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Texas Mall Shooting Raises Question: What Makes a Person of Color Embrace Far-Right Extremism?


What attracts a person of color to far-right extremism? The mass shooting in Allen, Texas, last week has reignited a conversation about why a small but visible number of people of color commit violence inspired by white supremacy. The gunman who killed eight at the outlet mall was identified as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia. He was killed by police. I spoke with Yale professor Daniel Martinez HoSang. He studies the ways far-right extremism take hold in America.

You know, I think I want to start with this shooter in Allen, Texas. He posted racist and misogynistic screeds. He wore a Right Wing Death Squad patch. He glorified the Third Reich, Hitler, clearly enamored and dabbling in white supremacy, but he's Latino. What draws a person like this into this type of far-right, racist-fueled violence?

DANIEL MARTINEZ HOSANG: Yeah. I mean, we, of course, need to be careful about thinking we can identify any single motive for such...

FADEL: Right.

HOSANG: ...A brutal act. But this is clearly part of a much larger pattern in which the far right, neo-Nazis, even self-described white supremacists, have drawn from a much, much more diverse social basis than groups in the past. Today's far right is much, much different. They're drawing people from many, many walks of life...

FADEL: Yeah.

HOSANG: ...Occupations, regions of the country and many, many more kind of ideological onramps into that - so homophobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism, transphobia.

FADEL: Oh, gosh. These are all terrible onramps.

HOSANG: They're terrible onramps, but - and on the other hand, none of those are the kind of singular glue that binds the group together. The targets of the ire can actually shift all the time. It doesn't have to be held together by a singular set of beliefs. And that's what makes it, in fact, much different than the people you might find in the Klan or white citizen councils in the 1950s and '60s who, if you ask them what brought them here, they would often say the same thing about the defense of Jim Crow and the dignity of, you know, their own white communities.

Read entire article at NPR