which White nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us.” This chant, along with the march, billed itself as a White nationalist attempt to preserve the White race. White nationalists do not consider Jews as part of the White race.

Shootings in Schools and Public Places: Historical Context This section starts by looking at several school and public space shootings that occurred prior to the advent of social media and the internet, and which many of our students are unaware of.  On January 29, 1979, 16-year-­old Brenda Ann Spencer of San Carlos, CA (a suburb of San Diego), opened fire at 8:30 a.m. from a perch as she looked down at students arriving at Grover Cleveland Elementary School (Bovsum, 2013). According to newspaper accounts, she was bored and didn’t want to go to school on Monday. She told one reporter that “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” She ended up shooting and killing Principal Burton Wragg (age 53), who had run outside to try and clear the children out of the range of the shooting. The school custodian, Mike Suchar (56), had run out to help Principal Wragg and he was fatally shot. The first police officer to arrive, Officer Robert Robb of the San Diego police, arrived first and was shot in the neck. He survived. Another officer and security guard from a nearby high school took over a garbage truck and drove and parked it in front of the school in order to block the line of fire for the sniper, Brenda Ann Spencer. Eight children were wounded. Like other school shootings which occurred much later, her parents were divorced, she lived with her father and two siblings, and was “another troubled youth and became obsessed with gore rocker Alice Cooper”

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(Bovsum, 2013). She was said to be an experienced sharpshooter, like her father, who had given her a .22 rifle for Christmas along with 400 rounds of ammunition. The newspaper article notes that she had bragged that she was going to do something to “get her on TV.” The attack on the school lasted 15 minutes and the standoff with law enforcement lasted six hours, until she surrendered. She was sentenced to 25 years to life, with the possibility of parole after 25 years. In 2005, she applied for parole which was not granted. She will be eligible again in 2019. An interesting fact about this mass shooting was that Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Boomtown Rats, was inspired by the school shooting to write the song “I don’t like Mondays,” which topped the UK’s music charts the summer after the shootings. According to Bovsum, her shooting rampage became “an inspiration for later generations of angry young Monsters” (2013). It is also suggested that this shooting inspired later school shootings, such as Columbine in 1998. Another shooting that occurred in a public place prior to the internet and social media occurred on July 18, 1984 at a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, CA (again, a suburb of San Diego). The killer, James Huberty (41), shot and killed 21 people, injured 19 others before being fatally shot by a SWAT team sniper. We recall watching the TV coverage of this horrifying event. If memory serves us right, all the major networks covered the mass shooting, showing the killer dressed in camouflage pants and a black T-­shirt as he snuck up on the McDonald’s restaurant. He was heavily armed with a shotgun, rapid-­fire rifle, and a handgun. According to newspaper accounts, he was depressed and had called for a mental health appointment on July 17 after earlier telling his wife that he thought he was mentally ill. He didn’t receive a response from the mental health provider. On the morning before the McDonald’s shooting rampage, he took his wife and two daughters to eat at another neighboring McDonald’s after a visit to San Diego Zoo. After they returned home from the zoo, he is said to have told his wife that he was “going hunting for humans” because “society had their chance” (referring to the mental health clinic that didn’t call him back). His victims ranged in age from a 4-month-­old baby girl to an 84-year-­old man. Five of the people he murdered were under 11 years old. He killed people inside the McDonald’s as well as outside, as he murdered two young boys who had rode up on their bicycles to order hamburgers. At that time, it was the worst shooting in US history by a single gunman (Unstable dad killed 21 innocent people, 2017). On August 15, 1996, student Frederick Martin Davidson shot three professors at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA, at what was supposed to be the defense of his master’s thesis. The three faculty members and three other students who had shown up to support Davidson during the defense of his master’s in Mechanical Engineering were all in the classroom (Professors Chen Liang, D. Preston Lowery III, and Constantinos Lyrintzis


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were all killed by Davidson before the defense had even started). According to a newspaper account, Davidson had walked into the classroom for a 2:00 p.m. meeting with the three faculty members to respond to their evaluation of his work (Perry & Malnic, 1996). According to Sergeant Rod Vandiver, “At the beginning of the presentation, Davidson produced a 9-millimeter handgun and began firing at panel members” (in Perry & Malnic, 1996). And “He fired more than 20 rounds, reloading once.” None of the students in the classroom were injured, as it was not Davidson’s intention to harm them. Davidson was taken into custody by campus police. Soon after the incident, “parents were calling to inquire about the safety of their children.” This fatal shooting event was covered in the newspapers and local news networks. At the time, Lillian was a professor at the neighboring San Marcos campus of the California State University, about 40 miles inland from the San Diego campus. There was some discussion about the shooting and concerns about student, staff, and faculty safety.

Shootings in Schools In this section we review of four of the most recent school shootings that were widely covered in the news, media, and social media, including Sandy Hook Elementary School (the shooting on December 14, 2012, of 20 children age six and seven, plus six adult staff members). We also look at a university mass shooting: Isla Vista shooting (near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara on May 23, 2014, in which six died – three by stabbing and three by gunfire); Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland (shooting on February 14, 2018, in which 17 people died). We begin by lookiung back at the incident on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, to provide a recent historic context for the school shootings discussed.

Columbine High School, Littleton, CO This was the first school shooting in recent past to gain notoriety in the news and media. It occurred on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School and is one of the most widely covered violent shootings leading up to the 21st century. The gunmen were both students at the school: Eric Harris (18) and Dylan Klebold (17), and the shooting occurred close to lunchtime, at approximately 11:35 a.m. They killed 12 students and one teacher, and wounded 20 others. Originally, they had planned to bomb the school. They arrived at the school around 11:10 a.m. and walked into the cafeteria with two duffel bags, each of which contained a 20-pound propane bomb which was set to go off at 11:17 a.m. They returned to their cars and waited for the bombs to go off, but when the bombs did not detonate, they

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went back to the cafeteria and started their shooting spree. Some speculate that the shooters targeted athletes, popular kids, minorities, and Christians. The shooters were said to be part of a group of kids at the school called the “trench-­coat mafia.” Both students were said to be loners and were said to have been bullied (Brown & Merritt, 2006). Various books and articles have been written about the events at Columbine. One of the themes that appears across these writings points to the shooters being “antisocial” and removed from the mainstream of the student population. Various individuals have posited that the shooters suffered from mental illness: Harris is described as a psychopath, “rage filled, egotistical, lacking conscience,” and Kiebold as “psychotic, suffering from paranoia, delusions and disorganized thinking” (Langman, 2010).

Sandy Hook Elementary School The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took place on December 14, 2012, while school was in session. Prior to the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook, the shooter shot and killed his own mother at their home, then left for Sandy Hook. Although the school required all visitors to check in at the front office, the gunman was able to shoot his way through a glass door that allowed him access into the school. Principal Dawn Hoch­ sprung was in a meeting with school psychologist Mary Sherlach, along with other faculty members. When they heard the shots, Principal Hochsprung, Sherlach, and lead teacher Natalie Hammond went into the hall to figure out the source of the sounds (which they did not know were gunshots) and they saw the gunman, Adam Lanza. Other faculty members heard the women call out, “Shooter! Stay put!” Lanza killed both Principal Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach. Hammond was shot in the leg and then suffered another gunshot wound. The shooter concentrated on the two first-­grade classrooms closest to the front of the school. In all, he murdered 20 children age six and seven, all first-­graders. Along with the children, six teachers were also murdered as they tried to protect their students. In the first classroom, which was a first-­grade classroom, the shooter murdered substitute class teacher Lauren Rousseau. She had taken the first-­graders to the back of the classroom, trying to hide them in the bathroom. Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, a behavioral therapist who worked with special needs students, and 15 children were all killed. After completing these murders, the shooter entered the next first-­grade classroom, where he murdered teacher Victoria Leigh Soto and five of her students, along with teacher’s aide Anne Marie Murphy, who worked with special needs students in Soto’s classroom. She was found covering 6-year-­old student Dylan Hockley, who also died. This horrific tragedy had survivors. One teacher, Kaitlin Roig, hid her 14 students in the bathroom and barricaded the door. She had a piece of


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black construction paper covering the small window on the classroom door, and some believe that the black construction paper saved her life and those of her students, as the shooter may have thought it was an unused classroom, so never tried to enter it. Two librarian staff, Yvonne Cech and Maryann Jacob, hid 18 children in a storage room and barricaded a door with a filing cabinet. Two grade three students, who were walking to the office to deliver morning attendance, were pulled to safety by teacher Abbey Clements. Music teacher Maryrose Kristopik hid her fourth-­graders in a supply closet during the shooting. Reading specialist Laura Feinstein gathered two students from outside her classroom and hid them under the desks.  The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school or elementary school in the United States. The killing of such young children and their teachers prompted renewed dialogue by private citizens and lawmakers across the country about gun control. President Barack Obama ordered the lowering of all flags at half-­ staff in all federal buildings across the United States, and worldwide in all US federal government buildings, out of respect for the victims. In televised comments to the Amer­ican people, he stated: “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics” (Brady, 2012). The murderer’s father released a statement the day after the shootings: Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured. Our family is grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy. No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.  (Associated Press, 2012) The murders at Sandy Hook were followed worldwide. Condolences came in from different countries. Children in Pakistan lit candles in tribute to the victims at Sandy Hook, and from places as far away as Haiti and the Philippines. Vigils were held across the United States in memory of the children and adults killed at Sandy Hook. Teachers from other countries described “a kinship they felt for those women who died protecting their charges.” An elementary school teacher from Pakistan, Ghulam Murtaza, said, “May Allah give courage to all families to face it bravely, may the souls of those angel’s rest in peace” (Brown, 2012). Many people from around the world questioned the gun laws in the US. Canadian Lisa Garnier noted that she and her husband were so “devastated” by the shooting that they both sat down and cried. “What else would your

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reaction be?” she asked. She continued, “It doesn’t matter where you were. Anyone who heard it had to take a moment to sit down. It’s horrible” (Brown, 2012). The Sandy Hook tragedy prompted an international outcry and shocked so many people that people who were usually quiet or did not speak up took a stand: “Whether it’s showing support, lobbying for gun control, promoting mental health initiatives or calling for school lockdowns, people who don’t normally speak” (Rutledge, 2012). Because such a horrific event was spread across network news, local news, international news, cable television, and social media – with what seemed like 24/7 coverage – the events of Sandy Hook were amplified. In this instance, social media was used as a forum for the public to express their reactions and feelings about what happened: “People actively look to see what others are experiencing through words and images in real time.” Rutledge (2012) observes that social media, and the access that so many people have to it, allows us the space to express our feelings of anger, sadness, and allows a collective outpouring of empathy: The immediacy of social media creates a greater sense of presence and with that has come an outpouring of empathy for those who are suffering – much more so than ever before in pre-­Internet days when we relied on our car radio or the Nightly News. In the common expression across social media, we are able to find a place to express and validate our anger and alarm and try to make sense of the senseless.

The Use of Sandy Hook Victims to Promote “Conspiracy Theories” The outpouring of support for Sandy Hook was also met with unsavory instances of “fake news accounts,” including the conspiracy theory that the events of that tragic day of shooting and multiple deaths was in fact a “hoax.” Alex Jones is one such conspiracy theorist. He runs a website, Infowar.com, devoted to conspiracy theories and “fake news”, which is a web-­based radio and video network that has promulgated the theory that Sandy Hook was a “staged” event by Democrats to push for a gun control agenda. Shortly after the murders at Sandy Hook, Jones began to talk about the events at Sandy Hook as being a “hoax” – that is, that the shootings never happened. He said that the children and teachers and staff were crisis actors and that they all were “in” on the hoax, including the children that died. He has also “theorized” that the US government was behind the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and 9/11, and has accused the US government of filming (i.e., staging) the Moon landings. Many of the parents of children who were murdered at Sandy Hook have been harassed through phone calls and on social media by Alex Jones’


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followers. They have been told that their children aren’t dead or that they never existed. The parents of Noah Pozner, the youngest victim of the Sandy Hook murders, have received “hate-­filled calls and violent emails from people who say they know the shooting was a hoax. Photos of their son – some with pornographic and anti-­Semitic content – have been distributed on websites” (Demick, 2017). In the article “In an age of ‘alternative facts,’ a massacre of schoolchildren is called a hoax,” Demick (2017) writes about the conspiracy theory that the shooting and killing at Sandy Hook was a staged event engineered by advocates for gun control, and theorizes that the whole mass shooting and killing of the 20 children and the six adults did not happen. Demick raises the question of the role of alternative facts and fake news and the “contentious debate over the nature of truth.”  The idea of fake news is not new. It is a strategy used to propagandize one’s beliefs, to question the truth. One of the first places we hear of the existence of “alternative facts” in mainstream media was during a televised interview between Senior Advisor to President Trump, Kelly Anne Conway, and Chuck Todd of Meet the Press. Todd asked Conway about the overexaggerated claims made by Sean Spicer, then Press Secretary under the Trump administration – “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period” in the history of the United States. Here is the exchange: Conway stated, “You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving – Sean Spicer, our press secretary – gave alternative facts,” she said. Todd responded: “Alternative facts aren’t facts, they are falsehoods.” Conway then tried to pivot to policy points. But later in the interview, Todd pressed Conway again on why the White House sent Spicer out to make false claims about crowd size, asking: “What was the motive to have this ridiculous litigation of crowd size?” “Your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That’s not your job,” Conway said. Todd followed up: “Can you please answer the question? Why did he do this? You have not answered it – it’s only one question.” Conway said: “I’ll answer it this way: Think about what you just said to your viewers. That’s why we feel compelled to go out and clear the air and put alternative facts out there.” (Braner, 2017) What are alternative facts? The Collins Dictionary definition is: Noun 1. A theory posited as an alternative to another, more widely accepted, theory.

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Facetious 2. A statement intended to contradict another more verifiable, but less palatable, statement. Both President Trump and former national security advisor, Michael T. Flynn have been “open enthusiasts” of Alex Jones’ InfoWars. Jones, who supports President Trump, states that he received a personal phone call after the presidential election to say thank you to Jones. We wonder why the Sandy Hook hoax theory has such an abundance of followers. And we agree with the notion that, in a time when the US is engaged in an ongoing and controversial debate over the “nature of truth,” the time is ripe for supporters of alternative facts and hoax theories. Noah Pozner’s father believes his family was targeted because they are Jewish. He states that he tried to address the “hoaxers” with responses about his son – that he really had lived. He even shared Noah’s kindergarten report card and the comment his teacher had written: “Noah is a sweet, inquisitive boy and I feel very fortunate to have had him in my class this year” (Demick, 2017). Pozner went on to found the HONR Network. According to its website, they are: “dedicated to stopping the continual and intentional torment of victims.” The “About us” section continues with: After suffering the agonizing emotional pain of the loss of a loved one to violence, grieving family members are forced to endure emotional stress in the form of hostile confrontation, online slander and defamation, and disparagement of the memory of their loved one, as well as the denigration of the tribulation they have experienced as a result of the death of their loved one. No one should have to endure such hateful treatment at the hands of their fellow members of society, especially after suffering a profound loss to an unspeakable act of violence. (Sandy Hook HONR Network, n.d.) Pozner has continued to fight conspiracy theories that have emerged after other mass shootings – such as the ones that occurred on February 14, 2018, at Marjorie Stoneman High School in Parkland, FL; and November 5, 2017, at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland, TX, where 26 people were killed.

