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A letter to my White sons

#TheTalk series continues ... a mom’s take on the sneaky way racist ideas spread to kids on social media

Jialei Sun

Joanna Schroeder sends a warning call to parents: Your kids are at risk of being served up White supremacist content, and it’s your responsibility to teach them what to look out for. This very modern take on #TheTalk addresses the stealth reach of bad actors and algorithms. Schroeder’s warning is based on personal experience with her son, who she observed absentmindedly liking posts when he liked one glorifying Hitler and Nazism.

In this video commentary for The Emancipator, she shows how the pipeline to White supremacy begins. She knew that once the algorithm got the idea her son wanted to see neo-Nazi content, it would send more posts just like it to his impressionable eyes – getting more and more extreme to keep him engaged. This is why Schroeder implores White parents to teach their kids about White supremacy and social media literacy, for their own safety, and for the safety of their peers.

Joanna Schroeder is a writer, editor and feminist media critic. She is managing editor of the Experts Program at YourTango, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, The Huffington Post, Time, and Vox.