Understanding and resisting white nationalism

Joan Braune is coming to Eastern's campus to speak about white supremacy.

Joan Braune is coming to Eastern’s campus to speak about white supremacy.

By Elizabeth Price, Reporter

 Gonzaga professor Joan Braune will speak at EWU this week to raise awareness about the presence of white supremacy in the region.

Braune will present the annual Chertok Lecture on Thursday, Jan. 23, in Hargreaves 201 from 1-2:30 p.m. 

Braune received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Kentucky in 2014 and currently teaches philosophy at Gonzaga University.

She comes from a social justice activist family and has recently been focusing on research, activism and community work against hate groups. 

In her community work she has organized labor, formed responses to threats, pinpointed recruitments and dealt with messages from far-right extremists, according to her website.

Braune hopes to educate people about white nationalism movements because fighting back can be difficult without fully understanding what is going on. 

“I want to inform people and help us understand what’s happening and what the different factions of this movement are doing,” -Joan Braune, Gonzaga Professor

She noticed that hate groups were becoming a “viable danger” and were not just a crime to be solved by the police. 

The hate groups have a broader structure behind them and have turned into a threat people haven’t seen in awhile, Braune said in a phone interview with The Easterner. 

“I’m hoping to give people some hope that there’s a bit we can do,” said Braune. 

Rather than telling students what to do, Braune wants to promote that there is strength in numbers when it comes to the student voice. 

She believes there isn’t a reason to wait for white nationalists to make a move in order to do something. 

“I think schools should be proactive in trying to help people and not treat it like it’s a sort of neutral thing,” said Braune.

Braune has conducted training for teachers, principals and administrators to help them to identify white nationalists who are recruiting teenagers in the Spokane area.

 These workshops help faculty determine what kind of things are taking place in the classroom and what they can do about it, according to Braune. 

“From my standpoint, it’s a public health issue, and I’ve seen the impact of this ideology not just on its victims, but on recruits and perpetrators, and it’s really damaging,” –Joan Braune, Gonzaga Professor

Braune hopes that students will gain information to share with the community themselves and hopefully have some ideas and thoughts about further work that can be done. 

She anticipates that her lecture will help students understand more about the white nationalist movement, its history, its different branches, its surrounding factions and leaders who are encouraging it.