Apr 252010
Authors: Rachel Childs

The 2008 election of the first black U.S. President Barack Obama is widely considered a great achievement in American history, but for some it’s a harbinger of the impending destruction of the white race.

On Friday, CU-Colorado Springs sociology professor Abby Ferber told students her research has found that hate rhetoric is becoming more of a problem in the U.S.

Ferber has been researching the topic of race, gender and white supremacy for the past 15 years and has looked through extensive white supremacy publications.

A hot topic in recent news has been the hate speech that has come against the government by patriot groups after the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report revealing that 363 new patriot groups have formed this year alone, far more than is the norm.

Publicized movements include branches of the Tea Party movement and the Hutaree Christian militia, members of which were arrested for conspiring to kill law enforcement officers earlier this month.

“The movement is reaching a far wider audience than ever before,” Ferber said.

And media has perpetuated the acceptance of hateful ideas, Ferber said.

“I think it is limited information people are getting from the media,” Ferber said in regards to topics such as immigration.

Ferber said she was exposed to the radical world of white supremacy in 1994 for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Oregon.

“As a white person, I grew up never thinking about race,” Ferber said.

But Ferber, who is Jewish, was featured on well-known white supremacist David Duke’s website along with several colleagues while attending a conference about white privilege. Jews are considered a separate race according to the white supremacist ideology.

Ferber said one woman, who talked to her about the website, even referred to Ferber as non-white.

“I realized that for my colleagues of color there it was a very familiar feeling, but was something that I had not really experienced before,” Ferber said.

Although extreme rhetoric has become the main problem according to Ferber, some say there are ways to combat it.

“We can’t just stop at awareness and education,” said Lori Peek, sociology professor and faculty adviser for Alpha Kappa Delta, the group who sponsored Ferber’s talk. “It’s also about taking our knowledge and putting it into activism.”

Staff writer Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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