Friday Reading List: Millenials Differ With Their Elders on Charters & A Scary Look at White Nationalism

Shavar Jeffries writes in The Hill about generational differences in education policy perspectives:

... new data from GenForward at the University of Chicago shows that Millennials, including Millennials of color, strongly support charter schools. Unlike standard opinion polling, GenForward over samples young adults of color to understand the variations between racial and ethnic groups in the largest and most diverse age cohort in our country. This survey asked Millennials to discuss education-related views ranging from free speech to school discipline. The results show a generation divided along racial lines in many ways — with the exception of only a few issues ... Many of these young people may have attended a charter school, or know someone who did. Unlike many of the people making education policy choices in national organizations, charters aren’t  a foreign concept to those who were most recently in the elementary and secondary school system.

This data doesn't surprise me, especially since we saw something very similar at play in Massachusetts last year. Charter supporters shouldn't be complacent with this data, though. This generation of voters will abandon you in an instant if they perceive that you are on the wrong side of other critical social issues.

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Maya Rupert of Slate expands on that last idea. She points out that, for people of color, the idea of having a "debate" about race is beside the point:

As heightened racial tensions around an emboldened white supremacist movement increasingly shape our political discourse, cross-racial conversations about race have become both more necessary and more common, and thankfully so ... White people are an absolutely crucial component in the discussion and actions that must take place in order for concrete progress to occur, particularly in the current political climate. But in order for their participation to be valuable, they must be willing to confront white supremacy head-on rather than by way of harmful mental gymnastics. There is no way to productively ask a person to participate in an argument that questions their equality as an epistemological experiment.

What's mind-boggling to me is that the fierce, right-wing protectors of "free speech" will cry "censorship" at this premise ... when Rupert is literally saying that her own humanity and equality cannot be conditional upon winning an argument.

In the meantime, Joseph Bernstein at Buzzfeed looked deep inside that right-wing outrage machine and found - shockingly - Nazis:

... new emails and documents, however, clearly show that Breitbart does more than tolerate the most hate-filled, racist voices of the alt-right. It thrives on them, fueling and being fueled by some of the most toxic beliefs on the political spectrum — and clearing the way for them to enter the American mainstream. It’s a relationship illustrated most starkly by a previously unreleased April 2016 video in which Yiannopoulos sings “America the Beautiful” in a Dallas karaoke bar as admirers, including the white nationalist Richard Spencer, raise their arms in Nazi salutes. These documents chart the Breitbart alt-right universe. They reveal how the website — and, in particular, Yiannopoulos — links the Mercer family, the billionaires who fund Breitbart, to underpaid trolls who fill it with provocative content, and to extremists striving to create a white ethnostate.
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My first reaction to seeing this article was, "There is no fucking way I'm going to read 5,000 words to remind myself that Breitbart and Bannon sympathize with Nazis." That's not news, and if it took you until today to figure that out, welcome to the dark side.

While it's jarring to see a video of a bunch of White men doing Nazi salutes in a karaoke bar, the far more revelatory component of this piece is its deep-dive into the mechanics of the White supremacist infrastructure in this country.

Spoiler alert: it's not just "poor" or "working class" White people!

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In the article we learn that Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire, bankrolls many of the institutions and individuals who propagate these messages, including Milo Yiannopoulos himself. This isn't news if you read Jane Mayer in The New Yorker in March, when she wrote a deep dive on Mercer and his activist family ... but there are some new and revealing angles on the Mercer-Bannon-Yiannopoulos relationships here. As a good friend reminded me over text message last night, "People don't realize how close many of these guys are to the mainstream."

The point is this: some people on the right are doing their best to construe the White supremacist element of the Republican infrastructure as a fringe phenomenon. It's not. Influential donors in the party are working to expand the reach of the White nationalists within its ranks, and that is - to put a fine point on it - scary as fuck.

Have a great weekend, I guess ... lol.