Faculty Panel Discusses Fascism, “It’s Okay to be White” Posters


Poster in Lathrop Hall

On Tuesday, November 13, a group of six Colgate faculty members led a panel on combatting hate speech and the rising threat of fascism in recent years.

Earlier this month, Colgate was targeted in a trolling effort by white supremacists that originated on Internet forums. Dozens of posters were hung up around Colgate’s campus with the phrase, “It’s Okay To Be White” typed on them. Organized by the Division of University Studies, this discussion was the first installment in a series of upcoming events on extremist movements.

The panel discussion, which discussed neo-Nazis, white supremacists, domestic terrorists and fascism was moderated by Professor Nancy Ries, Director of the Division of University Studies and Professor of Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Studies. The professors that contributed to the panel discussion were Associate Professor of Sociology Alicia Simmons, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Mike Wilson Becerril, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Jewish Studies Noah Dauber, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity Maura Tumulty and Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies Jonathan Hyslop.

The speakers focused not only on the larger threat that hate rhetoric presents in America today, but also how hate speech can manifest in daily micro-interactions. Speakers on

the panel urged other professors in attendance to address hate-fueled incidents—regardless of the subject that they teach—when they occur. Professor Hyslop stressed that confronting these problematic ideologies and incidents in a classroom setting is a step in the right direction to mitigate and limit these movements’ success.

Professor Simmons identified four major themes in her analysis on fascist movements: hierarchy, victimhood, resentment and resistance. Simmons said that even today these fascist themes play a significant role in America. She discussed that how President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” invokes a sense of alienation from an original status and is rooted in fear. Lastly, she said that brave resistance to disrupt “micro-level games” in daily life as well as keeping that de- termination can abolish those larger, “macro-level games” of fascism.

Contact Nick Francoeur at [email protected]