More on Conspiracy Theories and Social Media Alex Jones’ personal Facebook account was suspended on July 26, 2018 for 30 days. At the time of suspension, Facebook had received complaints about four different videos on his Facebook page, which were found to be in


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v­ iolation of the community standards. The content of the videos was not disclosed (Darcy, 2018b). According to a spokesperson, the community standards “make it clear that we prohibit content that encourages physical harm [bullying], or attacks someone based on their religious affiliation or gender identity [hate speech].” This is not the first time Jones has been put on notice for violating Facebook’s policies. Suspension means that he cannot post personal information or InfoWars or anything on his Facebook page. At the time the videos were taken down, Jones maintained his personal profile, including the Alex Jones and InfoWars pages. Also, administrators of the page (not Jones) could still post content to the page. It should also be noted that, according to the Facebook spokesperson, “the pages were ‘close’ to meeting the unspecified threshold of violations that would result in Facebook unpublishing the pages, but that for now the pages had not crossed that line.” Jones has accused CNN of trying to take away his free speech (he has been the subject of reports from some of the cable networks that his InfoWars network has published falsified accounts of what happened at Sandy Hook, 9/11, and other large-­scale attacks on schools and other public places). In one instance, he called on CNN to “cease and desist.” As a matter of clarification, the cable network has not called on a ban to Jones or InfoWars, although it has reported on social platforms that spread misinformation, including conspiracy theories. CNN has also questioned why Jones’ pages have remained without any disciplinary action and suggested Facebook did not follow its own community standards. Facebook removed the videos the day after YouTube had removed four videos posted by Jones. YouTube gave Jones a “strike” – which means that he will be unable to livestream for three months. The videos that were placed on YouTube contained content on anti-­Muslim hate speech and other groups. One video dealt with an adult showing a child the ground with the heading “How to prevent liberalism.” YouTube issued this statement to CNN Money: “We have long standing policies against child endangerment and hate speech,” said the statement from Google (which owns YouTube). Further, “We apply our policies consistently according to the content in the videos, regardless of the speaker or the channel” (YouTube, Apple and Facebook, 2018). This is the YouTube statement on removing Jones’ page: All users agree to comply with out Terms of Service and Community guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube. When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts. (Salinas, 2018) Most recently, leading media platforms YouTube and Apple joined Facebook and shut down channels and pages (respectively) associated with

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Alex Jones (Rondinone, 2018). The shutting down of Jones’ Facebook page came on Monday, August 6, 2018 after the social media platform had already taken down the videos mentioned previously. Facebook noted: “Upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence … and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies” (Riley, 2018). Apple and YouTube joined Facebook removing Jones’ pages later the same day. Jones has a reported 2.4 million subscribers to his YouTube channel. There have been at least 1.5 billion views of his YouTube channel, so by taking down Jones’ Facebook, YouTube, and Apple platforms, some believe this will greatly impact the reach that Jones has had to spread his various messages (for example, that the shootings at Sandy Hook never happened or that 9/11 was a government-­sponsored event). Some believe that he will no longer have the huge platform to spread his conspiracy theory that the children and adults who died at Sandy Hook were “crisis actors.” It should be noted that, family members of the victims have received ongoing threats. Many of the threats have come as a result of Jones’ InfoWars videos, Facebook page, and Apple podcasts. YouTube released the following statement regarding the takedown of the Jones and InfoWars channels: “When users violate … policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts” (Riley, 2018). Apple also confirmed that it deleted five InfoWars podcasts from iTunes: “Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users” and “Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.” (Murphy & Darcy, 2018) Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa wrote an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and asked him to take down the negative, incendiary messages posted on InfoWars and related pages: While terms you use, like “fake news” or “fringe conspiracy groups,” sound relatively innocuous, let me provide you with some insight into the effects of allowing your platform to continue to be used as an instrument to disseminate hate. We have endured online, telephone, and in-­person harassment, abuse, and death threats. In fact, one of the abusers was sentenced to jail for credible death threats that she admitted


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in court she had uttered because she believed in online content created by these “fringe groups.” In order to protect ourselves and our surviving children, we have had to relocate numerous times. These groups use social media, including Facebook, to “hunt” us, posting our home address and videos of our house online. We are currently living in hiding. We are far from alone in our experiences, as many other families who have lost loved ones in mass shootings and other tragedies have reported the same continuing torment. (Pozner & De La Rosa, 2018) Other parents filed a lawsuit in Connecticut against Jones. Their lawsuit stated that Jones’ hoax theory and comments have subjugated them to death threats and other forms of harassment from his followers (Weber, 2018). These families argue that because of Jones’ comments on InfoWars, they have been harassed by and received death threats from his followers. Interestingly, Jones argues that he “was acting as a journalist.” Several activist groups emerged after the Sandy Hook tragedy. The Sandy Hook Promise emerged soon after the shooting – while they support gun control, their approach is different from other groups in that they are trying to do the “slow steady work of shifting public opinion about guns,” as stated by Mark Barden, whose young son, Daniel, was one of the children murdered on December 14, 2012 (Altimari, 2016). The group aim is to “change the hearts of Amer­icans, one person at a time.” Barden likens their objective to more of a “social movement,” like the marriage equality or the anti-­drunk driving agenda of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving – both movements that were successful in changing public opinion to some extent. One of the first public service announcements they released was in 2016 – a video, “Evan,” which lasts two minutes and 30 seconds. I (Lillian) recall students in my Diversity/ Multicultural course showing me this video, which went viral. It depicts a high school that seems to depict everyday “things” kids do. Throughout the short video, kids go about their business and there is one student, Evan, that no one seems to notice. He ends up being the quiet, almost invisible student who, in the end, brings a gun to school and opens fire on a group of students who are signing yearbooks. We include a link to the video at the end of this chapter. Sandy Hook Promise continues to do the important work of “broadening the focus to include mental health, training and education” (Altimari, 2016).

Isla Vista Shooting One shooting occurred near the University of California, Santa Barbara in the neighboring college town of Isla Vista on May 23, 2014. The shooting made national news as the events unfolded that there had been a series of

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shootings in Isla Vista. When the rampage was over, six people had been killed and 14 others injured. The violence started when the perpetrator, Elliot Rodger, age 22, stabbed three of his roommates inside their apartment. Afterward, he shot three females outside a sorority house, killing two of them. He continued speeding through the university/beach town and killed a male student inside a deli. The killer drove around Isla Vista shooting and wounding pedestrians, and committed suicide when his car crashed into a parked car and he came to a stop. The killer used social media platform YouTube to post a video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution.” In the video, which he posted only hours before the shooting spree, uploading it at 9:17 p.m., he talks about the attack he is going to carry out. He describes how he has been rejected by women and that he envied sexually active men, so wanted to punish both women and men. This may somewhat “explain” why he killed his three roommates. The killer also wrote a manuscript entitled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger” and emailed it to several people, including his therapist and several family members. The killer uploaded the “manifesto” (manuscript) to the internet at 9:18 p.m., one minute after uploading the video to YouTube. He complained about interracial couples and wrote: I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. Within those years, I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because … I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious me instead of me, the supreme gentleman.  (“Transcript of video,” 2014) In the manifesto, Elliot wrote some racist rant regarding another young man: “How could you an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves” (“The Manifesto of Elliot Rodger,” 2014). In the aftermath of the killings, it was learned that his parents (divorced) had both been alarmed by the email (of his manifesto) that he had sent. Both had started to drive (separate cars) from Los Angeles to Isla Vista, about 90 miles away from LA, in an effort to stop the rampage.  In the introduction to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Office, “Isla Vista Mass Murder Investigative Summary,” Sheriff Bill Brown writes:


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In California, we have some of the strongest gun control laws in the nation, yet in this case the suspect was still able to legally purchase and possess three handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Many suspects in mass murder incidents suffer from severe mental illness that is untreated or under-­treated, yet in this instance the suspect was receiving treatment and had been since childhood. (Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Office, 2015) The killer purchased his first handgun, a Glock 34, in Goleta in 2012. He purchased two more handguns in 2013 – SIG Sauer P226 pistols. According to the Sheriff ’s “Investigative Summary,” Rodger was a student at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC). His roommates, Weihan Wang and Cheng Hong, shared a bedroom. The killer did not want to be friends with them, as he described them as “dorks.” Also, it is noted that he moved to Isla Vista and attended SBCC to “improve his social skills with peers.” The report indicates that his parents tried to help him by getting him mental health assistance. Prior to the mass killing, local police conducted a welfare check on the killer, as requested by his mother after she had “viewed YouTube videos the suspect posted” (Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Office, 2015, p. 47). The police conducted the welfare check and found the suspect to be “shy, timid and polite.” After the welfare check, the deputies put Rodger on the phone with his mother, Chin. They also gave Rodger information about local services that could provide aid.

Violence and the Alt-­Right The Southern Poverty Law Center has described Elliot Rodger as the first “alt-­right” killer (Poston, 2018). The report identifies 13 “alt-­right” killers, describing them as being mostly under 30 years of age. A theme shared by the 13 alleged perpetrators is that “All participated in the ‘far-­right ecosystem that defines the alt-­right’ ” (Poston, 2018). Other mass murderers on the list include Dylan Roof (discussed in Chapter 4), who shot and killed nine Black members of a Bible study class in 2015. Another on the list used “Elliot Rodger” as his pseudonym, although his actual name is William Edward Atchinson, who posted online and referred to Rodger as the “supreme gentlemen.” This handle (moniker) that Rodger used became part of an alt-­right meme or culture, according to the report. Atchinson entered a New Mexico high school on December 7, 2017 and killed two students before committing suicide. The final report of the “Isla Vista Mass Murder Investigative Summary” report showed that Elliot had conducted web searches linked to Adolf Hitler and “Nazi Curbstomp.” Additionally, “The suspect’s in-­depth

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research included information about Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler” (“The Alt-­Right Is Killing People,” n.d.). The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) notes that the “timeline for alt-­right killer began on May 23, 2014,” the day Rodger killed the six people in Goleta. The killings associated with White nationalism includes a total of 13 “fatal episodes” in which a total of 43 people died and more than 60 were injured. Of the 13 incidents, nine occurred in 2017, the most violent year for the alt-­right movement. Except for three of the perpetrators listed by the SPLC, all males were White and at the time of the crimes they allegedly committed. The average age of the alt-­right killers is 26, with the youngest at 17. Each has some shared history of “consuming and/or participating in the type of far-­right ecosystem that defines the alt-­ right.” The alt-­right movement in the United States is traced back to Richard Bertraund Spencer, a White nationalist leader. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) traces the start of the current movement as starting around 2012 and 2013. Two events happened during this timeframe: the killing of Trayvon Martin (killed on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL), and the “Gamergate” controversy, which started around 2013, when different female gamers were systematically harassed and threatened with rape and death. In the case of “Gamergate,” it trended for several weeks in 2013–2014 as a hashtag, #gamergate, and centered around “ethics in video game journalism, and the role and treatment of women in the video game industry – an industry that has long been dominated by men” (Rott, 2014). Online harassment had been aimed at female gamers and female journalists and developers. Gamergate helped launch the career of Milo Yiannopoulous, who is credited with pushing the alt-­ right into the mainstream, which he achieved through his writings for Breitbart News, where he was a senior editor. Some argue that the alt-­right movement was whitewashed and pushed into the national mainstream with the election of President Donald Trump. Steve Bannon, former senior advisor to President Trump, called Breitbart News “the platform for the alt-­right.” An interesting observation by the SPLC is that the alt-­right movement is focused on feeding the perceived grievances of “disillusioned and indignant young men” and are drawn to its ranks:  [it] provides a coherent – but malicious worldview. For a recruit, the alt-­right helps explain why they don’t have the jobs or the sexual partners or the overall societal and cultural respect that they believe (and are told) to be rightfully theirs. (“The alt-­right is killing people,” n.d.) The SPLC notes the increase in the alt-­right’s recruitment of youth. The rhetoric of the movement calls for radical and individual action. He frequently used PUAhate, which is described as a “deeply misogynistic forum


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populated by failed ‘pick-­up artists’ dedicated to revealing, ‘the scams, deception, and misleading marketing techniques used by dating gurus and the seduction community to deceive men and profit from them.’ ” Women are objectified on this forum and this is where one follower of Rodger, “Doctor Mayhem,” talked about Rodger’s manifesto. He makes a long post about how he agrees with Rodger’s racist rant, writing: “ALL HAIL THE PATRON SAINT OF WHITE SHARIA!” (SPLC). White Sharia is referenced on various hate websites. The SPLC notes that, during the 2017 White Nationalist March in Charlottesville, VA, marchers dressed in white shirts and khakis and carrying tiki-­torches (the kind for your backyard) chanted: “ ‘blood and soil’ and ‘Jews will not replace us,’ and ‘white lives matter.’ The SPLC references these marching chants as ‘a more inscrutable demand: ‘white sharia now.!’ ” The alt-­right movement and White Sharia see women as property and should be subjugated. The term “White Sharia” is a version of “Sharia” that is aimed at Western and White “culture” and Christian law (as opposed to Islamic religious law), and has been embraced by the racist far right.

Hate and Terror in Public Spaces United States This section discusses several mass casualty events that have occurred in the US’s recent past. On February 14, 2018, gunman Nikolas Cruz (19) was a former student of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School who killed 17 students and staff and injured 17 others, using a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle he’d purchased a year earlier at a retailer in Coral Springs, FL. Marjorie Stoneman High is located in Parkland, FL, a suburb about 30 miles from Fort Lauderdale. The shooting took place around 2:19 p.m., when he was dropped off (at the school) by an Uber driver – this is about half an hour before dismissal time for the 3,500 students and staff. He entered the school carrying a duffel bag and backpack with an AR-­15 rifle hidden. The shooter was reported by one staff member, who recognized Cruz and told another staff member that Cruz was walking toward Building 12. That person reported Cruz’s entry and reportedly hid in a closet. At 2:21 p.m., freshman Chris McKenna exited his English class on the first floor and headed upstairs to use the restroom. At that point, he encountered Cruz, who warned him to leave the building: ‘You’d better get out of here. Things are going to get messy” (Hobbs et al., 2018). The shots started almost immediately – 30 seconds later. The first staff member heard shots and activated a code red lockdown. A school resource officer from the Broward County Sheriff ’s Office was on campus and took a position between Building 12 and an adjacent building.

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At 2:22 p.m., students in Room 1216, Dara Hass’ English class, were working in groups writing essays when the shooting started. Cruz started the shooting in the first-­floor classrooms and hallways, killing 11 students. By 2:23 p.m., student McKenna saw assistant football coach Aaron Feis and told him about Cruz’s guns. At this point, Cruz headed up to the second floor. School Resource Officer Scot Peterson, who is a Broward County deputy, headed toward Building 12. When he heard shots fired, he announced over police radio: “I think we have shots fired, possible shots fired – 1200 building” (Hobbs et al., 2018). As other police arrived, Peterson directed them to shut down traffic and they do not go near Building 12. The shooter did not kill anyone on the second floor – it is believed that the second-­floor classes heard the gunshot and took cover, but in fact teachers used construction paper to cover the windows and had their students take cover. When the killer reached the third floor, it is believed that the shots had not been heard, but they were exiting their classrooms because they thought there was a fire alarm. When the students and teachers realized something was wrong, they tried to take cover, but it was too late for some of the students, and teacher Scott Beigel, who had opened his classroom door to let the students rush in. Beigel was shot and killed outside his classroom. Immediately after the shooting, it was asked why police didn’t rush the building. It is believed that this is (possibly) because the instructions from Peterson were to deal with the traffic. Sheriff Deputy Michael Kratz shut down the traffic “near Westglades Middle School.” He heard shots fired by the football field at 2:25 p.m. Cruz was still on the third floor and killed six more students. At this point, Peterson said over the police radio “Get the school locked down, gentleman [sic]”. Cruz entered the teachers’ lounge at 2:27 p.m. and remained there for a couple of minutes before getting rid of his rifle. He left the building with the other students, blending in. At 2:32 p.m., the first police officers and sheriff ’s deputies entered the building, just after Cruz had left. About 11 minutes had passed since the shooting started. The police watched surveillance video and realize that Cruz had escaped. From the high school, he walked to a local Walmart, where he bought a drink at the Subway located inside. Next, he walked to a McDonald’s and sat down for a short time before leaving on foot. At 3:40 p.m., he was spotted by police and taken into custody. Fourteen teens and three adults died. The Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting made national and international news. This was the 18th school shooting of the year at the time. The community, which is described as affluent, had never experienced this type of terror. The shooter first set off a fire alarm before he began to shoot. There is video taken by students as they hid under desks


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and in closets. Some were able to make phone contact with parents and loved ones. In scenes eerily reminiscent of Columbine, students held up their hands as they were ushered out by police. The Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shooting stirred many student survivors into action and remains current in social media and the news, and in the active participation and leadership they have demonstrated since the tragedy (“17 dead in ‘horrific’ high school shooting,” 2018). The young survivors of the Marjorie Stoneman tragedy moved to action, almost immediately, and are credited with beginning the “Never Again” movement. The policy goal of this movement is stricter background checks for gun buyers. Leaders of the movement came forward and found themselves in the limelight of the news and social media. They were instrumental in leading the planning of a nationwide protest, the “March For Our Lives,” that was held on March 24, 2018. This march was covered nationally and internationally. The number of students and supporters in attendance for the march on Washington was 800,000, according to the Washington Post (Durando, 2018), which puts this single-­day protest as bigger than the “inaugural Women’s March, which brought 500,000 to D.C.” Time magazine cautioned about the 800,000 figure and noted: ‘Law enforcement officials have not yet released an official crowd size estimate but said they had prepared for 500,000” (Reilly, 2018). There were large rallies held on the same day in cities such as Boston, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, to name a few. For the next few weeks, funerals were held for the Parkland students and teachers. The students who started the “Never Again” movement agreed that it would be non-­partisan. One of the students, Cameron Kasky –co-­founder of the Never Again movement, described as a “theatre kid” – posted on Facebook a couple of hours after the shooting. He had hidden with his brother in a classroom. He wrote: Can’t sleep. Thinking about so many things. So angry that I’m not scared or nervous anymore … I’m just angry … I just want people to understand what happened and understand that doing nothing will lead to nothing. Who’d have thought that concept was so difficult to grasp? (Witt, 2018) Another student, Alfonso Calderon, another co-­founder, noted: Nikolas Cruz, the shooter at my school, was reported to the police thirty-­nine times. We have to vote people out who have been paid for by the N.R.A. They’re allowing this to happen. They’re making it easier for people like Nick Cruz to acquire an Ar-­15. Jaclyn Corin, the junior-­class president, lost her friend Joaquin Oliver. She  started posting on Instagram: “PLEASE contact your local and state

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representatives as we must have stricter gun laws IMMEDIATELY.” She met with Florida democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Other students who had been talking with media joined together with Calderon, Kasky, and Corin. included what are now most likely considered household names: David Hogg, the school paper reporter who has appeared on national news; and Sarah Chadwick, who had tweeted a “profanity-­laced tweet” in which she criticized President Trump. The tweet went viral. They were joined by Emma Gonzalez, who stated “We Call B.S.” during a speech at the gun-­control rally in Fort Lauderdale on the Saturday after the killings. The students succeeded in keeping the Parkland shooting in the news cycle. They used social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, to tell the public not to forget about what had happened. That change was coming (Witt, 2018).

