A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Key concepts to understand violent White supremacy


In recent months, a man inspired by the 2015 terrorist attack perpetrated by Dylann Roof was arrested for plotting an armed assault, while a Georgia man with White supremacist ties was investigated for possession of ricin. Indian immigrants have been targeted in suspected hate crimes in Kansas, Washington, and South Carolina, while an African-American man in New York City was stabbed to death in a racist ideologically-motivated homicide. Jewish and African-American institutions have been threatened with and subjected to armed protests, Mosques have also seen threats levied against them. Many of these attacks and threats have been linked to violent White supremacists[1] or used rhetoric commonly associated with violent White supremacy, making apparent the need to better understand this group of actors.

This new START research brief identifies and explains 13 different prominent narratives used by U.S. violent White supremacist extremists. The brief also summarizes key concepts about ideology and typology.


[1] The researchers define violent White supremacist extremists as actors who enable the execution of violence indirectly through assistance—such as providing funding, transportation or logistical support, and/or training—or directly participate in acts of unlawful violence directed at the federal government, ethnic, racial, and/or religious minorities, including Jewish persons in support of their belief that Whites are intellectually and morally superior to all other races.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Beutel, Alejandro. 2017. "Key concepts to understand violent White supremacy." College Park, Md. April. 

START Author(s):