Safe Communities Institute Director Dr. Erroll Southers joined USC Associate Professor Dr. Lisa Schweitzer for a Price School Policy Forum on the implications and responses to racism and extremism after a hate rally and homegrown terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Va.
Dr. Southers said: “What makes this event a game-changer is you have people from neo-Nazis to neo-confederates to the Klan, to the so-called alt-right, all deciding that they are going to be able to work together. That’s what made this really different. These are groups that typically don’t work together. They have their own internal strife, and they decided on that day they’d be together.”
Southers noted it was particularly concerning that while white supremacist and other right wing groups typically do not collaborate, in Charlottesville, multiple groups coordinated for the rally.
Schweitzer also said: “Hate speech along the lines of what was aired in Charlottesville is much more like yelling fire in a crowded theater than people thought before. You can’t engage in behavior that’s actively harmful, and there’s an emerging consensus that hate speech produces exactly that effect. It creates an environment that undermines the safety and security of people of color, and it should be treated more like the problematic speech that becomes limited and is not given a public platform.”