Pulse Nightclub Shooting on June 12, Orlando, FL On Sunday, June 12, 2016, a gunman killed 50 people and wounded 53 more at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL. The attack occurred at a popular gay nightclub, and lasted three hours. At that time, it was the deadliest mass shooting in recent US history. A year and four months later, that statistic would belong to the shooting at Mandalay Bay, which we discuss below. The rampage at Pulse started when gunman Omar Mateen (29) “stormed” the nightclub at about 2:00 a.m., carrying an AR-­15 rifle and handgun. At the time he entered the club, people were winding down “Latin Night” and the DJ was “still spinning and plenty of people were still dancing” (Lotan et al., 2017). At about 2 a.m., Pulse nightclub posted this message on their Facebook page: “everyone get out of Pulse and keep running.” People inside the nightclub took video of the inside of the club, showing people hiding. They texted their loved ones. Some of the people were able to get out of the club. One of the people who made it out, Anthony Torres, posted on Facebook that he and his friends were able to get out of the club. Torres also posted: “People are screaming that people are dead” (Grimson et al., 2016). Police received the first notification that shots had been fired at 2:02 a.m. One officer was in the parking lot of the nightclub and exchanged gunfire with the shooter. He retreated when he realized he was “outgunned” and called for backup. One of the patrons, a young woman, Amanda Alvear (25) recorded video of the first moment that gunfire was heard and uploaded it to Snapchat. She died. After 2:02 a.m., survivor Selvin Dubon saw Mateen moving across the dance floor toward the VIP seating area, firing his rifle and handgun. Shortly after, the DJ realized there was gunfire, turned down the music and yelled: “Run. Get out. There’s a guy with a gun.” More patrons heard the gunfire and run. By 2:04 a.m., two backup


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Orlando police officers arrived. They didn’t enter the club. By 2:05 a.m., Deputy Mark Rutkoski, along with others, began removing victims from the building and carried them across the street to a makeshift triage center. Nightclub goers who were hiding in the Pulse nightclub texted messages to their loved ones. By 2:08 a.m., Belle Isle police officer Brandon Cornwell and five or six other officers broke through a large glass window, entering the club. The officers could see the dead and wounded. Akyra Murray (18) called her mother, telling her that she and her cousin had been shot as they hid in a bathroom stall with others. Murray died from her wound, becoming the youngest victim to die in the shooting. By 2:22 a.m., there is a report that the police had “contained the shooter in the back of the club” (Lotan et al., 2017). At 2:35 a.m., the shooter made a 911 call and pledges “allegiance to Abu Bakr al-­Baghdadi of the Islamic State.” At the same time, there is a report that all survivors in the bar and dance floor have left the nightclub. At some point, the shooter searches the internet for news of the rampage. At 2:45 a.m., a local news producer takes a call from someone identifying himself as the shooter: “I’m the shooter. It’s me … I did it for Isis.” At 2:48 a.m., the shooter speaks with a crisis negotiator. At 3:03 a.m., he speaks with a crisis negotiator a second time, for 16 minutes. During this call, he tells the crisis negotiator that he is an Islamic soldier, and that there is a bomb in the vehicle outside. At 3:24 a.m., he speaks with a crisis negotiator for a third time. At 4:00 a.m., the shooter texts his wife to see if she has seen news of the shooting. By 4:05 a.m., the Orange County Fire Rescue radio transmission have sent Explosive Ordinance Disposal to the scene. The police continue to help patrons escape and also those who have been wounded. As the rest unfolds, there are various text messages and posts to Facebook made by survivors. By 5:02 a.m., police try to breach a wall in the south bathroom, in the hope of helping survivors escape. At 5:03 a.m., there is a loud boom – Orlando police announce on Twitter that it is a controlled explosion – and at 5:14 a.m., the shooter starts shooting again in the north bathroom where there are some survivors. One witness says that the gunman said to one of his victims “Hey you” and then shot them – and shot three other people. Shortly after, the police hear the gunshots and throw two stun grenades into the bathroom area. At that time, the gunman emerges firing at the officers. They fire back. At 5:17 a.m., the shooter falls to the ground. Orlando police tweet at 5:33 a.m.: “Pulse Shooting: The shooter inside the club is dead” (Lotan et al., 2017). The shooter called 911 shortly before the rampage and “swore allegiance to the leader of ISIS” (Grimson et al., 2016). After police checked the killer’s condominium, they determined that there were not any explosives. Mateen had been investigated in 2013 after making a statement “about radical Islamic propaganda.” He was interviewed twice, but “the FBI wasn’t able to confirm that he had ties to radical Islam” (Grimson et

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al., 2016). The shooter legally purchased the two guns that he used in the rampage. His family stated that they were unaware that he had any allegiance to Isis. His father said: “We are saying we are apologizing for the whole incident. We weren’t aware of any action he is taking. We are in shock, like the whole country” (Grimson et al., 2016). Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson raised the possibility that this was “an awful hate crime” that was “more than likely not ideologically motivated.” (It should be noted that many Muslim groups immediately rebuked the killing.) Then President Barack Obama said of the massacre that it was “a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or in a house of worship or a movie theater or in a nightclub.” He continued: “This is an especially heartbreaking day for our friends, fellow Amer­icans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender” Grimson et al. (2016). He called the attack an act of terror and hate.

Mandalay Bay Concert, Las Vegas, On October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed in what is now considered the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history. Up to that time, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, had been the deadliest (Lord, 2018). But on that evening, a gunman murdered 58 people from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay hotel, and his shooting rampage injured an additional 851 people. The shooter took aim from his hotel room, which looked down on a concert at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. As concert-­goers listened to a performer, witnesses say they heard loud sounds – many of the concert-­ goers did not know that the noise they heard were gunshots, until they started to see people around them fall over, shot and wounded. The attack lasted 10 minutes – from 10:05 to 10:15 p.m. The killer, Stephen Paddock, fired more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition from his hotel suite. About an hour after he had started to shoot the innocent concert-­goers, police found him dead in his hotel room. He had committed suicide. According to an 81-page report released by the Las Vegas police, they were able to track the killer’s movements before and after the attack. The gunman had 24 firearms in total. This shooting, like others before it, made national and international news. It reignited, once again, the debate around gun laws in the US. A motive for the shooting rampage was never uncovered.

International Terror On January 7, 2015, two brothers armed with rifles and other weapons entered a building in Paris asking if it was the Charlie Hebdo (a weekly French satirical newspaper) office. When they realized they were in the


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wrong building, they left and went toward the correct one. They encountered a police officer and killed him. Next, they encountered a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist who was leaving the building, and forced her to open the door by using the security code. They entered an editorial meeting and called out people by name, killing those who they named. They had separated the men and women. Witnesses said the murderers, Said and Chérif Kouachi, shouted, “Allahu akbar,” which means “God is great.” Some people managed to escape. In the end, the two shooters had murdered 12 people and injured 11. It was the first day of three days of terror. The French satirical paper had previously received threats about the paper’s content. The killers believed that the editorial board of Charlie Hebdo had dishonored Mohammed through their cartoon depictions. In 2013, prior to the attack, he stated that the newspaper had to “carry on until Islam had been rendered as banal as Catholicism” (Murray, 2015). The weekly had regularly published cartoons that  mocked the Prophet Muhammed, which have triggered threats, a fire bombing in 2011, the need for police protection and even harsh words from the French foreign minister who once suggested it wasn’t intelligent of the weekly “to pour fuel on the fire.” (Murray, 2015) Eight employees, a guest, a maintenance worker, and police officer were killed in the attack. The first of the editorial board to be killed was Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier (who had been the editor-­in-chief at Charlie Hebdo since 2009). The shooting is believed to have lasted 5–10 minutes. Witnesses say that the gunmen identified themselves as belonging to al-­Qaeda in Yemen. The shooters evaded police and didn’t show up again until January 9, when they took hostages at a signage company. They were shot dead when they came out of the building firing on the police. The perpetrators are said to have been inspired by the extremist Islamic group al-­Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula. Their motive was their hatred toward Hebdo’s cartoons depicting Islam and its leaders.  A related attack took place on January 9, 2015. Another gunman took hostages at a kosher supermarket. In this case, the perpetrator entered the kosher market armed with a sub-­machine gun, assault rifle, and two pistols. He ended up murdering four Jewish hostages and held 15 others as hostages. During the hostage crisis, he “demanded” that the Kouachi brothers not be harmed. In the end, police stormed the kosher market, killing the shooter, who was identified as Amedy Coulibaly. The murders at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher deli made international news, like so many shootings and acts of terror before. The Charlie Hebdo support takes on the viral hashtag #JeSuis Charlie or “I am Charlie,”

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which hashtag begins trending on social media as thousands of Parisians “take to the streets” to honor the victims (“2015 Charlie Hebdo Attacks Fast Facts,” 2017).  At least 3.7 million people marched across the streets of Paris days after the attack. World leaders came together for the march: World leaders joined French President Francois Hollande, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The day also brought together an unlikely duo at the rally: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Fantz, 2015) The Paris marches also brought ordinary people together – regardless of their race, ethnicity, or class. People held signs that said “We are all French.” A young Muslim woman held up a sign “I am a Jew” and said she was horrified at the killings and that her religion preaches love, not the horror of what had happened. #JeSuisCharlie trended online and was the rallying cry for free speech after the Charlie Hebdo attack. Joachim Roncin, an art director at a magazine in central Paris said he was “deeply shocked, but I wasn’t frightened,” when he spoke about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. He said he was “deeply saddened” and “decided to adopt the font of the Charlie Hebdo masthead into a simple black and white image that said ‘Je Suis Charlie’ – “I am Charlie’ ” and then posted it on Twitter. His adaptation of the rallying cry went viral and “would become perhaps the biggest hashtag of solidarity in history.” It was used 1.5 million times on the first day he posted it to Twitter, and at least six million times over the next week on social media platforms Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook (Devichand, 2016). Demonstrations of solidarity took place across the world –  in London, UK; Berlin, Germany; Washington DC, US; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Brussels, Belgium; Copenhagen, Denmark; Strasbourg, France; Foreign Correspondents Club, Hong Kong; Sydney, Australia; Kiev, Ukraine (“Demonstrations of solidarity,” 2015).

Paris attack, November 13, 2015 Nine months later, there was a second terrorist mass-­casualty attack in Paris, during which 130 people were murdered. These attacks were coordinated – to occur on Friday, November 13, 2015, and also to spread across the suburb of Saint-­Denis. The terror group Isis claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Paris police and law enforcement developed a timeline of  the attacks in which they relied on surveillance footage and witness


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accounts. The attacks occurred across six sites and were “attacked by three groups of terrorists acting in unison (Martinez, 2015). The first sign of attack occurred at 9:20 p.m. with an explosion outside the Stade de France during a France vs. Germany soccer match. Soon after, a second explosion went off, echoing inside the stadium. Suicide bombers set off each blast. Four people were killed outside the Stade de France. At 9:25 p.m., gunmen opened fire and killed 15 people at two different restaurants. At 9:30 p.m., there was a second explosion at the Stade de France. At 9:32 p.m., five people were murdered outside the bar A La Bonne Bière. At 9:36 p.m., attackers began an assault at a restaurant, La Belle Equipe, where 19 people were killed. At 9:40 p.m., a suicide bomber blew himself up at the restaurant Comptoir Voltaire. One person inside the restaurant was seriously injured. At 9:40 p.m., three attackers armed with assault weapons opened fire inside a small concert hall, during a concert performance of the US band Eagles of Death Metal. At 9:53 p.m., a third blast occurred near the Stade de France. At 12:20 a.m., the police returned to the concert venue, Bataclan, where the terrorists had taken hostages. The terrorists had killed the concert-­goers they kept as hostage. During this time, three of the terrorists were killed; two other terrorists die by suicide bomb. In all 89 people died at the concert venue (Martinez, 2015). These violent terrorist attacks shocked the world. The French President said it was “an act of war.” Pope Francis said there was “no religious or human justification for it” and said it was “a piecemeal Third World War” (Martinez, 2015). Once again, there was a global outpouring of support for the victims, their families, and the people of France. In this attack, many people of different backgrounds and countries of origin and citizen died. There was an outpouring throughout social media, once again. President Barack Obama visited the site of the Bataclan, along with French President François Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (“2015 Paris Terror Attacks Fast Facts,” 2018).  This attack, like the one less than a year earlier, drew reaction across social media. Several hashtags trended, including #Prayers4Paris. Facebook activated its Safety Check tool, which had been introduced in October 2014 to help people who had been impacted by a disaster to let their Facebook friends know they were safe. Residents offered their homes as shelter to people who were stranded in the city, using the hashtag #porteouverte on Twitter. Another critical hashtag, #rechercheParis, was used to search for missing people who had been seen near the various attack sites (Guerrini, 2015). There are definitely positive uses of social media during terrible events like the terrorist attack in Paris and Charlie Hebdo offices. It is also important to note that there is a less positive, if not negative, side to social media during times like these, as there is a chance that disinformation will be spread or that social media will be used to “celebrate” such atrocities, as it may have been the case here: “Even worse, according to some reports,

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ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq or the Levant) or ISIS supporters celebrated the attacks on Twitter, under a hashtag in Arabic which, translated to English, reads as ‘#ParisInFlames,’ or “ParisBurns’ ” (Guerrini, 2015). It is no surprise that the French government advocated new legislation to stop the use of social networks to be used as vehicles for “hate speech,” as it is believed that ISIL supporters used these platforms to plan and coordinate the attacks.

Terrorist Attack at the Ariana Grande concert On May 22, 2017, the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, UK, was the target of a terrorist attack in which 22 people died and 59 were injured. This was a suicide bombing, and considered to be a terrorist attack. The explosion went off around 10:30 p.m. toward the end of the concert, which was attended by many young fans. Once again, social media were used by parents, friends, and family members trying to find concert-­goers (NBC News, 2017). Once again, a concert venue was a target of a terrorist attack, much like the Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris several months earlier. Online supporters of the extremist Islamic State “celebrated” the blast, which is another case for monitoring who uses social media and the need to monitor hate speech, hate crimes, and terrorist threats. The victims of the attack consisted of children and parents, the youngest of which was only eight years old.

End of Chapter Discussion How are these events treated on social media? What role do social media play in finding out who is safe? How did people who were involved in these events use social media or electronic media to connect with their loved ones? How were social media used by the people caught in the attacks? How did the police use social media? How did communities come together locally, nationally, and internationally during these mass attacks via social media? Please reflect on these questions as you consider the overall impact of social media, violence, and hate.

Chapter Questions for Discussion 1. How can educators address these events in the classroom? 2. What can communities do to support the dialogue and promote action to “disarm hate”?


Hate, Violence, Terrorism, and Social Media

3. How have these events impacted schooling and the way students “go to school”? 4. How can social media be used for positive action?

Critical SELF-REFLECTION/CHECK-IN 1. As you reflect on this chapter on hate, violence, mass shootings, and terrorist events, what sense can you make of how we talk about these issues amongst our families, friends, and students? Please explain. 2. It seems like instances of hate speech have increased along with acts of hate – petty hate and hate crimes. What do you think has contributed to the increased instances of hate speech and acts of hate? Please explain.

