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From Micro-aggression to Extremist Hate

Season 2, Episode 2

Racial (battle) fatigue and stereotype threat to dealing with microaggressions, navigating racial hierarchies, or being the victim of overt discrimination, one thing reigns true...people of Color are tired!

Join us this week as we explore the dynamics of living in a white world.

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[00:01 – 05:07]


Noelle: What up!


Miranda: Welcome to the Unpacked Project. 


Noelle: We're your hosts. I’m Noelle. 


Miranda: And I’m Miranda. 


Noelle: We're here to explore all things social justice. It's through casual conversations, interviews and storytelling that we hope to inspire others to take action towards a more compassionate and equitable world. 


Miranda: Because honestly, it kind of sucks here sometimes. 


Noelle: For real, we can do better, people. 


Miranda: Alright. Let's start unpacking. 




Noelle: Welcome back. We hope you all enjoyed our kickoff episode last week. So, as we mentioned, we're going to be diving deeper into the effects of living in a White world. So, in season one, we talked a lot about different concepts, right? Different types of implicit biases, systemic racism, equity reform and education and our criminal justice system. So, we talked about a lot last season. But what we haven't really spoken about in depth are the various impacts that we see for people of Color at a personal level living in a White world. 


Miranda: Yeah. And there's a lot, right? So, we know the history and what we've already unpacked is how our country's history and continued discriminatory practices have resulted in these opportunity gaps that we see, you know, in education, there's lack of health care access, inadequate housing, racial wealth gaps as well, there's disproportionate criminalization of communities of Color. But all of this has a drastic impact on people's psyche. It's on their bodies and their minds and so, we hear a lot of ‘we're tired’ you know, and there's this epidemic health crisis within the Black community as well, so. 


Noelle: Yeah. I mean, when I think back to George Floyd, which is really the incident that kind of prompted us to start this podcast, right? And I think about the video being shared over and over again on social media and the news and it was just so awful to watch, you know, and honestly, I shared it myself because it's like, everyone like, look at this shit. You know, this is happening and it's a human rights crisis and enough, you know. Like, you feel like you want people to see it. And it wasn't until I saw somebody post something about the re-traumatization for the Black community every time that they have to see these images and videos over and over again, and it was something I had literally never thought of, because it's different for me, right? Like, at a humanistic level, I see those images and videos and I have empathy and heartbreak and anger and I experience that type of emotion towards it but it's not personal for me in the same level, the same way it would be for you, right? Or anyone, any person of Color that's living that life. And so, I felt like I was contributing to that pain, you know, which wasn't okay for me. Like, it opened my eyes to this whole other perspective that I had never even thought of. You know, what it must be like living in this world on an everyday basis, dealing with all of this. But then it's like, you know, if White people don't see this, then they don't believe it's happening. So, you know, is there a balance? Like, what does that look like? 


Miranda: Yeah. Well, and, you know, I’m glad that you bring that up, right? So, for those of you listening, like, we write out our scripts, right? Now that there's a visual aspect, you're going to see our eyes, you know, going back and forth but, you know, Noelle writes the scripts and then I go in and add to them, kind of edit whatever need be, and so, I read her response and I was like, you know, I hadn't realized that you felt that way. You know, it's something that we've never talked about. And I’ve definitely posted about that because I actually haven't watched any video. You know, so it's this idea of this… it's really trauma porn, right? So, explaining traumatic experiences for the purpose of shock value, right? So, the worse it is, the more violent it is, then like, then you're going to get it, right? You'll finally understand but our pain is really just like, on display for folks. And I think of, you know, kind of any type of video or story, whether it's, you know, someone's pain through whether it's like rape, you know, violence, police brutality and I just… I have the same response. Like, that doesn't serve me, you know. So, even before learning about, you know, re-traumatization, that was something for me. And so, you know, there's this collectively shared PTSD amongst the Black community and like I said earlier, we have this mental health crisis. So, you know, the first video that I saw was actually Alton Sterling. And for whatever reason, you know, I watched it. And if you recall, his story was reduced to, you know, the guy selling CDs outside of the convenience store, right? And when I saw the video, just the levels of sadness and rage and it's like, helplessness and confusion and anger and fear and really like, defeat, I think is just almost the best word because it's kind of all-encompassing. 

