White-power activity in the United States is not new, nor has it been as shadowy as we may have imagined. It was known and then forgotten. We must, collectively, recognize its strength and history, or our amnesia will make it impossible to respond to such activism and violence in the present.
Dr. Kathleen Belew calls the country to action in her recent New York Times Op-Ed titled, "The History of White Power." A 2005 CHID alum, Kathleen went on to pursue a docorate in American Studies at Yale in 2011. After completing postdoctoral fellowships at Nortwestern and Rutgers, she is now an Assistant Professor of U.S. History at the University of Chicago.
- NPR: How America's White Power Movement Coalesced After The Vietnam War
- Vox: How the Vietnam war created America’s modern "white power" movement
Former CHID director John Toews recalls that Kathleen "began her research on White Supremacists and Right Wing Militias while working on her undergraduate senior thesis in our program." This research has culminated in the recently published Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America from Harvard University Press. It just goes to show where a CHID education can take you!
As Dr. Belew has made so clear, White-power activity is very real. For the U.S. to have a future, white Americans will have to wake up to the truth of racism's continued presence in our systems and politics—and all of us will have to stand together in the face of hate and violence.