KEEPING UP TO DATE AND FURTHER READING 1. https://youtu.be/A8syQeFtBKc – this is the “Evan” video mentioned in the chapter. 2. www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8syQeFtBK 3. www.Splccenter.org – Southern Poverty Law Center – this website has a vast array of resources for educators, parents, and other individuals who work in the area of social justice issues.

references 17 dead in “horrific” high school shooting. (2018, February 15). ABC News. Retrieved August 16, 2018, from www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgIJosk0pnA. 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks fast facts. (2017, December 25). Retrieved from www. cnn.com/2015/01/21/europe/2015-paris-­terror-attacks-­fast-facts/index.html?no­st=1534479222. 2015 Paris terror attacks fast facts. (2018, May 2). Retrieved from www.cnn. com/2015/12/08/europe/2015-paris-­terror-attacks-­fast-facts/index.html. Allen, F. (2018, July 26). How many mass shootings have there been in America so far in 2018? Retrieved from www.thesun.co.uk/news/6654920/mass-­shootingsamerica-­2018-how-­many-killed/. The Alt-­Right is Killing People. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.splcenter.org/20180205/ alt-­right-killing-­people. Altimari, D. (2016, December 14). Four years after the Sandy Hook massacre, this nonprofit is trying to reshape public opinion about guns. Retrieved from www. latimes.com/nation/la-­na-sandy-­hook-four-­years-later-­20161214-story.html. Andone, D. (2018, May 11). Woman says she called police when black Airbnb guests didn’t wave at her. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2018/05/10/us/airbnb-­ black-rialto-­california-trnd/index.html.

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Associated Press (2012, December 15). Peter Lanza statement: father of Adam Lanza says: “We too are asking why.” Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/ web/20121216044247/www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/15/peter-­l anzastatement-­adam-lanza_n_2308744.html. Bovsun, M. (2013, November 3). Justice Story: 16-year-­old girl shoots up school, tells reporter “I don’t like Mondays.” Retrieved from www.nydailynews.com/ news/justice-­story/justice-­story-don-­mondays-article-­1.1504277?outputType=amp. Bradner, E. (2017, January 23). Conway: Trump White House offered “alternative facts” on crowd size. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2017/01/22/politics/kellyanne-­ conway-alternative-­facts/index.html. Brady, J. S. (2012, December 14). Statement by the President on the school shooting in Newtown, CT. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/thepress-office/2012/12/14/statement-president-school-shooting-newtown-ct. Statement by President Barack Obama on the School Shooting in Newtown, CT. Brown, S. (2012, December 17). World reaction: “My heart is in Newtown.” Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/world/irpt-­sandy-hook-­global-reaction/ index.html. Brown, B., & Merritt, R. (2006). No easy answers: the truth behind death at Columbine. New York: Lantern. Cabanatuan, M. (2018, July 10). “Disturbing” rise in hate crimes in California. Retrieved from www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Hate-­crimes-on-­the-upswing-­inCalifornia-­13061474.php. Caron, C. (2018, May 10). A black Yale student was napping, and a white student called the police. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2018/05/09/nyregion/yale-­ black-student-­nap.html. Darcy, O. (2018a, July 12). Facebook invited me to an event today where the company aimed to tout its commitment to fighting fake news and misinformation. I asked them why InfoWars is still allowed on the platform. I didn’t get a good answer. Retrieved from https://t.co/WwLgqa6vQ4. Retrieved from https:// twitter.com/oliverdarcy/status/1017242469308788741. Darcy, O. (2018b, July 27). Facebook suspends personal profile of InfoWars founder Alex Jones. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2018/07/26/media/ facebook-­infowars-alex-­jones/index.html. Demick, B. (2017, February 3). In an age of “alternative facts,” a massacre of schoolchildren is called a hoax. Retrieved from www.latimes.com/nation/la-­nasandy-­hook-conspiracy-­20170203-story.html#. Demonstrations of solidarity after Charlie Hebdo attacks – in pictures. (2015, January 8). Retrieved from www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2015/jan/08/ demonstrations-­of-solidarity-­after-charlie-­hebdo-attacks-­in-pictures. Devichand, M. (2016, January 3). How the world was changed by the slogan “Je suis Charlie.” Retrieved from www.bbc.com/news/blogs-­trending-35108339. Diebel, M. (2018, July 11). Caught on video: Man harangues woman in park for wearing Puerto Rico shirt; police officer does little to help. Retrieved from www. usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/07/10/man-­harasses-woman-­wearingpuerto-­rico-shirt-­illinois-park/770858002/. Durando, J. (2018, March 25). March for Our Lives could be the biggest single-­ day protest in DC’s history. Retrieved from https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/ 455675002.


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Dwoskin, E., & Jan, T. (2018, April 24). Facebook finally explains why it bans some content, in 27 pages. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-­ switch/wp/2018/04/24/facebook-­finally-explains-­why-it-­bans-some-­content-in-­ 27-pages/?utm_term=.f45f34d755fe. Eligon, J., Blinder, A., & Najar, N. (2017, February 24). Hate crime is feared as 2 Indian engineers are shot in Kansas. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/ world/asia/kansas-­attack-possible-­hate-crime-­srinivas-kuchibhotla.html. Fantz, A. (2015, January 12). At least 3.7 million rally against terrorism in France. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2015/01/11/world/charlie-­hebdo-paris-­march/. Grimson, M., Wyllie, D., & Fieldstadt, E. (2016, June 13). US mourns Orlando victims as probe into gunman’s terror links continues. Retrieved from www. cnbc.com/2016/06/12/domestic-­terrorism-leaves-­scores-dead-­injured-at-­orlandonightclub.html. Guerrini, F. (2015, November 14). Attacks in Paris highlight the worst and best of social media. Retrieved from www.forbes.com/sites/federicoguerrini/2015/11/14/ attacks-­in-paris-­highlight-the-­worst-and-­best-of-­social-media/#5cba34e26406. Gun Violence Archive. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.gunviolencearchive.org/. Guzman, D. de (2018, June 5). Video shows woman calling police over barbecue at Lake Merritt. Retrieved from www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-­ barbecue-Lake-­Merritt-Sunday-­confrontation-12902520.php. Hauslohner, A. (2018, May 11). Hate crimes jump for fourth straight year in largest U.S. cities, study shows. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/ post-­n ation/wp/2018/05/11/hate-­c rime-rates-­a re-still-­o n-the-­r ise/?utm_ term=.4fbf8ea02d20. Hobbs, S., Zhu, Y., & Chokey, A. (2018, April 26). How the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting unfolded. Retrieved from www.sun-­sentinel.com/local/ broward/parkland/florida-­school-shooting/sfl-­florida-school-­shooting-timeline-­ 20180424-htmlstory.html#. Langman, P. F. (2010). Why kids kill: inside the minds of school shooters. New York: St. Martins Griffin. Lipstadt, D. (2018, July 19). Zuckerberg’s comments give Holocaust deniers an opening. Retrieved July 29, 2018, from www.cnn.com/2018/07/18/opinions/ mark-­zuckerberg-facebook-­holocaust-denial-­lipstadt-opinion/index.html. Long, C. (n.d.). School shootings and other traumatic events: how to talk to students. Retrieved from www.nea.org/home/72279.htm. Lord, D. (2018, February 15). Remembering the deadliest mass shooting in modern Amer­ican history. Retrieved from www.daytondailynews.com/news/national/ remembering-­t he-deadliest-­m ass-shooting-­m odern-Amer­i can-­h istory/SPLRqIvmy904AKN0phFdyI/. Lotan, G. T., Minshew, C., Lafferty, M., & Gibson, A. (2017, May 31). Orlando nightclub shooting timeline: four hours of terror unfold. Retrieved from www. orlandosentinel.com/news/pulse-­orlando-nightclub-­shooting/os-­orlando-pulse-­ nightclub-shooting-­timeline-htmlstory.html Madden, J. (2018, July 1). Maple Heights 12-year-­old’s lawn service business takes off after neighbors call police for cutting grass. Retrieved from www.cleveland. com/metro/index.ssf/2018/06/maple_heights_12-year-­old_lawn.html. The Manifesto of Elliot Rodger. (2014, May 25). Retrieved from www.nytimes. com/interactive/2014/05/25/us/shooting-­document.html.

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Mariachi band plays outside apartment of NY lawyer who threatened to call ICE on Spanish-­speaking employees. (2018, May 21). Retrieved from https://wgntv. com/2018/05/21/mariachi-­b and-plays-­o utside-apartment-­o f-ny-­l awyer-who-­ threatened-to-­call-ice-­on-spanish-­speaking-employees/. Martinez, M. (2015, November 15). Paris attacks timeline: what happened. Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2015/11/14/world/what-­happened-in-­paris-attacks-­ timeline/index.html. Mejia, B. (2018, May 28). “You need to speak English”: encounters in viral videos show Spanish is still polarizing in the US. Retrieved from www.latimes.com/ local/california/la-­me-ln-­speak-english-­20180528-story.html. Moye, D. (2018, May 17). Angry white dude’s rant about people speaking Spanish in NYC goes viral. Retrieved from www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/edward-­ suazo-angry-­white-guy-­speak-spanish_us_5afc6070e4b0779345d523fd. Murphy, P. R., & Darcy, O. (2018, August 6). Facebook removes 4 pages from InfoWars and Alex Jones. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/06/ technology/facebook-­infowars-alex-­jones/index.html. Murray, D. (2015, January 8). Don Murray: “We are all Charlie Hebdo.” Or are we? Retrieved from www.cbc.ca/news/world/france-­even-more-­fractured-after-­ the-charlie-­hebdo-rampage-­1.2893262. NBC News. (2017, May 23). Parents hunt for kids missing after bomber hits Ariana Grande gig. Retrieved from www.nbcnews.com/storyline/manchester-­ concert-explosion/manchester-­arena-suicide-­bombing-parents-­search-kids-­whowere-­concert-n763426. Perry, T., & Malnic, E. (1996, August 16). 3 on San Diego State Faculty fatally shot. Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/print/1996-08-16/news/mn-­ 34844_1_san-­diego-state. Porter, T. (2018, July 11). Hate crimes are surging in California, and some experts think Trump’s rhetoric is responsible. Retrieved from www.newsweek.com/ donald-­trump-and-­rising-california-­hate-crime-­numbers-he-­responsible-1017517. Poston, B. (2018, February 6). Killer who committed massacre in Isla Vista was part of alt-­right, new research shows. Retrieved from www.latimes.com/local/ lanow/la-­me-isle-­vista-massacre-­alt-right-­20180206-story.html. Pozner, L., & De La Rosa, V. (2018, July 25). An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg from the parents of a Sandy Hook victim. Retrieved from www.theguardian. com/commentisfree/2018/jul/25/mark-­zuckerberg-facebook-­sandy-hook-­parentsopen-­letter. Queally, J. (2018, July 10). Hate crimes rise in California for third straight year, state report says. Retrieved from www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-­me-ln-­hatecrimes-­surge-california-­20180710-story.html. Reilly, K. (2018, March 24). March For Our Lives attendance: aerial view of crowd size. Retrieved from http://time.com/5214405/march-­for-our-­livesattendance-­crowd-size/. Riley, C. (2018, August 6). YouTube, Apple and Facebook remove content from InfoWars and Alex Jones. Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/06/ technology/facebook-­infowars-alex-­jones/index.html  Rondinone, N. (2018, August 6). YouTube, Apple join Facebook in shutting down pages associated with Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Retrieved from www.courant.com/business/hc-­news-facebook-­bans-alex-­jones-infowars-­ 20180806-story.html.


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Rott, N. (2014, September 24). #Gamergate controversy fuels debate on women and video games. Retrieved from www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/ 2014/09/24/349835297/-gamergate-­controversy-fuels-­debate-on-­women-and-­ video-games. Rutledge, P. B. (2012, December 18). Sandy Hook tragedy sparks social media avalanche. Retrieved from www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/positively-­media/ 201212/sandy-­hook-tragedy-­sparks-social-­media-avalanche. Salinas, S. (2018, August 6). YouTube removes Alex Jones’ page, following bans from Apple and Facebook. Retrieved from www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/08/06/ youtube-­removes-alex-­jones-account-­following-earlier-­bans.html. Sandy Hook HONR Network. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved from www.honr.com/ about-­us/. Sandy Hook promise. (2016, December 2). Retrieved August 3, 2018, from www. youtube.com/watch?v=A8syQeFtBKc. Santa Barbara County Sheriff ’s Office. (2015, February 18). Isla Vista Mass Murder Investigative Summary [PDF]. Available from https://schoolshooters. info/sites/default/files/ISLAVISTAINVESTIGATIVESUMMARY.pdf. Schumacher, E. (2018, July 27). Facebook refuses to censor Holocaust denial as social media sites struggle with German laws. Retrieved from www.dw.com/en/ facebook-­refuses-to-­censor-holocaust-­denial-as-­social-media-­sites-struggle-­withgerman-­laws/a-­44855519. Stevens, M. (2018, April 15). Starbucks CEO. apologizes after arrests of 2 black men. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2018/04/15/us/starbucks-­philadelphiablack-­men-arrest.html. Sweeney, D. (2018, June 24). Woman calls cops on 8-year-­old girl in video. She blames it on “work stress.” Retrieved from www.sacbee.com/news/state/ california/article213756039.html. Transcript of video linked to Santa Barbara mass shooting. (2014, May 28). Retrieved from www.cnn.com/2014/05/24/us/elliot-­rodger-video-­transcript/ index.html. Unstable dad killed 21 innocent people in McDonald’s massacre. (2017, July 18). Retrieved from www.lifedeathprizes.com/real-­life-crime/james-­huberty-mcdonalds-­ masacre-64583. Weber, P. J. (2018, August 2). “InfoWars” host doesn’t attend hearing in Sandy Hook lawsuit. Retrieved from www.sfgate.com/news/texas/article/Judge-­ considers-case-­against-conspiracy-­theorist-13123356.php. We see Pages on both the left and the right pumping out what they consider opinion or analysis – but others call fake news. We believe banning these Pages would be contrary to the basic principles of free speech. (2018, July 12). [Twitter]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/facebook/status/1017477222 083411968. Williams, A. (2018, March 23). Hate crimes rose the day after Trump was elected, FBI data show. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-­nation/ wp/2018/03/23/hate-­c rimes-rose-­t he-day-­a fter-trump-­w as-elected-­f bi-data-­ show/?utm_term=.c91f97b650c6. Witt, E. (2018, April 17). How the survivors of Parkland began the Never Again movement. Retrieved from www.newyorker.com/news/news-­desk/how-­thesurvivors-­of-parkland-­began-the-­never-again-­movement.

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Wong, J. C., & Solon, O. (2018, April 24). Facebook releases content moderation guidelines – rules long kept secret. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com/tech nology/2018/apr/24/facebook-­releases-content-­moderation-guidelines-­secret-rules. Wootson, C. R., Jr. (2018, June 30). A white woman called police on a black 12-year-­old – for mowing grass. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/ news/post-­n ation/wp/2018/06/30/a-­w hite-woman-­c alled-police-­o n-a-­b lack12-year-­old-for-­mowing-grass/?utm_term=.07404bf34acd. Wynter, K., & Flores, J. (2018, August 15). “I’m not a racist”: woman apologizes for throwing hot coffee at Latino worker during controversial rant in Century City. Retrieved from https://ktla.com/2018/08/14/im-­not-a-­racist-woman-­ apologizes-for-­throwing-hot-­coffee-at-­latino-worker-­during-controversial-­rantin-­century-city/. YouTube, Apple and Facebook remove content from InfoWars and Alex Jones. (2018, August 6). Retrieved from https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/06/technology/ facebook-­infowars-alex-­jones/index.html

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


CHAPTER OVERVIEW The treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community has a long history of mistreatment in the US. There are laws that go back to the 1800s that deny the LGBTQ community basic human rights. Their present-­day treatment by the general population ranges from acceptance to disenfranchisement. Beginning with a brief discussion of the historical context of gay and lesbian rights and events like the Stonewall riots of 1969, this chapter looks at LGBTQ issues and challenges from 2000 to 2015. The chapter is approached from a socio-­historic perspective and moves the reader to self-­assessment of their own thinking toward the LGBTQ community and related issues. LGBTQ issues and the implications for schooling are addressed, such as same-­sex marriage (Supreme Court ruling), transgender rights, and gay pride.