[05:08 – 10:02]

Miranda: It just washed… it just washes over you. You know, and it's not a feeling that you can just put away. You know, so anytime that I’m scrolling through social media and I see the beginnings of police brutality or even hear them, you know, it's anxiety-inducing. You know, the tightness in someone's chest, this increased heartbeat, you know, the sense of fear. And then we have to think about what about folks that live in communities that are overly policed? What about folks that are experiencing this on a regular basis, dealing with racist police? So, what happens when a Black man hears a siren behind him? You know, what trauma is a pregnant mother passing to her child when she lives in this? You know, there's just a vast difference in the experiences lived in two different worlds, you know, simply because you're Black or you're White. 


Noelle: Yeah. I mean, amongst like all the other things too, right? You mentioned, I think in the last episode that race is just one aspect of our identity and it interacts with other parts of who someone is as a person. So, there's a concept where it's called ‘intersectionality’ and Kimberly Crenshaw coined that term in 1989 when she was kind of challenging work that treated race and gender as isolated and distinct constructs. And so, her research really intended to call attention to the fact that a Black woman's experience of oppression differs from a White woman's experience. And, you know, the work was really groundbreaking back then and it's now being applied to more than just the dimensions of gender and race but it's really meant to understand how a range of marginalized identities can interact to kind of create these uniquely like, exacerbated experiences. 


Miranda: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And so, the actual definition of intersectionality is ‘the complex cumulative way in which effects of multiple forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism and classism combine overlap or intersect especially in the experiences of marginalized individuals or groups’. So, that's, you know, from the dictionary. And I think it's important to think about people's experience through this lens because, you know, just as you mentioned, when we talk about these disproportionate outcomes for people of Color, it only makes sense that they're further exacerbated every time we layer on another marginalization such as being part of the LGBTQ community, being a woman, being of low socioeconomic status, certain religious affiliations, you know, things like that. So, it's just more weight that we carry. 


Noelle: Right. Right. And so, we love an activity. To help us understand this intersectionality concept, we are going to use something called ‘the social identity wheel’ to learn a little bit more about this. So, for those of you who are at home who don't have an actual copy of the wheel, grab your paper and pencil again. So, we're going to have you list out various dimensions. It's going to sound a lot like the in-group and out-group activity that we did in season one at the very beginning but that in-group and out-group activity was more trying to understand how our different identities affect who we surround ourselves by... with. And so, this activity that we're going to do now and really what a lot of we're going to be talking about this season is what's our own identity? How do we identify on these various dimensions? What means the most to us? How do we feel perceived? And really an exploration of that. So, you know, from the aspect of being privileged or being marginalized. So, we use the word ‘marginalized’ a lot actually. Sometimes I wonder like, do people actually truly know even what that means when we use that word. So, when we speak about marginalized groups, what we're really saying are social identity groups that are disenfranchised or exploited in society and then privileged groups being social identity groups that are… hold this unearned privileged in society. 


Miranda: Yeah. Definitely. So, I’m going to write down. I’m going to list off some of these things that I want you all to write down. I suggest… so, I took up two pages. There's about 12 I believe. So, just giving yourself some space because you're going to have to do some underlining, circling and things like that. Okay. So, write down the following. Gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status. You could just put SES. Class, age, disability, body size, nation of origin and education. Alright. So, once you have those down, and we're going to split this into two parts. So, the first thing that we want you to do is put a check next to the identities that you think about most often. So, put a check next to the identities you think about most often and then you can circle the identities that you think about least often. So, you can pause this right here to do that. Again, check next to the identities you think about most often, circle the identities you think about least often. 

[10:03 – 15:04]

Miranda: Alright. So, tell me, Noelle. 


