Arjun Singh Sethi (@arjunsethi81), author of American Hate: Survivors Speak Out, joined Ana (@anamariecox) on this week’s pod. Over the course of their conversation, Arjun explained why he wrote the book: to center the perspectives of hate survivors, who live with the everyday hate not just of Trump’s America, but that — shocker — has always been present in American life. “I thought it was important to give agency back to survivors and to really center them, which is why I did my very best to travel and meet them in their homes and houses of worship. I think their stories in their own words are more likely to move people. I think if we are going to have real policy discussions about how to address hate and state violence, we’ve gotta be proximate. We’ve gotta be close to the problem,” Arjun said.
He and Ana talked about the general erasure of hate survivors in no less a setting that prosecution of hate crimes, and why hate crime legislation, restorative justice, and listening to survivors is so important in the first place. “Sometimes it feels like mainstream media is more interesting in understanding neo-Nazis and white supremacists than actually exploring and documenting what’s happening to targeted and vulnerable communities at this moment,” Arjun explained.
Their conversation also touched on the role social media does, and should, play in tackling hate. “I think technology companies should take a stronger stand against hate. And that means rooting out white supremacists, and rooting out folks who troll Alexandra Brodsky in the book, or Tanya Gersh in the book. But I also think that there have to be mechanisms in place to keep these companies accountable. So if somebody is removed, there should be an appeals process. I think there has to be transparency,” Arjun stated.
Lastly, they talked about how Arjun’s two German Shepherds help him continue to do this work, and the most important thing he learned through this project.
You can find Arjun’s book here.
A clip from Taylor Dumpson’s TED Talk is included in the show’s intro. If you’re interested in the full version, you can find it here.
Arjun referenced an SPLC report.
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