Young Gay Chicano Men and AIDS  It’s the early 1970s. There’s a lot of activity across the various college campuses of the US. It is a time of upheaval: there are strikes against the Vietnam War, the the modern-­day women’s liberation movement is beginning to form, as are various student groups combating war and advocating for equal opportunity for all. We each knew many young Chicanos at our respective universities, and through our universities we got to know the young Chicano men attending the same MECHA meetings as us. They were young, vibrant, alive. They were the young gay Chicano men of our youth who rarely “came out” about their sexual orientation. This was still a time when many young gay men remained invisible with regard to their sexuality, although a few older gay men lived openly amongst their friendship group. It was a time to be involved in the Chicano movement, to attend the different marches of our youth, like “La Marcha de la Reconquista” (“The March of the Reconquest”) that

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


is, the reconquest of California to cede Mexico). La Marcha took place on May 5, 1971 – organized by the Brown Berets and the Chicano Moratorium Committee, it set out to demonstrate and bring attention to farm-­ worker rights, better education for Chicana/o/s, welfare rights, prison reform, and to highlight the overreaction of the state riot police (“Chicana Brown Beret,” 1971). The march started in Calexico, CA. Spanning 1,000 miles in three months, it ended up at the Amer­ican Indian University, Deganawidah-­ Quetzalcoatl University (D-­Q University), in Sacramento, CA, which was founded in 1971 for Amer­ican Indian students. The 1970s were also a time for Chicana/o/s to wake up to the needs of fellow Chicana/o/s who were gay and/or lesbian. One of my earliest memories of Ricardo – an undergrad, like us – is that he was one of the smartest, wittiest Chicanos I knew. Another Chicano, Alberto – older and wiser than all of us – was a PhD student in Spanish literature. Down the highway, we met up with other Chicana/o/s from other campuses. We met a group of Chicanos who lived off what is now Highway 57 in Orange County – Lillian spent a lot of time hanging out with them, as they were closer to her campus. It was good to get to know other Chicanos who had come to the university as first-­generation students, most of us growing up within 20 miles of one another. This is where Esteban and his roommates lived.  By the mid-­1970s, we had all graduated university. We dispersed, but still kept up contact in some way, mostly through celebrations. But, by the late 1970s, some of our friends became ill. We didn’t know what was happening. Some of our friends started to become ill, losing weight, getting ill with what was called Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) – a “rare cancer, in homosexual men in both New York and California” (www.amfar.org/ thirty-­years-of-­hiv/aids-­snapshots-of-­an-epidemic/). This is before AIDS had been diagnosed or identified. In 1981, the New York Times published the first article about the “mysterious” new disease that was killing gay men. During this time, we attended the funerals of our friends, Ricardo, Alberto, Esteban – and others. By 1982, scientists started to refer to the “gay cancer” as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS. Our friends, Chicano brothers spent their young adulthood advocating for equal rights and social justice for the Chicana/o community. They lived quietly with this horrible disease, and most did not “come out of the closet” until the end of their lives. We still think about these young men, our friends who were brothers, fathers, fellow teachers, and so much more. There are countless stories of gay men from all backgrounds who were lost in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic, and this is but one of them.


LGBTQ Community and Social Media

Tapping into your personal lens 1. What do you know about the onset of the AIDS epidemic? 2. Do you think the view of gay men has changed since the 1970s? 1980s? Please explain. 3. Does it surprise you that gay men (mostly) stayed silent about their sexual orientation in the 1970s? 1980s?

Discussion The modern-­day LGBTQ movement may have started with the first young men to suffer from Kaposi’s sarcoma, prior to the discovery of the AIDS virus in 1983. The history of AIDS demonstrates the amount of time it took to actually conduct research on the outbreak of the “gay cancer.” By early 1981, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began to see young, previously healthy, gay men become ill, their immune systems at risk. On June 5, 1981, the CDC published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) where they wrote about a rare lung infection, Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), which had been found in (at this point) five healthy, gay men in Los Angeles, along with compromised immune systems. This publication marked the “first official reporting of what will become known as the AIDS epidemic” (“A timeline of HIV and AIDS,” 2018). The MMWR report was covered by the Associated Press and the LA Times on the same day, and the San Francisco Chronicle the next day. According to the CDC, they were flooded by reports from doctors across the country with similar cases. During the same time period, the CDC also received reports of a number of cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma among a group of gay men in New York and California (“A timeline of HIV and AIDS,” 2018), and in response to the reports the CDC formed a taskforce on Kaposi’s sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections (KSOI), whose objective was to identify risk factors “and to develop a case definition for national surveillance.” By July 3, 1981, the New York Times reported that Kaposi’s sarcoma had affected 41 gay men in California and New York. Six months later, there were a total of 270 cases of severe immune deficiency among gay men in New York and California. By 1982, the number of known deaths from AIDS was 853. On July 27, 1982, the term “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome” (AIDS) was used for the first time. By 1983, there were 2,304 deaths. This number reached 4,251 by 1984, and 5,636 by 1985. Cumulatively, from 1981 to 2002 there were 501,669 deaths in the United States (Criswell, n.d.).

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


Early AIDs Activism In 1987, AZT became the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)approved anti-­HIV drug. During the same year, the United States denied entrance to HIV infected immigrants and travelers. One of the first HIV support groups was founded in March 1987. ACT UP, which stands for “AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power,” formed at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in Manhattan, as a direct-­action advocacy group to help people with AIDS. The group worked to promote legislation, medical research, and treatment for AIDS patients. One of the hallmarks of ACT UP is their approach to non-­violent direct action: “often using vocal demonstrations and dramatic acts of civil disobedience” (ACT UP, n.d,). The AIDS Coalition was formed in response to the US government’s slow (mis)management of the AIDS crisis. One of the group’s first direct actions occurred at Wall Street on March 24, 1987, in which 17 people were arrested. Soon after, the FDA announced a drug approval process that was shortened by two years. During the same year, ACT UP and other activist groups demonstrated in front of the White House, in a show of civil disobedience. Highlighting their lack of understanding of the AIDS crisis, police wore rubber gloves while arresting the protesters. In January 1988, the Women’s Caucus of ACT UP NY organized their first action which focused, for the first time, on women and HIV. Protesters organized against an article “telling heterosexual women that unprotected vaginal intercourse with an HIV positive man is safe.” The Women’s Caucus produced a documentary, “Doctors, liars, and women: AIDS activists say NO to Cosmo,” about this misguided message to heterosexual women, which was shown around the country. It won various awards and was placed in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection (ACT UP, n.d.). In May 1988, ACT UP branches across the US had nine days of protests, focusing on specific aspects of the epidemic, such as IV drug use, homophobia, people of color, women, diagnostic tests for AIDS, prison programs, and children with AIDS. AIDS had also reached the mainstream. Three young, hemophiliac brothers who lived with their parents and younger sister in Arcadia, FL, were driven from their home after it was set on fire, and burned to the ground, by an arsonist. The brothers had been diagnosed with AIDS and are believed to have become infected by a blood-­clotting drug: The Ray brothers, who have a 6-year-­old sister, Candy, are Richard, 10 years old; Robert, 9, and Randy, 8. All are hemophiliacs and are thought to have become infected with the AIDS virus through the contamination of blood-­clotting drugs that they were being treated with. (“Family in AIDS case quits,” 1987)


LGBTQ Community and Social Media

The school that the brothers attended had barred them from attending, so the parents took the DeSoto County school system to court. A federal judge issued an order on August 5, 1987 to reinstate the brothers, and when the school reopened, parents boycotted it, and many kept their children at home. The family received telephone threats, bomb threats. After their home was burned down by an arsonist, their father stated to the media: “Arcadia is no longer our home” and “That was made clear to us last night” (“Family in AIDS case quits,” 1987). The AIDS virus spread from gay men to others, including women and children, although the largest numbers of AIDS-­diagnosed people were gay men. Ryan White (1971–1990), an Amer­ican teen haemophiliac, was diagnosed with AIDS in December 1984. He became infected with AIDS from a contaminated blood treatment. Like the Ray brothers, he was denied entrance to his school. White lived longer than his doctors expected, by five years. He died on April 8, 1990, a month before he was set to graduate from high school. He was an advocate for AIDS research, and also advocated for the education of the public to understand the AIDS virus and how it could not be transmitted through normal contact (“Ryan White: his story,” n.d.; “Who was Ryan White?,” 2016). Ryan White is viewed as one of the most noteworthy personalities with AIDS who were able to change the public perception of it being a “gay men’s disease.” This is not to diminish the fact that the majority of AIDS patients were gay men. Instead, the celebrity that White brought to the disease helped to destigmatize those who had AIDS. During his short life, he was able to bring the subject of AIDS education to the President’s Commission on the AIDS Epidemic. He appeared before the Commission and talked about the discrimination he faced when he tried to return to school, and how education helped people understand the disease. If people had the ability to use social media at that time, it is apparent that the AIDS epidemic would most likely have been noticed and identified much earlier. Enough people would have been outraged at the slow response to identifying and treating the disease, and it would also have forced governmental agencies to acknowledge the crisis and develop an effective treatment. We believe that social media provides an outlet for marginalized communities who do not have other institutionalized means to communicate, and allows them to become informed and socially active.

Self-­Assessment 1. How would you rate your understanding of the AIDS epidemic in the US? Please rate yourself from 0 (no understanding) to 5 (confident that I understand). Explain your answer.

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2. Prior to reading the first part of this chapter (above), what was your understanding of the advocacy for LGBTQ rights? Please explain. 3. How would you summarize your understanding of the history of the AIDS epidemic in the US?

Historical Context: Legislation, Policy, and Gay Rights 1960s–1970s The LGBTQ movement is well situated in the history of the US. The issues associated with the movement are well documented, along with those who support LGBTQ rights and those who believe the community does not have the rights of other Amer­icans. The Stonewall riots (or Stonewall uprising) occurred in 1969 after a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York. The riots led to the gay liberation movement and is one of the first modern-­day actions taken by the gay community. As you will read, gays and lesbians in America faced a negative, if not hostile, legal system in the 1950s and 1960s. The Stonewall was a gay club and, when police raided it, “bar patrons and neighborhood residents” rioted against the police who had conducted the raid. The raid led to six days of protests and “violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christophe Street, in neighboring streets and in nearly Christopher Park” (“Stonewall riots,” 2017). During the raids, patrons were arrested for a variety of reasons, including solicitation of homosexual relations and non-­gender-appropriate clothing (it should be noted that homosexuality was illegal in 49 states during the 1950s and 1960s). The Gay Liberation Front was formed in 1969 after the Stonewall riots and is one of the first activist groups to advocate for gay rights. The Stonewall riots are considered a “Watershed moment for the LGBTQ movement; subject to harassment, discrimination and violence” (“Stonewall riots,” 2017). The first gay pride parade occurred on June 28, 1970 in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, marking the one-­year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. On June 25, 2016, President Barack Obama recognized Stonewall as a National Monument and part of the National Park Service (“Stonewall National Monument,” n.d.). The website for the Stonewall National Monument states the following: “There was no out, there was just in.” It continues:  Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall


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Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum to the movement. The Stonewall National Monument website has an outstanding link for educators and includes various content area subjects, grade level and common core ideas (see www.nps.gov/teachers/index.htm).

Policies and Laws The idea that we live in the 21st century and are still, as a society, arguing about the rights of our fellow Amer­icans is, at first glance, shocking, if not unbelievable. There are still those who treat the LGBTQ community as second-­class citizens and undeserving of the rights given to all Amer­icans and protected by the Constitution (Tillery, 2018). We have only to look at the numbers of hate crimes aimed at the LGBTQ community: according to the FBI, there were 6,121 hate crimes reported in 2016. Of this number, 1,076 were based on bias toward sexual orientation and 124 were based on gender identity prejudice/bias, representing a 2% and 9% increase of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. Of the 124 incidents based on gender identity, “19 targeted gender non-­conforming people, a decrease of 54 percent from 2015. Yet, of those same 124 incidents, 105 targeted transgender people, an increase of 44 percent from 2015” (FBI: UCR, 2017). However, as noted previously, these numbers only represent the reported hate crimes, as reporting to the FBI is not mandatory. Therefore, these numbers are only an estimate –most likely there have been been others that have gone unreported. There is a history of anti-­LGBTQ legislation in the United States. The laws prohibiting “homosexual behaviour” in the US go back to the 1800s. These laws were passed in the District of Columbia (what we know today as Washington, DC) (LGBTQ history in government documents: timeline of documents, n.d.). In 1917, there was a law that prohibited “homosexuals” from immigrating to the US “based on their status as ‘persons of constitutional ­psychopathic inferiority.’ ” The 1990 Immigration Act “Removed homosexuality as grounds for exclusion from immigration to the U.S.” Another 1990 law, the Amer­icans with Disabilities Act, stipulated that the term “disabled” or “disability” would not apply to transvestites. The 1993 Department of Defense Directive, instituted by the Clinton administration on February 28, 1994, dealt with the implementation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” practice. Section E1.2.8 – Provisions Related to Homosexual Conduct. The Department of Defense Directive, 1304.26 was issued on December 21, 1993. It is believed that the murder of Allen R. Schindler on October 27, 1992 had much to do with the passage of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Schindler was murdered by a fellow service member

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


because he was gay. He had complained to his “superiors” about anti-­gay harassment and was in the process of leaving the Navy. His murder led advocates to push for an end to the military outlawing gay men and women from serving. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was in effect until September 20, 2011, when it was repealed after beung in effect for 17 years. According to Human Rights Watch, “it sent a message that discrimination was acceptable” (“Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ ” n.d.). It should be noted that on August 25, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum for the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security which “Prohibits transgender individuals from serving in the military.” Four days later, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued a statement which “clarifies that currently-­serving transgender personnel can continue serving while DoD develops a study and implementation plan.” Secretary Mattis’ statement served to put the presidential memorandum on hold. Another notable law that took effect in 1996 was the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on September 21, 1996. This occurred during Bill Clinton’s presidency, and was passed by both houses of Congress. The Act denied “federal recognition of same-­sex marriages a day after saying the law should not be used as an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against gays and lesbians” (Lamb, 2016). In 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the DOMA. The ruling “produced historic gains for gay rights” and “full federal recognition of legally married gay couples and an opening for such unions to resume in the nation’s most populous state,” also ruling that gay couples who had been married in states where gay marriages were recognized must be afforded the same federal benefits as health, tax, social security and other benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy (Barnes, 2013). For the state of California, the Supreme Court ruling essentially banned Proposition 8 (a proposition that banned same-­sex marriage, voted on by a majority of Californians) and Governor Jerry Brown ordered same-­sex marriages to resume. The 2013 ruling means that same-­sex marriage was legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “DOMA writes inequality into the entire United States Code” and that withholding federal recognition of same sex couple put them “in an unstable position of being in a second-­tier marriage.” He continued, “The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects … and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify.” (Barnes, 2013) Several years later, on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled on the “Fundamental Right to marriage for same-­sex couples.” This ruling held


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that same-­sex couples had the “fundamental right” to marry and extended same-­sex marriage to all 50 states (Richey, 2015). The right to marry for all same-­sex couples was held in a 5:4 decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the following in the majority opinion: The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-­sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. (Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, n.d.) Chief John Roberts wrote the dissenting opinion: When decisions are reached through democratic means, some people will inevitably be disappointed with the results. But those whose views do not prevail at least know that they have had their say, and accordingly are – in the tradition of our political culture – reconciled to the result of a fair and honest debate. (Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, n.d.) The ruling on right to marry for same-­sex couples across the US is viewed as a landmark decision and was a major victory to advance the civil and equal rights and socially just treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. The advancement in recognizing same-­sex couples and their right to marry also resulted in a “Legislative response to recognition of same-­sex marriage address potential religious implications.” This response summarizes the First Amendment Defense Act (“to prohibit the Federal Government from taking any discriminatory action against individuals or entities based on their religious or moral objection to same-­sex marriage or extramarital sexual relationships”) and the Equality Act (“to amend Federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation”) (“Legislative response,” 2015). Recently, there has been some language sent to US schools regarding transgender students. In the “Dear colleague letter on transgender students: notice of language assistance” (2016), the US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, provide guidance on the treatment of transgender students enrolled in public schools. They offer advice on how to address transgender students by the sex they identify with and discuss how to change school records to match with the student’s identified sex. The “Dear colleague” letter addresses compliance with Title IX, which states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” (“Title IX and sex discrimination,” 2015). The “Dear colleague” letter notes that schools must treat transgender students with “equal access to educational programs and activities even in circumstances in which other students, parents, or community members raise objections or concerns. As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students. (“Dear colleague letter,” 2016)  This letter is one of the most recent and welcome letters to guide education and educators to the rights of all students, in this case without exception, to a student’s gender identity. We include a link to the “Dear colleague letter” and “Examples of policies and emerging practices for supporting transgender students” at the end of the chapter. The treatment of transgender students in Amer­ican schools remains unsettled. With the election of President Trump, several of the protections for transgender students were removed. On February 22, 2017, the “Dear colleague letter on transgender students” was replaced with the “Dear colleague letter on the withdrawal of Title IX guidance.” This served to withdraw guidance to schools provided by the 2016 “Dear colleague letter on transgender students.” In the withdrawal, Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a press statement which stated:” The Department of Justice has a duty to enforce the law. The prior guidance documents did not contain sufficient legal analysis or explain how the interpretation was consistent with the language of Title IX. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice therefore have withdrawn the guidance. Congress, state legislatures, and local governments are in a position to adopt appropriate policies or laws addressing this issue. The Department of Justice remains committed to the proper interpretation and enforcement of Title IX and to its protections for all students, including LGBTQ students, from discrimination, bullying, and harassment. (“Statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” 2017) Another development that leads us to wonder if we are taking a step back in equal rights for the LGBTQ community was the removal of all LGBTQ content from the White House, Department of Labor, and State Department websites, which occurred soon after the election of Donald Trump. A page on LGBTQ rights disappeared from WhiteHouse.gov, and if you log onto the White House website, you will receive a message that