Noelle: Alright. Okay. So, for me, the identities that I think about most often, one being my age. So… You know, I had a lot of difficulty turning 35, Miranda. It was not easy for me. My age is something I think about a lot. I think there's different reasons for that. I’m a November baby, so I was always like, young in my grade. So, I was always the youngest person in my grade. Growing up, I attended… I was young in my field. So, when I graduated and started working, I was only 21, working in… as a school psychologist, right? So, having to meet with parents and families and working with people that were always older than me. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: But me being sort of like the expert, right, in these situations and things. And I, whether it was true or not, always felt judged by being like, young in my field in that way. I just also don't want to get old. It's, you know, one of those identities that I am very often thinking about. My sex and gender, for me, they align. So, I’m cisgender, right? My sexual… my sex assigned at birth and my gender aligned. So, those two for me feel similar. I think about them often, my experience as a woman in the world, you know, when I’m out in public, when I’m at work. Basically, wherever I am, whether I’m thinking about it from a safety perspective of if I’m safe in a parking lot or I’m thinking about it from, you know, at work being around men who are making the decisions or, you know, whatever I am. Even though I’m in a field really that's predominantly women, a lot of times the administration is male or the, you know, people higher up are male, so that is often one that I think about. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: I have a couple more. So, my race, I do think about… I think my whole life, I’ve kind of just always had racial like, awareness. We've talked about that on other episodes. In my work, I work in title 1 schools. I have a lot of Black and Brown students and families and I’m aware that I’m a White woman working with these communities and I’ve been around a lot of White people in my life and hear a lot of things that are alarming and it's just something I’ve always been aware of and continued to always think of in terms of like, my place in the world and my privilege in that way So, that and then my body size is also something I think of a lot. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: So, which I think interacts with the woman piece, you know, and us always feeling sexualized or being aware of that. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: You know, our place in the world, so… 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: Those are my… those are the ones I usually think about. 


Miranda: Most often. What about least often? 


Noelle: So, least often for me, I had like, and when I was listing out the ones that I least think about, it made me reflect on why I don't think about these a lot because of my privilege, right? So, like, I don't have an identified disability. I’m not… I’m really not out there thinking about that. I mean, I was born, I was raised Catholic. We went to church every Sunday but I don't identify with that. It's not something I’m really thinking about. Even if I did, like, it's a pretty dominant culture, like, in terms of the religious world. You know, anyway, so it's not something that really comes to mind. My socioeconomic status, you know, I was raised privileged. Like, upper middle class but I don't really like, value money. Like, we talk about that a lot. Like, I don't really do things for money, I don't… it's not something that I’m really thinking about on a daily basis in terms of like, my socioeconomic status. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: And my sexual orientation. I don't really think about that. I’m straight. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: Even when I’m in different places or situations, I’m not really… it's not really on my mind. 


Miranda: Yeah. So, for me, the things I think about most, gender, race, ethnicity. Religion actually was an interesting one because I think about that more since moving to the South. Yeah, and it's not ever something that I took into consideration but because I come across more people that are religious and attend church and because I’m from… and not that you can't be religious and liberal, you know, but there's a different type of way I’ve experienced folks that are religious in the South versus, you know, on the West Coast. So, I feel like an anomaly in many ways. Sometimes when I’m talking to folks and they're talking about religion and I’m like, ‘is this something that I can share?’ that I’m not… you know, will I be judged? Right on top of these other factors, being in the South where it's predominantly Black and White. 

[15:05 – 20:02]

Miranda: So, we talk about intersectionality and it's like, you know. So, religion and then socioeconomic status as well. And so, similar to you, you know, gender… really the same thing that you said. A lot of, you know, working with youth, I also work in a female dominant field but a lot of positions that are higher up are male lead. So, being in spaces, being spoken over, feeling disregarded and then also being Black, a Black woman, do I speak up? Am I going to sound like a bitch? Do I have an attitude? I should be able to speak up for myself and you should understand that what you're doing is inappropriate. But the viewpoint for most people and I think sometimes women too is that like, she's being rude, you know. So, that's something I think about often. You know, I have brown skin. And then ethnicity, you know, I think something that had been interesting while I was dating is that, you know, I get a lot of ‘well, what are you? You can't just be Black. Oh, with your hair’. You know, like, all these things and I’m like, I’m not some exotic fucking animal, you know. So, that is a really big one for me. Yeah, and then similar to you, what I think about least, disability, nation of origin, you know, sexual orientation and then class. And so, you know, I grew up privileged as well and so, you know, because of that had access to things that, you know, not everybody does, right? 


Noelle: Right. 


Miranda: So, yeah. 


Noelle: Alright. 


Miranda: Part two. 


Noelle: Oh, yeah. Now for part two. So, now we are going to ask you to underline the identities that have the strongest impact on how you perceive yourself. Strongest impact on how you perceive yourself, underline those and then put an asterisk next to the identities that have the greatest effect on how others perceive you. Alright. So, Miranda. 


