On November 25, the New York Times posted an article profiling a white nationalist that resulted in what appeared as an attempt to humanize him.
The Times received harsh backlash to the article, including a barrage of tweets criticizing the content.
— tanyasprowl (@tanyasprowl) November 27, 2017
The article comes during a period of extreme political upheaval and after months of turmoil pertaining to confederate statues and their place in society. To have an article at this time normalizing a man who is representative of the attitudes of white supremacists, such as being a sympathizer of Hitler and favoring a segregated society, may be very detrimental to a progression forward and away from the topic of race.
“I’m not really for hate of any kind” said Kara Wahl, a psychology student at the UA. “I don’t really understand everything that’s been going on
Jay Jungers, an agribusiness major at the UA and conservative had an alternative view of the subject. “I don’t like the New York Times or really any of the big media sites, but I didn’t really understand the big fuss,” said Jungers. “It’s really interesting to see a ‘human’ side of the white nationalist. I kind of feel like it makes it even scarier, like, any person who seems normal might be super racist.”
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 25, 2017
The University of Arizona advocates strongly for freedom of speech and seeks to allow all discourse on campus. There have been very little altercations regarding race or racism on campus, although there have been some cases of students holding confederate flags at anti-Trump protests and protests similar to that.
There are three definite hate groups functioning in Tucson: Free American, a white-nationalist group, ACT for Tucson, an anti-muslim group, and National Socialist Movement, a neo-nazi group. Articles such as the one created by the New York Times could have an unwanted effect, perhaps encouraging those who are part of these groups to feel normal, and for others to perceive them as normal.