LGBTQ Community and Social Media

says: “That page cannot be found or is located on an archived web page.” A report on the Labor Department’s website regarding LGBTQ worker rights was also removed. If you try to log onto that page, you will receive a message that says “Page Not Found” and, to paraphrase, “The page you requested wasn’t found on your website” (Itkowitz, 2017). President Barack Obama’s archived website can still be found, and lists the advancements in LGBTQ rights during his terms as president (“The White House,” n.d.). There are a few other items during 2018 that we highlight here. On April 11, 2018, the Federal Register notice on National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) proposed to stop asking 16- and 17-year-­olds about their sexual orientation and gender identity. And, as noted in Chapter 5, on June 4, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-­sex couple, based on his religious beliefs. This decision was called the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The Supreme Court only ruled that the baker did not have to make a cake for the couple, based on his religious beliefs. But, critics believe that the ruling left out other, perhaps more important considerations. Justice Kennedy stated the following majority opinion. He asks: Is what the couple asked for (a post-­wedding party celebration cake) actually “speech” or “free exercise of religion?” The other question Kennedy raises is, did Phillip’s (the baker) refuse to make a wedding cake or provide “any cake at all” for the couple’s celebration? (Epps, 2018). At the time of writing, we are a few months away from 2019. We must consider and be vigilant of where legislation and equal opportunity, equality, and social justice will move for the LGBTQ community. As members of the multicultural community, we look to the leaders in the field of LGBTQ rights and take our cues from them. For example, the work that GLSEN (formerly the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) do is critical to the work that all educators do. The rights of all our students must be honored in the classroom, in our schools and in our communities. We recommend that you visit the GLSEN website, where you will find an array of items for students and educators. The National School Climate Survey report is considered one of the major reports produced by the GLSEN, and includes information regarding experiences of harassment and assault, anti-­LGBTQ discrimination, and the effects of a hostile school climate on educational outcomes and psychological well-­being (Kosciw et al., 2015). It also looks at LGBTQ students with respect to indicators of negative school climate. Unsurprisingly, the school climate toward LGBTQ students is hostile: for example, constant anti-­LGBTQ language by other students, victimization, and discrimination. As educators, parents, grandparents, human beings, we are compelled to consider the continued advancement of civil rights, equality, and social justice for the LGBTQ ­students and community. Here is a sample of anti-­LGBTQ remarks:

• • •

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


LGBTQ students in 2015 reported a decrease in homophobic remarks made by other students compared to all prior years. The percentage of students hearing homophobic remarks like “fag” or “dyke” frequently or often has dropped from over 80% in 2001 to less than 60% in 2015. Although the expression “That’s so gay” remains the most common form of anti-­LGBTQ language heard by LGBTQ students, its prevalence has declined consistently since 2001. In 2015, LGBTQ students reported a higher incidence of negative remarks about gender expression than in 2013. There was a decrease in school staff ’s frequency or intervention in both homophobic remarks and negative remarks about expression from 2013 to 2015. (Kosciw et al., 2015)

Bringing attention to the hate aimed at the LGBTQ community The murder of Matthew Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, is one of the first widely covered news stories of a hate crime committed against a gay man. Shepard was beaten by two perpetrators and left to die on the night of October 6, 1998. He was taken to a hospital in Fort Collins, CO, but died six days later. At the time, Lillian was teaching at a university in southern California and I (Mario) was teaching a class on multiculturalism. In those days, most of what was covered in multicultural courses dealt with ethnicity, race, and socio-­economic status. I had tried, previously, to introduce content related to the LGBT (at that time it was referred to as LGBT) community. I had experienced resistance for covering LGBT issues and tried to reintroduce it upon the killing of Shepard. I was met with less resistance this time around, and we were able to discuss what had happened in the context of a hate crime being committed, because of Matthew Shepard’s sexual orientation. His death was a turning point for me and I have covered LGBTQ issues in my teaching since then.  The killing of Shepard brought attention to hate crime legislation. In 1998, Shepard’s mother, Judy, created the Matthew Shepard Foundation and has been a leading activist for LGBTQ rights. She and others pushed for the passage of anti-­hate crime legislation and, in 2009, the US Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. President Barack Obama signed it into law on October 28, 2009. The law is often referred to as the Shepard/Byrd Act. James Byrd Jr. was an African Amer­ican man who was murdered in Jasper, TX on June 7, 1998. He was murdered by three White supremacists and was dragged for several miles, attached behind a pickup truck. The grisly crime also caught


LGBTQ Community and Social Media

national attention, as Byrd was viciously killed, his right arm and head severed. The remaining parts of his body were dumped in an African Amer­ican cemetery in Jasper. Byrd’s “dragging death” marked its 20th anniversary in 2018 (Kennedy, 2018; Ross, 2018). The Matthew Shepard Foundation’s mission states: “The Matthew Shepard Foundation empowers individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity through outreach, advocacy and resource programs. We strive to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance” (n.d.). October 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, too, and the University of Wyoming is planning a series of events to mark the event. President of the University, Laurie Nichols, notes that it is important to take stock of where the campus is at – 20 years after. Nichols states of the university: That we’re a campus that invites and values diversity and inclusion, that we want students, faculty, staff and community members here from all backgrounds. That it’s important to us and that we value it. That’s not always the stereotype given what happened 20 years ago and you know I hope we take away that we are a different place today. (Beck, 2018)

LGBTQ Rights and Activism Today: Movements, Causes, and Representation on social Media During the past decade or so, there have been instances where members of the LGBTQ community have been able to form online communities that address and advocate for social justice. Unfortunately, social media has also been a place where other people have harassed LGBTQ people with hate-­filled messages. We will not focus on those messages here, but will mention a couple of sad and tragic instances of harassment aimed at LGBTQ people. The first involved 18-year-­old student Tyler Clementi, a gifted violinist who was outed as gay on the internet. Clementi was a student at Rutgers University in New York and was outed by his roommate, who streamed a live video of him with a same-­sex partner on Facebook, also posting it on Twitter to 150 of his followers. Clementi jumped over the George Washington Bridge the next day after his roommate posted the video. Tyler Clementi’s last post on Facebook was made about 10 minutes before he died. He wrote: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry” (Pilkington, 2010). The death of Clementi led to an outpouring of “anger and outrage” from fellow students and on the internet. Vigils were held on

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campus with signs saying, “We’re here, we’re queer.” A Facebook group was created to honor Clementi, and more than 15,000 people followed the page. Clementi’s suicide was one of the earliest examples of the damage that can be inflicted by other human beings and social media. A remarkable fact in this tragic story is that even Clementi posted the decision to seek his own death online. The entire episode – from Ravi’s unwelcome videotaping to Clementi’s announced suicide – was conducted online. A growing generation of young people appear to understand human interactions first through a computer. This perhaps represents a significant marker of a generation gap – and a headache of regulation for parents and legislators. (Dayle, 2011) It is hard to believe that this tragic event happened less than a decade ago and social media has expanded beyond what it was in 2010 – that is, the hateful commentary and negative treatment of the LGBTQ community has increased since then. According to “Out online: the experiences of LGBT youth on the internet,” LGBTQ youth experience incidents of bullying and online harassment three times as much as non-­LGBTQ youth. However, the report also shows that LGBTQ youth have greater access to peer support, “access to health information and opportunities to be civically engaged” (“Out online,” n.d.).  The report also shows that LGBTQ youth were more likely to be bullied than non-­LGBTQ youth (42% vs. 15%, respectively). LGBTQ youth were more likely to be bullied via text message (27% vs. 13%) than their non-­ LGBTQ peers. The study also found some support for LGBTQ students online: Despite experiences of bullying and harassment online, LGBT youth indicated the Internet is also a space that offers safer opportunities to express who they are, find peer support and gain access to resources not necessarily available in person. LGBT youth were more likely to have searched for health and medical information compared to non-­ LGBT youth (81% vs. 46%), and half (50%) reported having at least one close online friend, compared to only 19% of non-­LGBT youth. (“Out online,” n.d.) Most recently, former Vice President Joe Biden launched #AsYouAre, a campaign to promote LGBTQ acceptance, launched in an effort to promote the “importance of family acceptance for LGBTQ youth” (Quackenbush, 2018). The objective of the campaign is to collect and disseminate personal stories from LGBTQ youth, parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, and others “to inspire, to create communities, to heal


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f­ amilies, and to change the broader culture to ensure a bright future for all LGBTQ young people.” Biden posted a campaign video on the Biden Foundation website (“Ensuring LGBTQ equality”, n.d.). The website and campaign post this message: “Let’s work together to make the world better for LGBTQ young people. No matter your background, you deserve to be safe and affirmed #AsYouAre.”

Chapter questions for discussion 1. What is the condition of the country with respect to LGBTQ issues? Please explain. 2. What is your take on the role of social media and the treatment of the LGBTQ community? 3. What do you consider to be one of the major issues impacting the LGBTQ community? 4. What is your take on the back and forth between laws that support the LGBTQ community versus those that impede it? 5. Are we treating members of the LGBTQ community in socially just ways? What areas need improvement?

Critical SELF-REFLECTION/CHECK-IN 1. How do you relate the content presented here as it relates to the socio-­ cultural context of the US? 2. What influence did the Stonewall riots have on the LGBTQ movement? 3. What will you do with the knowledge you have gained from this chapter?

KEEPING UP TO DATE AND FURTHER READING 1. LGBTQ heritage theme study. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.nps.gov/ subjects/tellingallAmer­icansstories/lgbtqthemestudy.htm. The LGBTQ theme study includes six chapters that look at historical sites, an introduction to the LGBTQ heritage sites, an introduction to LGBTQ history in the United States, the search for shared heritage, the preservation of LGBTQ heritage and the archaeological context. This themed study is available for free in two downloads. 2. A guide to state level advocacy following the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act

LGBTQ Community and Social Media


[PDF]. (2014). Available at https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/ HRC-­Hate-Crimes-­Guide-2014.pdf?_ga=2.69020561.1008360862. 1540201196-1555342458.1539893690. The Guide to State Level Advocacy Following the Enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act offers educators and other interested parties a hands-­on approach to learning about the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The contents include an introduction to hate crime, a definition of hate crime, model hate crimes laws for 52 states, a map of US Hate Crimes and a frequently asked questions section. The guide also includes a section on “What to Do If You Have Been the Victim of a Hate Crime.” 3. Examples of policies and emerging practices for supporting transgender students [PDF]. (2016, May). US Department of Education. Available at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/ emergingpractices.pdf. This publication includes pertinent information for public schools on how to work with transgender students and ensure equal access to education. Several sections are included: Student Transitions; Privacy, Confidentiality and Student Records; Sex-­Segregated Activities and Facilities; Additional Practices to Support Transgender Students, Terminology and Policies on Transgender Students. 4. Dear colleague letter on transgender students: notice of language assistance [PDF]. (2016, May 13). US Department of Justice & US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. Available at www2. ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-­201605-title-­ixtransgender.pdf. 5. Kosciw, J. G., Greytak,, E. A., Zongrone,, A. D., Clark, C. M., & Truong, N. L. (2018). The 2017 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools(Publication No. ISBN 978-1-934092-23-1). New York: GLSEN. GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey started in 2009. The 2017 study report looks at issues related to the LGBTQ student. Part One addresses the following: School Safety, Exposure to Biased Language, Experiences of Harassment and Assault at School, Reporting of School-­Based Harassment and Assault; Experiences of Discrimination at School; Hostile School Climate, Educational Outcomes, and Psychological Well-­Being. Part Two addresses: Availability of School-­ Based Resources and Supports; Utility of School-­Based Resources and Supports. Part Three addresses: School Climate by Personal Demographic and School Characteristics. Part Four covers Indicators of School Climate Over Time, e.g., Anti-­LGBTQ Remarks Over Time. 


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6. GLSEN, CiPHR, & CCRC (2013). Out online: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth on the Internet. New York: GLSEN. GLSEN conducted research on the experiences that LGBT youth had on the internet. Some of the findings show that the LGBT students continue to be harassed online. But another finding shows that the internet allows LGBT youth the opportunity to find people and organizations that support them. The 2017 survey looked at the experiences of LGBTQ students and indicators of negative school climate; incidence of hearing biased remarks in school; feeling unsafe at school; gender expression, race and/or ethnicity; absence from school due to safety reasons; experiencing assault or harassment at school and their experience with discriminatory practices and policies at school.

references ACT UP (n.d.). Retrieved from www.actupny.org/documents/capsule-­home.html. Barnes, R. (2013, June 26). Supreme Court strikes down key part of Defense of Marriage Act. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme­court/2013/06/26/f0039814-d9ab-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_story.html?utm_ term=.9b0212cdc752. Beck, B. (2018, July 31). UW will remember Matthew Shepard 20 years after his death. Retrieved from www.wyomingpublicmedia.org/post/uw-­will-remember-­ matthew-shepard-­20-years-­after-his-­death#stream/0. CDC. (1981, June 5). Pneumocystis pneumonia – Los Angeles. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/june_5.htm Chicana Brown Beret at La Marcha de la Reconquista (1971). (2014, April 17). Retrieved from www.notesfromaztlan.com/2014/04/16/chicana-­brown-beret-­atla-­marcha-de-­la-reconquista-­1971/. Criswell, C. (n.d.). A brief timeline of AIDS. Retrieved from www.factlv.org/time line.htm. Dayle, P. (2011, April 25). Tyler Clementi: privacy and persecution. Retrieved from www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/apr/25/gay-­rights-new-­ jersey. Dear colleague letter on transgender students: notice of language assistance [PDF]. (2016, May 13). U.S. Department of Justice & U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights. Retreived from www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/ colleague-­201605-title-­ix-transgender.pdf Ensuring LGBTQ equality. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2018, from https://bidenfoundation.org/pillars/equality/asyouare/. Epps, G. (2018, June 4). Justice Kennedy’s “masterpiece” ruling. Retrieved from www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/the-­court-slices-­a-narrow-­rulingout-­of-masterpiece-­cakeshop/561986/. Family in AIDS Case Quits Florida Town After House Burns. (1987, August 30). Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/1987/08/30/us/family-­in-aids-­case-quits-­ florida-town-­after-house-­burns.html.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation: Uniform Crime Reporting (FBI: UCR). (2017, October 25). 2016 hate crime statistics. Retrieved from https://ucr.fbi.gov/hate-­ crime/2016/hate-­crime. Itkowitz, C. (2017, January 20). LGBT rights page disappears from White House web site. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/local/2017/live-­updates/ politics/live-­coverage-of-­trumps-inauguration/lgbt-­rights-page-­disappears-from-­ white-house-­web-site/?utm_term=.2cae687b1752. Kennedy, B. (2018, June 7). 1998: when James Byrd was murdered in East Texas. Retrieved from www.star-­telegram.com/opinion/opn-­columns-blogs/bud-­kennedy/ article212722054.html. Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Giga, N. M., Villenas, C., & Danischewski, D. J. (2015). The 2015 National School Climate Survey: the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth in our nation’s schools [PDF]. Available at www.glsen.org/sites/default/files/2015%20National%20GLSEN%20 2015%20National%20School%20Climate%20Survey%20%28NSCS%29%20%20Full%20Report_0.pdf. Lamb, W. S. (2016, September 21). 20 years ago, Bill Clinton signed Defense of Marriage Act. Retrieved from www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/21/20years-­ago-bill-­clinton-signed-­defense-of-­marria/. Legislative response to recognition of same-­sex marriage address potential religious implications [PDF]. (2015, October 29). Congressional Research Center. Retrieved from http://ucsd.libguides.com/lgbtdocs/timeline. LGBTQ history in government documents: timeline of documents. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ucsd.libguides.com/lgbtdocs/timeline. Matthew Shepard Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.matthewshepard.org/. Obergefell et al. v. Hodges, Director, Ohio Department of Health, et al. [Ruling in Same Sex Marriage Case – Obergefell et al. v. Hodges]. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf. Published, October 2014.Out online: the experiences of LGBT youth on the internet. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.glsen.org/press/study-­finds-lgbt-­youth-face-­ greater-harassment-­online. Pilkington, E. (2010, September 30). Tyler Clementi, student outed as gay on internet, jumps to his death. Retrieved from https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2010/ sep/30/tyler-­clementi-gay-­student-suicide. Quackenbush, C. (2018, August 9). Joe Biden launches LGBTQ family acceptance campaign called “As You Are.” Retrieved from http://time.com/5361952/joe-­ biden-lgbtq-­family-acceptance-­as-you-­are/. Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.hrc.org/resources/ the-­repeal-of-­dont-ask-­dont-tell. Richey, W. (2015, June 26). Supreme Court declares same-sex couples’ “fundamental right” to marry. Retrieved from www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/0626/ Supreme-Court-declares-same-sex-couples-fundamental-right-to-marry. Ross, B., Jr. (2018, July 9). New York Times’ 20th anniversary piece on East Texas dragging death is powerful, yet disappointing. Retrieved from www.getreligion. org/getreligion/2018/7/11/new-­y ork-times-­2 0th-anniversary-­p iece-on-­jamesbyrd-­jrs-dragging-­death-is-­powerful-yet-­disappointing. Ryan White: his story. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ryanwhite.com/Ryans_Story. html


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Statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the withdrawal of Title IX guidance. (2017, March 17). Retrieved from www.justice.gov/opa/pr/statement-­ attorney-general-­jeff-sessions-­withdrawal-title-­ix-guidance. Stonewall: National Monument New York. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.nps.gov/ ston/index.htm. Stonewall Riots. (2017). Retrieved from www.history.com/topics/the-­stonewallriots. Tillery, B. (2018, March 19). Anti-­LGBTQ hate crimes are on the rise, and our government Is to blame. Retrieved from www.them.us/story/anti-­lgbtq-hate-­ crimes-are-­on-the-­rise/amp. A timeline of HIV and AIDS. (2018, March 27). Retrieved from www.hiv.gov/hiv-­ basics/overview/history/hiv-­and-aids-­timeline. Title IX and sex discrimination. (2015, October 15). Retrieved from www2.ed.gov/ about/offices/list/ocr/docs/tix_dis.html. The White House: President Barack Obama. (n.d.). Retrieved from https:// obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/. Who was Ryan White? (2016, October 1). Retrieved from https://hab.hrsa.gov/ about-­ryan-white-­hivaids-program/who-­was-ryan-­white.