Miranda: I found this, you know, really interesting, right? Because the identities that I think about most often are also what tend to feel… I feel most impacted by, because of my thoughts and then also how I’m perceived by society. Right? So, intersectionality. 


Noelle: Right. 


Miranda: So, that's going to be gender. You know, gender is underlined, check marked and there's an asterisk next to it. The same with race, the same with ethnicity and the same… actually that's it. You know, so those, you know, are big for me in how I move through this world and how I identify, you know, in my skin, right? And who I am. Now, I think the other thing that's interesting is that some of these things, how we perceive ourselves, it could be a positive and a negative, right? So, you know, I underline or I underline body size because I… like, I love it. You know what I mean? And it's not necessarily negative for me. I mean, there's times where I don't always love it but I think, you know, in the general scheme of things, I embrace my body and there's something just very like, fulfilling about being a woman and the way that you move through this world and the ways that you can command attention and there's something powerful in that, you know. Sorry. So, yeah, those are kind of my takeaways. 


Noelle: Right. Well, I had the same experience as you where I was seeing the similarities, you know, with things that I think about most often and then how I perceive myself and how others perceive me. So, again, yes, sex and gender, my age and education. I actually added in, so it's not something I think about a lot but when I’m in certain places and certain environments, I think about it and it was the same for me with like, my age and my race. So, let's say that one for example, I worry a lot of times like, oh, my God. Are people going to think I’m a Karen? I’m this like, middle-aged White chick, you know, like, and I’m walking. You know, when I’m passing people… and I think about it from both perspectives, right? So, if I’m passing a person of Color, I’m walking by them or they see me in the store or whatever, are you thinking I’m someone that could potentially victimize you? Are you thinking I’m someone who's maybe going to make a big deal out of something? You know, we see these videos of, you know, online of these White women that are blaming Black men for doing ridiculous things. Things that are completely neutral, right? Like, are you going to think I’m someone like that that would do something to you and then when you pass me, what are you thinking of me? And when I’m, you know, are you worried of what I’m thinking of you? 


[20:03 – 25:02]

Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: You know, like, what's this… just that whole kind of cycle of what we're all… what you perceive of me and what you're worried about me perceiving of you. You know, so I think about that a lot. And the education I put in there just because of my job. You know, like, I always find it interesting to have the doctorate. Not everyone uses the… will call me Dr. De La Cruz, only certain people will. Even when they know that… and I don't like, command it, right? I don't. Sometimes I’ll say, I’m just Noelle or sometimes it's… 


Miranda: Not even command, you don't mention it. 


Noelle: Like, it actually was something very uncomfortable for me when I first got it. Like, it was something I didn't use in the beginning. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: But I’ll… 


Miranda: What perceptions do you have of that? 


Noelle: Like, elitism. Again, with my age, are people going to think I’m too young to be called doctor and then like I said, like, at work, even in most of my schools, people know I have my doctorate. Like, they hear people calling me Dr. De la Cruz but peop… some people will never address me that way. I’ll just be Ms. De La Cruz. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: Every time. 


Miranda: Oh. 


Noelle: And I actually had someone come to me a couple weeks ago, a male that I work with and said, oh, I’m hearing a lot ‘Dr. De La Cruz’, so do we have to call you that? So, it's just like, [Cross talk 21:27 – 21:33]. So, I just find things like that fascinating because it's… would you have said that to a male doctor or an older per… like, what was it about it that you even have to ask me? 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: If you have to call that. 


Miranda: Yeah, there was something in that. You know what I mean?


Noelle: Right. 


Miranda: Like, that wasn't in a non-intentional statement you know. 


