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Invisible Empire of Hate: Gender Differences in the Ku Klux Klan's Online Justifications for Violence


Invisible Empire of Hate: Gender Differences in the Ku Klux Klan's Online Justifications for Violence

Abstract: 

This article presents a systematic linguistic approach to mapping gender differences in the formulation and practice of right-wing ideology. We conducted a set of content- and text-analytical analyses on a 52,760 words corpus from a female-only subforum, dubbed LOTIES (Ladies of the Invisible Empire), compared with a matching corpus of 1.793 million words from a male-only subforum of the Ku Klux Klan's primary website. Using a combination of computational and noncomputational linguistic methods, we show that the wholesome and avowedly prosocial discourse of the female forum is a gateway to Klan activity and, ultimately, to the Klan's ideology through a fear-based “all means are necessary” mindset and violent sentiments. The findings also suggest that the female forum's porousness and emphasis on inclusion and homogeneity may have facilitated the spontaneous “mutation” of the traditional KKK ideology into a generic Far-Right ideology that enjoys broad consensus. Rhetorically, this generic right-wing ideology downplays overt racial and violent elements and eschews theological controversies by relating to Christianity instrumentally as a cultural heritage rather than a religion in the metaphysical sense of the word.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Cohen, Shuki J., Thomas J. Holt, Steven M. Chermak, and Joshua D. Freilich. 2018. "Invisible Empire of Hate: Gender Differences in the Ku Klux Klan's Online Justifications for Violence." Violence and Genderhttps://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/vio.2017.0072

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