Moving Forward Where Do We Go From Here?

Given the various issues we have addressed in this book –race, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ, violence, hate, etc. – we now ask a question. Where do we go from here? From our perspective as multicultural educators, who happen to be parents and grandparents and who interact daily with other people, we believe that it is important to engage in a critical dialogue that requires self-­reflection, critical thinking, and a willingness to engage; to create safe places (in this case, the classroom) where we can come together to take a deep look at the facts of our socio-­historical and cultural contexts that inform our “differences.” The way we choose to look at difference is through the lens of our shared histories, and specifically in the context of US history, cultural, and social contexts. This isn’t an easy task and we realize that. It is often painful to look at our history and to understand that Africans were enslaved and brought to the colonies, against their will; that human beings were “bought” and “sold”; that families were separated when sold into slavery. It is hard to look at the history of the genocide of the indigenous people of the Americas, the Native Amer­icans. It is tough coming to the realization that the United States systematically deculturalized the very people native to the United States. It is hard to look at the fact that we have hate crimes in America today – because of a person’s skin color, or due to their sexual orientation. Too often, we hear from our students, family, friends, and strangers, “Why do we have to look at ‘difference’ and instead ask why we can’t look at ourselves as one common human family?” It’s the “I don’t see color,” as in “I don’t see difference,” argument. Why can’t we forget the past and look at ourselves as equal in every way? To be sure, we look forward to that time when we can move to the level – as a country, as the human race – where “we only see the human race.” As multicultural and critical teacher educators, we look at the different levels of difference and consider each in the ways that will help all of us understand why (as a country) we are where we are. We hope this makes sense. We hope that you see the critical insights offered in your social media feeds, daily, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,


Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?

YouTube, or other social platforms. As educators, we value the traditional view of multiculturalists which considers the different groups of people and the specific ways each group is addressed in a pluralistic society. Hopefully, this text provided the reader with an expanded view of the given group as each one is addressed in the current social media and news cycle. We must get used to seeing our differences – as of 2045, the US will become “minority White,” according to census projections. One half of the Amer­ican population will be non-­White and a third will be Latina/o. How we talk to one another on social media (e.g., women, immigrants, Black, brown, or White Amer­icans) is a mirror into how each group is “thought about” or even treated within the social and cultural context of what it means to be a member (of a given group) in the United States. The different groups will no longer be in the margin and will become the heart of America. Social media is the most used source for news. This, along with our respective historical, cultural, and social experience (context), is who we are as Amer­icans and all others who reside in the United States. The history of the United States is our shared history. We hope that you, the reader, understand that the challenge when talking about Amer­ ican history is that it is most often taught from a European, middle-­class, and Christian perspective. As Chicana/o/s, non-­Europeans, we understand the history of the US as part of our “collective” history, because (although we were born in the United States) we are not European. Our racial and ethnic past is a mix of indigenous/native people who were here before the arrival of the Europeans, as well with the Spanish who colonized the Americas along with Africans. We understand that our indigenous ancestors were here before the European colonization. We understand that part of our experience is European, and because of our Spanish surnames and varying color tones we are visibly non-­European or non-­White. We understand that, sometimes, we might be questioned about our nationality – whether or not we are here legally or illegally, immigrant or child of immigrants. These are questions that most European/White Amer­icans do not have to entertain. We are not accusing anyone of being racist, prejudiced, or hateful, but these acts are part of our current America, and it is something we must look at, move beyond … and take action. We are dedicated to teaching the history of what it means to be European Amer­ican, African Amer­ican, Latina/o Amer­ican, Asian Amer­ican. We also advocate for understanding, as best we can, what it means to be a woman, a girl, a member of the LGBTQ community, or a member of a religious group that is different than the one you may (or may not) ascribe to. We consider the current hate crimes and violence in the US and abroad. We look at how we (collectively) address these issues on social media. We look at how hate, homophobia, violence, and racial intolerance occur in the US and how they are addressed in our 24/7 social media feed.

Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?


It is important, when we look at these different issues and the people that are impacted, that we consider the perspective of each group and the historical context of the given group. For example, when we teach about slavery, it is important to go beyond what we read in the book or curriculum guide that we are given to “teach” from. Even now, as I (Lillian) teach about difference and the treatment of different groups in the US, I (still) will have at least one well-­meaning and thoughtful student who will ask something along the lines of: “Why does this matter? Can’t we just all please just work together and get along? Why can’t we begin to just see ourselves as part of the human family rather than Black Amer­ican, White Amer­ican, Latina/o Amer­ican, etc.?” I take this question very seriously. My answer is this. Yes. We are part of the human family. We are one people. We should all be treated equally and equitably. According to the US Declaration of Independence, it is stated that “All men are created equal.” However, in practice, this is not happening. We still have police shootings of unarmed Black men occurring at an alarming rate. We still have racist rants from people on live video feeds who tell Latina/o/s’s to speak English and tell them to “go back to Mexico” (All Latina/o/s are not from Mexico). White Amer­icans are still caught on video calling the police on Black Amer­icans: for example, “You can’t BBQ here,” or “You can’t take a nap here,” or “You can’t sit in Starbucks without ordering a drink.” We still have innocent children and adults of all backgrounds dying from violent mass shootings. So, yes. We are all part of the human race, but we need to work on all of the things listed above. We need to face our reality as a country. By understanding our real, lived experiences individually and collectively, we may be able to address the current events that are occurring in our country. We believe that nationalism is different from patriotism. We are patriots – we love our country. We do not, however, identify as nationalists – in that America is the country of only European Amer­ icans. Our collective histories tell us that the United States is the collective “our” country – for all of us. Each of the groups mentioned in this book has an experience from America that is specific to their given experience. It is imperative that we look beyond party affiliation and ideology; that we come together as a country of peoples willing to look at ourselves and our history, as painful as that may be.

Historical Context Looking at our history as a country, specific to our particular people or group, is necessary to understand what is happening in America today. By focusing on the historical context of a given group of people, we can better understand, widen our perspectives, and look through the lens of someone else; to understand that there are reasons for the place we find our country


Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?

in today, especially the treatment of people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women. If we consider the rise in hate crimes and the political context of the United States, we may be able to look at these horrific occurrences as unsurprising – in fact, we may be able to understand why this is happening. We might be able to figure out what to do to circumvent some of the hate crimes and hate-­related violence that have occurred in our recent past.

Socio-­Cultural Context It is imperative that we look at and reflect on our respective social and cultural context and experiences. This may include where you grew up, family and home life, community, relationship to other people, friends, religious beliefs or not, education, socio-­economic status. This is a non-­exhaustive list, but it’s a start. We stress the need for all people to better understand their respective experiences. We achieve this by looking closely at our own respective personal histories, in order to understand ourselves in the context of family, religion, traditions, etc. We encourage teachers, parents, and others to do the same for themselves and for their students or children. All of our ancestors came from some place other than the United States – unless you are native and indigenous to this land. It is time to move beyond ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism distinguish between a view of another people’s behavior using one’s own culture as the basis for evaluation and judgment (ethnocentrism), and a view that strives to comprehend and understand another person’s behavior in terms of the context in which it occurs, their view of the situation, using their standards and categories (cultural relativism). It is time to move beyond our ethnocentrism – whatever it looks like – and consider that not every other person shares the same experience as us. One area of work that we focus on as teacher educators and in our personal lives is to look at our respective family histories. In this case, we encourage our university students to look at their families, their experiences, their family’s story. Students conduct and record interviews with family elders. They go through family records and note specific family history facts. Some of our students conduct family genealogy research on sites like www.ancestry.com or www.23andme. Some have been able to talk with relatives who have kept family records and, in some cases, family histories, photos and video, and other memories. These are important activities for all families. We believe that by understanding ourselves, we can begin to look at others in a way that is, perhaps, more inquisitive, and hopefully move toward sharing and understanding as we move to the next story, trend, and serious topic that social media “share” with all of us. Indeed, social media act as a “pulse,” showing us what is going on here and elsewhere.

Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?


Social Media We communicate daily with friends, acquaintances, and strangers on social media. Depending on our friends, and the various people or news outlets or other groups we follow, we understand that we alone filter what we see/ don’t see on social media. Social media have given us unprecedented access to different information about people, places, events, etc. Many of us are connected via our smartphone, laptops, tablets, etc. Because of our social media use and access, we communicate with people on any variety of political, social, and cultural topics. Much of what is happening, in terms of difference and areas of concern, including violence and hate, is being discussed daily on social media platforms. As you have discovered, much of the “discussion” that occurs is often unfiltered. Much of what people “react” to is decontextualized, in that you have individuals responding to one another at a specific time on a given topic, and that is it. This does not encourage extended dialogue. The classroom can offer a place to look at our understanding of the social, cultural, and sometimes political, context of what is happening in America. We encourage you to talk, dialogue, and consider your understanding, and the personal context for your beliefs and ideas that you hold about other people and the issues we face today.

No Easy Answers How can we address the issues discussed in this book? There are no easy answers. Issues of racial intolerance, hate, bigotry toward people that are different than us, intolerance toward the LGBTQ community, and the maltreatment of other people are part of the history of the US and are still prevalent. The increase in hate crimes, mass violence in schools, and in public places is not going to go away. These are real problems that are part of the Amer­ican experience. There isn’t a specific “strategy” that we can apply in the classroom, because the issues addressed here will not be “solved” with a strategy. But we can look at the way we address issues associated with difference, hate, violence, etc. We can start in our homes, our place of work, and our schools. We’ve certainly started to talk about these issues online via social media. The idea that the various social media have been the catalyst for the varied discussions occurring today is not to be underestimated. Social media are part of our daily lives. By modeling how we communicate and talk about the issues, we might be able to make inroads. How we communicate begins in the home and is carried into the school context. If we see something that is wrong, we need to be able to counter the narrative. Social media as the platforms for discussing difficult topics and issues of difference, bigotry, and hate offer all of us an opportunity to counter: the narrative of hate, bigotry, and maltreatment of people of


Moving Forward: Where Do We Go From Here?

color, people of different religions or no religious affiliation; the mistreatment of women; racial profiling; and mass-­fatality violence. Social media have had a strong impact on civic and political engagement. In 2018, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag turned five years old. According to the Pew Research Center, “#BlackLivesMatter has become an archetypal example of modern protests and political engagement on social media,” and a new “Pew Research Center analysis of public tweets finds the hashtag has been used nearly 30 million times on Twitter – an average of 17,002 times per day – as of May 1, 2018” (Anderson et al., 2018). The #MeToo movement has also had a prominent presence on social media. Through the power of social media, these movements have been able to plan for action, to question the killings of unarmed Black men, and to question the sexual abuse of women by men in positions of authority. The #MeToo movement is alive and well on social media, as its slogan is a powerful anti-­sexual harassment movement. Roughly half of Amer­icans are civically active on social media: • • • • •

34% have taken part in a group that shares an interest in an issue or cause. 32% have encouraged others to take action on issues that are important to them. 19% have used social media to look up information on local protests and rallies. 18% have changed their profile pictures to show support for a cause. 14% have used hashtags related to a political or social issue. (Anderson et al., 2018)

The time is ripe for all of us to pay attention to the multiple information posting, sharing, and dialoguing that is occurring on social media. Activism is present on social media – no longer are they merely a place for us to post our latest selfie or favorite meal (although these are nice things to post!). The platform for dialogue has widened beyond anything we could have foreseen, as far back as 2006 (when Facebook became available for public use), and in July 2006 (when Twitter was founded). A mere decade or so ago, we didn’t have this type of access to people around the country and world. The access we have today is unprecedented, and it is up to us to join in the dialogue, think critically, and take action.

reference Anderson, M., Toor, S., Rainie, L., & Smith, A. (2018, July 11). Activism in the social media age [PDF]. Retrieved from www.pewinternet.org/2018/07/11/ activism-­in-the-­social-media-­age/.

Index 16th Street Baptist Church bombing 80 A abortion rights 90, 93 Abram, Onsayo Lake Merritt barbecue incident 110–11 ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) 149 activism on social media 34, 108, 126, 170; see also BLM (Black Lives Matter movement); #MeToo movement affirmative action 18–19 African Americans: memorial to those lynched 46; and Muslim community 78; perceived as perpe trators 39–40; religious oppression of 79; segregation and 16–17; Trump abuse of 49; and voting 17; White harassment of 110–13; see also BLM (Black Lives Matter movement); slavery Age Gap in Religion Around the World, The (Pew Research Center) 72, 74 AIDS 147, 148–50 All Lives Matter argument, fallacy of 20, 39, 45 alternative facts 8, 122–3 alt-right and hate crime 35–6, 128–30 Americans, Native (“Indians”) 21; ethnic cleansing of 31, 59, 165 Americans with Disabilities Act 152 anonymity online 11, 26, 27, 107 anti-Semitism see Jews Apple and hate speech 124–5 ArchiveSocial 33 asylum seekers 67, 68–9, 74, 75; see also refugees #AsYouAre campaign 159–60 atheism, growth of 74–5 B Bakke, Allan and college quotas 18 Beres, Derek on Christian support for Trump 67

Biden, Joe and #AsYouAre 159–60 Biggest Lie, The (SPLC) 39, 40 bilingual education 17–18, 20 Black churches, attacks on by White Americans 80; see also Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church mass shooting #Black Lives Matter see BLM (Black Lives Matter movement) Black men killed by police 19–20, 36–9, 40, 44, 167 Black NFL players and national anthem 49 “black on white crime” myth on the internet 40 BLM (Black Lives Matter movement) 19–20, 37, 170; backlash against 45; and killing of Michael Brown 38–9, 44 Breitbart News 129 Brown, Michael shooting of 19, 38–9, 44 Brown, Reverend Amos on Trump’s racist rhetoric 110 Buchanan, Pat, racism of 40 Burke, Tarana coins “Me Too” 99 Byrd Jr., James, murder of 157–8 C Calderon, Alfonso 132 Canadian police contrasted with US 40 cancer patients protest against Trump 96–7 Capital Gazette mass shooting June 28, 2018 105 Carey, J. on Christianity and refugees 69–70, 71 Castile, Philando, police shooting of streamed on Facebook Live 36–8 Catholics and Catholicism 60, 73; and 2016 election 67; and LGBTQ community 72; and Muslims 79; and UFW 63–4 CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 148