Noelle: Right. So… 


Miranda: Yeah. It's interesting to say education because for me, like, I am educated but I am often… I often find myself in spaces questioning if I’m smart enough, right? And so, that's, you know, we talk about imposter syndrome and things like that and there's that intersectionality of being a woman and just kind of what you said, like, are you smart enough to have your doctorate? Like, do you really know what you think you know? You know, so… 


Noelle: Right. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: Am I worthy of this? What are you thinking of me when I say it of myself? You know, that kind of thing, so… So, yeah. I mean, you know, the reality is that for those marginalized groups, there's a whole world of stereotypes and discrimination that, you know, people face on a daily basis. And so, there's two big effects that we wanted to talk about today that are the result of living in a world under these circumstances with our many identities. So, one is called… is the weathering hypothesis. Actually, Mary Frances Winters discusses as well in Black fatigue. So, we know from research that trauma faced by communities of Color is significant and is also generational, right? So, a lot of studies have shown that more… like, we see actually more rapid aging at the cellular level and then thus, disproportionately higher rates of illness in response to that chronic stress. So, and we look at outcomes, health outcomes. And aside from like, disproportionate medical care, you know, having more of these physiological and psychological factors that they have to deal with. Winter’s states in Black Fatigue “constantly living with the perceived or real threats associated with the color of our skin leads to greater internalized stress, which in turn leads to physiological and psychological illnesses that disproportionately affect us.”


Miranda: Yeah. Well, and then when we think of this in the context of intersectionality, right? If we see such drastic effects from race, imagine, you know, just like we've talked about, say, a Black woman, you're Black and a woman, you're Black and gay and a woman or any other combination of these marginalized identities, so what's interesting is that we think of socioeconomic status as like, this protective factor that like, once you make it or you make a certain amount of money or you live in a certain neighborhood, like, maybe you don't have to deal with some of these things anymore but what happens… you know, it's not this privileged identity. You know, when we look at the research on Black people who move up in the socio economic status ladder, health status gets worse actually for Black people as opposed to White people. So, you know, Winters again discusses this is likely due to these pressures of having to deal with this increased opportunity for discrimination, you know, tokenism within their organizations, communities, that one Black friend where you can't speak up or say anything, you know, just these micro-aggressions that people, you know, are not aware of that they're saying, so, you know, another issue. 


Noelle: Yeah. And the other aspect that we see in addition to this is something that's called ‘stereotype threat’. I remember learning about this when I was in college and just thought it was fast. 

[25:03 – 30:07]

Noelle: Like, I remember… I can visually remember sitting in class the day that I learned about it and being like, oh, my God. Like this is really mind-blowing. So, historically, social psychological research suggests that negative stereotypes about women, minorities can kind of create these subtle barriers to various success really, and that's what stereotype threat is. So, it occurs when individuals become concerned that they might confirm this negative stereotype about their group and then it causes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy where they will start… in fact, perform in a way that aligns with the stereotype. So, early research showed us this that even when they controlled for factors like college entrance exam scores, so, you know, we control for all these variables and research to make sure that what we're isolating is truly what we're studying. And so, even when we control for all these factors, they saw that just being made aware of the stereotype, so telling women before taking, you know, a test that ‘oh, you're less adept at math and science’ or ‘oh, well, Black people tend to have lower verbal skills, so, you know, we won't be surprised if we get these results’ like, that kind of a thing, that actually impedes performance and resulted in statistically lower scores for the groups that were told about these stereotypes prior to taking these exams or, you know, different… whatever the research was studying, but in these ones that I’m talking about, they were exam scores that it actually lowered, statistically, significantly lowered their scores just from being made aware of it. 


Miranda: Yeah. I remember they had done a study with like, an all-girls class, math, just like you said at the high school level and same thing. So, you know, regardless of the situation, there's three factors that can make some individuals more susceptible to experiencing this stereotype threat. So, one being the people who've never had any exposure to the stereotype. They can't experience that stereotype threat, right? It's unbeknownst to them, right? Second is, how connected you are to that stereotyped group. And then third is, how much you care about the stereotype domain? So, what research has shown is that ironically, these women and minorities most focused on overcoming the obstacles created by these negative stereotypes might also experience stereotype threat more profoundly, right? So, similar to what I shared during the activity, right? And then, again, the chronic stress and mental fatigue associated with that, it's significant, you know, so at a societal level, it really is a loss of human potential and it just results in further reinforcing these group stereotypes. 


Noelle: Yeah. Because, you know, it's what the person is believing about themselves and then because we believe that, we perform in this way and then it reinforces what people were thinking. So, it's this whole cycle. 


Miranda: We got to talk our actions. Yeah, exactly. 


