The challenges posed by extremism in the United States today demand new approaches and new ways of understanding. Fundamental to this is an appreciation for the role that historical legacies of injustice and authoritarian hierarchy play in the emergence of extremism today. Preventing radicalization and extremism is not simply a matter of stopping violent behavior. Indeed, the ongoing and worsening conditions of extremism in the United States are in part the result of ignoring fundamental conditions in favor of band-aid security solutions.
Real progress in preventing extremism depends on a society-wide effort to build better, more just, and more inclusive communities. This can only be accomplished through addressing the historical and structural conditions that enshrine racism, misogyny, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice and hate as ongoing features of our society. While this requires addressing radicalization and extremism specifically, it also calls for us to present deeper and more self-critical, but also more hopeful, understandings of our society—past, present, and future.
This commitment to facing the legacies of the past is central to SPLC and PERIL’s work together. The links provided here will take you to materials that explore these issues from that point of view.