The McCain Institute Senior Director of Preventing Targeted Violence Brette Steele spoke to KJZZ Phoenix’s The Show about the National Policy Blueprint to End White Supremacist Violence. Listen to the interview in its entirety here, courtesy of KJZZ.
How much of this problem can policy deal with and how much of it is cultural or societal that you can’t legislate?
“That is an excellent question, and the reality is that it takes a whole of society approach to tackle this problem. Our focus in building this policy blueprint was what can the federal government do, both the executive branch and the legislative branch but you’re right there’s a lot that needs to be done at the local level. Programs that need to be community-designed, community-led and federal government can support those initiatives through funding, though, we really need that community engagement in raising awareness, in dialogue, and in public health approaches to prevention as well.”
Is it safe to say that it is easier to prevent somebody from falling into that (white supremacist violence) than it is to try to pull them out?
“Absolutely. No question.”
What role do you think tech companies should be playing, what should they be doing?
“So it’s important to realize that online spaces are where an awful lot of recruitment, planning and financing of white supremacist activities take place. Tech companies are currently taking some steps in the right direction, particularly after the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. But a lot more work remains to be done. Some of the recommendations we included in the report are asking tech companies to develop universal classification standards for hateful content. We also call for more transparent methods of content moderation and algorithmic recommendations by all the major tech platforms so that researchers can understand how are algorithms contributing to this challenge and what role can they play in mitigating this challenge as well.”