Noelle: Yeah. You know, so there's this whole range of what marginalized communities and people experience, right? The micro-aggression, overt discrimination or kind of more savvy systemic discrimination that we've talked about, chronic stress related to racism, concepts like stereotype threat, all these things, you know. I think when we lived through the Obama era, it was the kind of the tendency of people to think this all went away. Oh, well, we have a Black president, clearly nobody is racist. 


Miranda: Everything is fine. Yeah.


Noelle: Like, everything's fine. Look how far we've come. And, you know, surely, for people of Color, they knew this wasn't the case, right? Like these things were still all happening. But as we discussed in the last episode, the White lash that we see is real. Right? And beyond dealing with the micro-aggressions and the stereotypes or those structural, more kind of like, invisible forms of racism, the attack at the Capitol really brought to light that over extremist hate that still exists in this country. So, now like, imagine living with that. You know, we talked about the re-traumatization of the violent images that we… that get spread all over the internet and the news and then now you're watching the Capitol riots and thinking like, ‘holy shit, if I was a Black person, I would be hiding in my basement’. Like, that's what I was literally thinking when I was watching those Capitol riots. Like, so many images came out, again, traumatizing. Right? And to me, like, that day was really about those symbols of hate and White supremacist violence, you know, when I think of the news picture and like, all those different pictures that came out of just really what that day was about. You know, and I think some people viewed it as an attack on democracy but it was really more than that, you know, at least in my opinion. You know, obviously an assault on people of Color, and White people desperate to keep their power in the White house. And I, you know, I think about the contrast for me between like, that day and 9/11. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: And, you know, I remember on 9/11 feeling like our country was under attack, you know, and my identity as an American, even though like, we talked about before, not one of my identities that I think about a lot, right? 

[30:08 – 35:04]

Noelle: But I remember it, me being very afraid as an American that day. And then obviously, like, the added layer of my dad being in the world trade center. Thank God he made it out alive but it felt so scary and so personal. And then I think of the Capitol attack and honestly, I didn't feel afraid, the day of the Capitol attack. I knew what those White people were there for. You know, it made me embarrassed and angry and scared for people of Color but my identity as a White person, like, I wasn't afraid for myself, if that makes sense. Like, on that day. 


Miranda: Yeah. No, it totally does. And, you know, I think the thing that's interesting is I, you know, obviously I don't speak for everyone who's Black, you know, or people of Color but, you know, we often talk about how we're almost used to this. You know, I mean the Capitol is very different in many ways but it's a display of over White supremacy and we know that this exists and we've known since we were children. You know, like, we don't have the privilege of not talking about racism. We don't have the privilege of not talking about how you deal with police and how you carry yourself in a situation and how you have to work harder than anybody else in a room because of color of your skin. Like, so, I’m not surprised, you know. I’m no longer surprised by this shit when it happens, you know. Literally unfazed, right? And while it's not okay, like I said, it's been my experience in childhood. And, you know, the privilege they had to be called patriots, right? 


Noelle: Right. 


Miranda: We knew lengths that these White people will go through in government to defend their Whiteness, it's appalling, you know. And like you said earlier, even if that happened under Obama with a bunch of people of Color storming the Capitol, we all know that that story would have turned out differently, you know. And that's our America and that's our reality unfortunately. 


Noelle: Yeah. And, you know, over the next few episodes, we are going to explore more about extremism but to wrap up today, we want to talk a little bit about what Dr. Cynthia Miller Idris calls the fantasy of the White ethno state. So, in her book, ‘Hate in the homeland’, she discusses how the desire to sort of establish this separate White territory or restore the White homeland is really at the root of a lot of practices and policies, right? In hopes to kind of restore that White civilization, so it becomes more than just a fantasy of fringe groups. Like, you know, we talk about like, you know, it's not really the majority, right? And there are these fringe groups that exist. But when the messaging starts to become more mainstreamed and widely accepted by the public, that's when it starts to become a little worrisome that ‘okay, this can become a lot more prevalent than what we're thinking’. So, the ecology of extremism is complex and it's more than we're going to discuss today and we're going to get more into it, like I said, as we go through the next few episodes. But we want to underscore the importance of this topic. So, again, we can't understand our present without accurately remembering the past. Accurately remembering the past. 


Miranda: Yes, thank you for saying that. 


Noelle: So, when we look back at the Trump era, you know, what are the remnants? So, Miranda, let's look at some of the facts for this. 