Chadwick, Sarah 133 Chavez, Cesar and UFW 63–4 Chicano movement 146–7 children: and AIDS 149–50; DACA illustrative case 27–8; police called on Black 111; and religious prejudice 59, 80–1; rights of 15, 20; separation of immigrant from parents 67, 68–9, 74, 75; use of media 2, 89; see also schools Chinese Exclusion Act 1882 31 Christianity (Protestant) in America 56, 59, 72–3, 166; attitude to refugees 69–71, 75; and hypocrisy 67–8; and Muslims 43, 79; prejudice illustrative case 56–8; and racism 60–2; see also Catholics and Catholicism; Evangelical Right Church and State, separation of 65–6, 72 citizen reporters 8, 37, 38 Civil Rights Act 1964 16, 21, 23, 26, 32; and equality in employment 18, 91; and LGBTQ community 77; and multicultural education 15–16, 17–18; and universities 18–19; and voting 17 Civil Rights Movement 15, 60–3, 79–80, 89, 92 Clair, Matthew, on institutional racism and inequality 29–30 Clementi, Tyler, suicide of 158–9 Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur 93 CNN 46, 49; fake news and Facebook 107–8; and InfoWars 124; and Trump 50, 51 Cohen, Michael 94 color, people of 9, 16–17, 19, 165; and Evangelical Right 74; hate crimes against 41, 115; online harassment 35; oppression of 47–8; and racism in everyday situations 41–2, 110–15 Colorlines 39 Columbine High School mass shooting 118–19 conspiracy theories 123–6; and mass shootings 121–2, 123; Obama Muslim/not born in US 43 contraception 90, 92 Conway, Kelly Anne, and alternative facts 122 Cruz, Nikolas 130–1, 132 Cruz, Ted 49

cultural responsivity 15, 31–2; nonWestern students and Western culture 21, 30 cyber bullying 11, 21, 159 D Daniels, Stormy 94 Darcy, Oliver on fake news and Facebook 107–8 Davidson, Frederick Martin 117–18 deculturalization 21, 30, 165 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) 27, 28 Denis, Jeffrey S. on institutional racism and inequality 29–30 Department of Defense Directive 1304.26, 152 deportation of illegal immigrants 9, 21, 28 difference and diversity 10, 14, 22 distancing in online communication 11–12 DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) 153 E education: bilingual 17–18, 20, 27; cultural responsivity in 31–2; and history of racism and slavery 29, 30–1; and LGBTQ community 156, 157; multicultural 10, 14, 15–16; and religion 65, 80; and segregation 17; and transgender students 154–5; see also GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network); schools EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) 91 Electome project 32, 33 Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church mass shooting 40, 41 equality 15, 72, 95, 167; and Evangelical Right 64, 65; and immigrants 21; and LGBTQ community 20–2, 77, 154–6; women’s 90, 91, 93; see also Civil Rights Act 1964 ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) 64, 90 ethnocentrism 168 Eva Longoria Foundation 98 Evangelical Right 64–5; and 2016 election 66–7; evangelizing by 73–4; and LGBTQ community 65–6, 72; prejudice against Muslims 78–9; and treatment of immigrant children 68, 74, 75; and Trump 92, 94


F Facebook 3; and Clementi suicide 158–9; and conspiracy theories 108–9, 123–4; content review 108; hate speech on 107–8, 113, 124–6; as news source 8; and Obama 32, 33; percentages of people using 4; and Pulse Nightclub mass shooting 133; racist posts on 27–8, 36; reactions to African American lynch victims memorial 46–7; Safety Check tool 138; and separation of immigrant children from parents 75; and Women’s March 96 Facebook Live streaming video 36–8, 113 fake news 10, 50, 107–8, 121–2, 125–6 Falwell, Jerry 64 family history 168 FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and hate crimes 22, 41, 152 Feminine Mystique, The (Friedan) 89 Fisher v. University of Texas 18 Fitzgerald, F. on Evangelical Right 64–5 Fourteenth Amendment 18, 154 Franken, Al 38, 100 free speech 108 G “Gamergate” 129 gangs and gang related violence 106 Garner, Eric, killing of 19, 38 Garza v. Hargan 90 Gates, Bill 1 Geldof, Bob 117 Gender Equity in Education Act 93 gender pay gap 91 General Electric v. Gilbert 93 Generation Y 4 Gingrich, Newt 46 GIPHY 33 girls, teenage, pressures and expectations 87–9 Giuliani, Rudy on BLM 45–6 GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) 156, 163–4 Gonzalez, Emma 133 Good Samaritan, parable of the 69 Google 2 Griswold v. Connecticut 92 groups, common interest virtual 11, 12 Grover Cleveland Elementary School shooting 116


gun control 21, 132–3; and Sandy Hook shooting 120, 121–2, 126 Gun Violence Archive killed and injured statistics 104–5 gun violence, increase in 105–6 H Harris, Eric 118–19 Hartmire, Chris 63 hashtags 129, 138–9; activism and 34, 170; #BlackLivesMatter 45–6, 170; #JeSuisCharlie 136–7; LGBTQ community 159–60; #MeToo 170; Paris terrorist attack, November 2015 138–9; #PhilandoCastile 37 Hate Crime Statistics 2016 report 22 hate crimes 22–3, 35, 41, 165, 169–70; California statistics 109; increasing since Trump 110, 115; Islamist inspired 134–5; against LGBTQ community 152–3, 157; against people of color 115 hate groups on social media 35, 66, 109, 115–16 HHS (Health and Human Services) 68 history: Eurocentric bias in teaching 30, 166; need to acknowledge unpalatable truths of 47–8, 167–8 Hogg, David 133 Holocaust 116; deniers 107–9 HONR Network 123 Huberty, James 117 I “I don’t like Mondays” shooting and song 116–17 immigrants, illegal 21, 28, 74, 75 Immigration Act 1990 152 immigration and American identity 29, 31, 47, 58–9, 60, 166 InfoWars 107–8, 121, 123, 124–6 Instagram 4, 87–8; celebrities on 88, 89 institutional racism 29–30, 40 Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) 33 internet: emergence of 1–2; percentages of people using 4–5 Internet Archive 33 Iraq, Evangelical Missions to 64–5 Irish immigrants 47, 60 ISIS 134–5, 137; use of hashtags 139 Isla Vista mass shooting 126–9 Islamist inspired mass murder 134, 135–6, 139



J Jenner, Caitlyn 9 #JeSuisCharlie 136–7 Jews 77; increase in anti-Semitism 115–16, 123; see also Holocaust Jim Crow Laws, The 16, 31, 61–2 Jones, Alex: anti-Muslim hate videos 124; claims Sandy Hook shooting was faked 121–2; Facebook page 123–4, 124–5; hate and death threats inspired by 126; and Trump 123 Jones. Leslie 35–6 Judd, Ashley 99

live streaming 36–7 #LivingWhileBlack 111–12 #LivingWhileBrown 113–15

K Kaleem, J. on the “Trump effect” increase in racism 35 Kaposi’s sarcoma 147, 148 Kavanaugh, Brett M. 65–6; and abortion rights 90 Kelly, Megyn, abused by Trump 95–6 Kennedy, John F. 60 Kennedy, Justice Anthony on same-sex marriage 77, 153, 154, 156 Kim Jong Un 50 King, Martin Luther 60–2 Kirchberg v. Feenstra 93 Klebold, Dylan 118–19 L Lampe, Professor Cliff 46 Lanza, Adam 119–20 Latinas/os: and Catholic Church 73; racism against 35, 69, 74, 113–15, 167; Trump abuse of 48, 67 Lau v. Nichols 17–18, 27 Lemon, Don 49 Lemon Grove School District ruling on segregated education 17 “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (King) 61–2 Levin, Professor Brian on White nationalism and social media 109 LGBTQ community 9, 21–3, 146; and AIDS 148; Chicana/o/s and 147; and Christianity 72, 73; and Evangelical Right 65, 66, 76–7; legislation and civil rights 151–7; online harassment of 158–60; and Pulse Nightclub shooting 135 linguicide 30 Lipstadt, Professor Deborah on Holocaust denial 108–9

M MAGA (Make America Great Again) 68 Mandalay Bay concert mass shooting 135 Manigault Newman, Omarosa 48–9 “March For Our Lives” protest 132 Marcha de la Reconquista, La 147 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting 130–2 Maroney, McKayla 99 marriage, same-sex 65, 153–4; see also Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Martin, Trayvon, murder of 40, 129 mass shootings 21, 105–6, 167; definition of 104; Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church 40, 41; Isla Vista 126–8; Mandalay Bay Concert 135; Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School 130–2; McDonalds San Ysidro 117; presocial media instances of 116–19; Pulse Nightclub 133–5; Sandy Hook Elementary School 119–21 Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission 76–7, 156 Mateen, Omar 133, 134 Matthew Shepard Foundation 157, 158 Mattis, Jim, Secretary of Defense 153 McDonald, Laquan, murder of 19 McDonalds San Ysidro mass shooting 117 McDougal, Karen 94 McLaren, P. on the Civil Rights Movement 15 McPherson, Molly 37 #MeToo movement 92, 99–101, 170 Mexican immigrants 9, 20, 28, 48, 115; students 27 Mexican labourers, historic exploitation of 31 Milano, Alyssa 99, 100–1 misogyny 22, 129–30; Trump’s 66–7, 92, 94, 95; see also women, violence against; women’s movement MIT Media Lab 32, 33 Moll, L.C. et al. on cultural-historical fund of knowledge 31


Moore, Roy 99–100 movie industry, sexual harassment within 99 multiracial families, Cheerios advert depiction of 8–9 Musically 88 Muslims 77–9; Evangelical program to convert 64–5; Facebook pages against 108; hate crimes against 22; prejudice against 59, 70, 71; refugees 21, 70; YouTube hate videos against 124 N Nassar, Lawrence G. 99 National Conference of Catholic Bishops 63–4 National Hate Crimes database 41 National Memorial for Peace and Justice 47 Nazi Germany 116 Nazis and the alt-right 128–9 Never Again movement 132 news stories, sharing of 7–8 Newsweek on hate crimes in California 109 NFL (National Football League) 49 NOW (National Organization of Women) 90 O Obama, Barack: first social media president 32–3; first tweet 34–5; and LGBTQ community 151, 156; and Paris terrorist attack 138; and Pulse Nightclub shooting 135; racist memes and posts against 42–3; and Sandy Hook shooting 120; and unrealistic “post-racial America” rhetoric 23, 29–30 Obama, Michelle racist posts against 36, 43–4 Obama administration: social media accounts 34; social media archive projects 32–4 Oetken, Allie 96–7 opinion: and current news 11–12; and difference 8 Out online: the experiences of LGBT youth on the internet 159 P Paddock, Stephen 135


Pew Research Center 35; on hashtags 170; on Muslims in US 77; percentages of people using social media and internet 4–5; percentages of Protestants in US 60; on religion and public life 72; on religious belief 74; on Trump’s refugee policy 79 Philips v. Martin Marietta Corporation 93 Pinterest 87 Plessy v. Ferguson 31 Pozner, Noah (Sandy Hook victim) 122, 123 prejudice 26, 110–11, 169–70; antiIslamic 59; and racism 29 Pressman, J. on Women’s March 96 Protestantism see Christianity (Protestant) in America Przybyla, H.M. on Women’s March 95, 96, 97 PUAhate 129–30 Puerto Rican woman, harassment of 113 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting 133–5 Q Queen Bees & Wannabes (Wiseman) 88 quotas and discrimination 18 R racism 9, 21, 26, 30, 35, 45–6; against Black men as perceived threat to Whites 39–40; and Christianity 60–1; and European immigrants 29; against Mexicans 27; non-violent protests against 61–2; against Obama 42–4; and people of color in everyday situations 41–2, 114–15, 167; and prejudice 29, 35 Reddit, on All Lives Matter argument 20 refugees 21, 23, 70, 79 religious diversity in America 72–3 religious freedom and Evangelical Right 65–6 religious prejudice 56–8 Relive 44 archive 33–4 Republican Party and Evangelical Right 64 Reynolds, Diamond, and Castile shooting 36–8 Rhizome 33



Rodger, Elliot 127–8 Roe v. Wade 90, 92 Roncin, Joachim coins “Je Suis Charlie” 137 Roof, Dylan 40, 41, 128 Rossello, Ricardo 113 Rubio, Marco 46, 49 Rutledge, P.B. on Sandy Hook and social media 121

Sleeter, C. on the Civil Rights Movement 15 Snapchat 4 social media: definition 3; percentages of people using 4 “Social media has become a catalyst for the spread of racism” (Samuels) 43 social networking 3, 88 socio-cultural contextualizing 168 Spacey, Kevin 99 Spencer, Brenda Ann 116–17 Spencer, Richard Bertraund 129 SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) 35; on alt-right killers 128, 129; on Black men as perpetrators 39; on Westboro Baptist Church 66; on White Sharia 130 Starbucks, examples of racism in 42, 112–13, 113–14 Stelter, Brian on Facebook Holocaust denial 107 Stonewall riots 151–2 suicide and social media bullying 158–9 Syrian refugees 21

S Samuels, A.M. on Obama and social media 43 San Diego State University shooting 117–18 Sanders, Sarah Huckabee, on children separated from parents 68 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting 119–21; conspiracy theories on 121–2 Sandy Hook Promise activist group 126 Schindler, Allen R., murder of 152–3 Schlossberg, Aaron 114–15 schools: anti-LGBTQ sentiment in 156–7; deculturalization in 30; demographic changes within 27; imposition of religious practice in 65–6; and religious tolerance 80–1; segregation and 17–18; transgender students 154–5, 163; violence and shootings in 106, 116–17, 118–21, 130–2 Schouten, F. on Women’s March 95, 96, 97 SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) 61 SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) 76–7 segregation 16–18, 31, 61–2 SEIU (Service Employees International Union) 98 selfies 89 Sessions, Jeff: on Central American immigrants 69; on LGBTQ students’ rights 155 sexual exploitation 99–101 Sharia law 70 Shepard, Matthew, murder of 157 Shepard/Byrd Act 157 Shoichet, C.E. on live streaming of Castile shooting 37 slavery 21, 30–1, 78, 79, 165; racism a result of 39, 40, 41

T Tatum, B. on racism and prejudice 29 “Teaching Hard History: American Slavery” (Shuster) 31 terrorist attacks: Ariana Grande concert 139; Bataclan nightclub 138; Charlie Hebdo 135–7, 138; Paris, November 2015 137–9 Texas, University of 18, 33 transgender community 9, 152, 153, 154–5 transvestites 152 Trump, Donald: and abortion rights 90; alleged affairs with Daniels and McDougal 94; and alternative facts 8; and Central American asylum seekers 68; conspiracy theories enthusiast 123; and hate crimes 22, 109, 110; and LGBTQ community 155–6; misogyny of 66–7, 92, 94, 95; and Muslims 21, 78–9; online abuse of public figures 49, 51; questions Obama’s birthplace 43; and racism 9, 26, 35, 115; and racist xenophobia 28–9; support from Evangelical Christians 65, 66–7, 74; and transgender military personnel 153; Twitter abuse of Kim Jong Un 50;


use of Twitter 48–51; worldwide demonstrations against in 2017 95, 96–7 Twitter: and Charlie Hebdo attack 137; as news source 7–8; Obama administration use of 32, 33–5; and racist hate speech 35; and Starbucks 112; Trump use of 48–51, 96 U Uberti, David on Diamond Reynolds’s live streaming of Castile shooting 36, 37–8 UFW (United Farm Workers movement) 63–4 V victims of violence, online hate targeted at 122, 123 video recordings, sharing of, and Black Lives Matter 19–20 vignettes: girls, being smart, and soccer 86–7; racism 27–8; religious prejudice 56–8, 59 Violence Against Women Act 93 viral videos: Black men arrested in Starbucks 112–13; #LivingWhileBlack 110–11; Michael Brown shooting 44; and news agenda 37, 39 Voting Rights Act 1965 17 W Warren, Elizabeth 49 Waters, Maxine 49 Webster v. Reproductive Health Services 93 Weinstein, Harvey and sexual harassment 99 Westboro Baptist Church, anti LGBTQ hate group 66


“What the Bible Says About How to Treat Refugees” (Carey) 69–71 White, Ryan 150 White nationalists 109, 129, 130; antiSemitism of 116 White Sharia 130 White supremacists 39–40, 41; on Facebook 108; murder of James Byrd Jr. 157–8 White victimhood 45 White women and Black men 39, 40 White people, advantages of 29 Winfrey, Oprah at Golden Globe Awards 100 women, violence against 93, 99 Women’s March 2018 97–8 Women’s March on Washington 2017 95–7, 99 Women’s movement 86, 89–92; activism on social media 97, 98–9; and Trump 94; see also #MeToo movement Women’s Studies degree programs 91 World-Wide Web 1–2 Wright, Kai, on White police killing Black teenagers 39 Wyoming, University of 157, 158 X xenophobia 29 Y Yiannopoulos, Milo 35, 129 YouTube: hate incitement videos on 107; hate speech videos 113, 124, 125; and Isla Vista shooting 127; as news source 8 Z Zuckerberg, Mark 3, 107; and hate crimes 125–6; and Holocaust deniers 108–9