Historian Kathleen Belew on "A Field Guide to White Supremacy"
(This conversation first aired on December 8, 2021)
The House Select Committee investigating the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 has interviewed hundreds of witnesses and made several criminal referrals to the US Justice Department for witnesses who have refused to appear before the Committee. Meanwhile, hundreds of rioters have been indicted and many imprisoned for their role in the attempt to subvert democracy.
A federal jury in Charlottesville, Virginia, found 12 individuals and five organizations liable for $26 million in damages stemming from the Unite the Right Rally in 2017.
Did the mob that stormed the US Capitol simply coalesce around the fantasy that the election was stolen from Donald Trump?
What effect do monetary verdicts and criminal penalties have on the neo Nazi and White supremacist organizations that are behind this tragic deadly violence?
Can the roots of the violence be traced back to rage about government that began in the 1970s?
Today, we'll listen back to a conversation Tom had back in December, 2021, with Dr. Kathleen Belew. She’s an assistant professor of history at the University of Chicago, where she is also the faculty affiliate at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. She is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.
And along with Ramón Gutiérrez, she is the editor of, and contributor to, a new collection of essays called A Field Guide to White Supremacy, in which she and other leading scholars explore how different forms of White supremacy and hatred manifest in events like those that took place on January 6th, and extend to domestic partner violence, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-immigration, and anti-Semitism.
The authors chronicle how hate groups have moved from the fringe to the mainstream in America, and they send a clear warning that the violence we’ve seen in recent years may well be repeated.
Kathleen Belew joined us on our digital line from Chicago.
(Because this conversation is recorded, we can't take any call or comments today.)