Miranda: Alright. Okay, I got you. So, White supremacists extremism is currently the most lethal form of extremism in the US. Out of the 42 extremist-related murders in 2019, 81 percent were attributed to White supremacist extremists with another 9 percent committed by White re… say that five times fast… Right wing extremists. In 2018, far-right extremists were responsible for at least 50 US deaths, which is the fourth deadliest year since 1970 in terms of domestic extremist deaths, with the majority of those deaths linked to White supremacy specifically. You know, also the number of hate groups in the US which has more than doubled… which well… which had more than doubled to over a thousand after the election of Obama then declined by 2014 to 784, rose to a record high of 1020 in 2018. So, we also see, you know, White nationalist groups alone have increased by nearly 50 percent in 2018 from 100 to 148. And it's estimated that there are currently 75 thousand to a hundred thousand people affiliated with White supremacist groups in the United States, so extremely concerning. And I think a lot of this information is stuff that people aren't really focused on, you know. We hear about the Boogaloo movement, the Proud Boys now, we know about the KKK but there are so many other groups out there, you know. Yeah. 


Noelle: Yeah. And I mean, I think, you know, obviously part of that is, again, the privilege, right? White privilege of having this not be at the forefront. 

[35:05 – 39:10]

Noelle: I think that when we look at the numbers, they're relatively low, right? Like, if we say, okay, a hundred, you know, to 1020, even like, these numbers when we compare them to other crisis that are happening are low, but they are tragic and often assaults to either, you know, our government or wind up using citizens to carry out these extremist plots, right? And so, there's so many other levels of what makes this so awful. You know, and especially when we think about who's being targeted, we're going to talk about hate crimes, we're going to talk about, you know, all these things throughout the season, you know. And so, I think, again, like you said, it's not really talked about and we need to, and I think that our government resources a lot of times get put into dealing with like, Islamic extremism. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: You know, they ignore the threat of White supremacist extremism. And when we look… actually when we look at the data, FBI officials indicate that only 20 percent of the counterterrorism field agents focus on domestic terrorism. So, as a result, between 9/11 and 2017, only 26 percent of violent far-right plots were interrupted in the planning phase in contrast to 67 percent of violent Islamic plots. So, and then again, when you think about how something like that can be portrayed in the media, right? So, we can take those numbers and say, ‘look at all the violent Islamic plots that we are interrupting’ it makes it seem like they're the majority of extreme… of terrorism that's happening, right? Because we're catching it. Well, you're catching it because you're putting 80 percent of your resources into it. 


Miranda: Yeah. 


Noelle: And you're not even trying to put any resources into the White extremist terrorist groups and what they're doing, so you're not finding any of it. And so, because you're not finding any of it, it doesn't look like any of it exists. 


Miranda: Yeah. Well… That's the media for you. You know what I mean? It's their own agenda and it’s what our government is choosing to focus on, you know. Well, and then I think about, yes, you know, we have our hate groups as well but that rhetoric that spewed, you know, you're talking about these fringe groups and then people being susceptible to taking in that information, then you have White, you know, these White men predominantly… actually all that are shooting up schools, you know, committing mass shootings and really they're typically those types of people that are picking up on this rhetoric and they're feeling victimized in some way and they're feeling alone in this world and that they have the right to whatever it may be. And so, you know, just the language and, you know, the imagery that's being passed down is extremely concerning. So, for so many levels, you know, we really need to focus on putting a stop to these groups honestly. And this is why we need to talk about it. We need to recognize it and call attention to it because White supremacists extremists have been breeding racism and hate really and instilling fear and committing mass murders since the KKK was formed in 1865. And despite our best wishes, it's not stopping anytime soon, you know. So, over the next few episodes, we'll be exploring more about radic… more about radical beliefs, the ecology of extremism and the impacts of domestic terrorism in America, so make sure to tune in. 


Noelle: Bye. Thanks for joining us today. 




Noelle: Show ‘The Unpacked Project’ some love and be sure to like, subscribe and review our podcast. You can also check us out on Instagram @theUnpackProject. 


Miranda: And if you enjoyed today's episode, visit our website at where you can make a donation that supports the research, production and operating costs of this work. 


Noelle: Shout out to all of our listeners who unpacked with us today. 


Miranda: See you next week. 


Noelle: Peace 

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