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Texas Shooting Shows Trend: White Supremacists Attracting Latinos

After hiding in terror as bullets rang out, Marvin Castaneda and his family emerged from the outlet mall last Saturday to the sight of the gunman, lying dead on the sidewalk. Castaneda noticed that the shooter, Mauricio Garcia, who killed eight people that afternoon, was Latino. “That image is there, in our minds,” said Castaneda, who is from El Salvador, choking up. “It’s not easy.” Garcia, 33, was wearing a badge that read “RWDS,” for Right Wing Death Squad and had a tattoo of a swastika police. He had been inculcated in white supremacist and other hate-based movements, scrawling anti-Asian and anti-woman messages on social media platforms. In one post, Garcia said he had once been “ashamed” to be Hispanic, the Washington Post reports.

The 22nd mass killing of the year, the second in Texas in less than a month, infused an intense sense of vulnerability and fear into the community. In the days since the shooting, Latino residents in Dallas-Fort Worth say they have also been grappling with Garcia’s identity, discussing racism within their own community and worrying that the shooter could increase negative stereotypes of Hispanics. “We Latinos don’t have a great reputation in the United States, and these things don’t help us at all,” Castaneda said. White supremacist movements are attracting and seeking out non-White members to legitimize their ideology. “We’re going to these rallies and seeing more and more men of color involved in them,” said Daniel Martinez HoSang, a Yale University professor and author of “Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity.” Ignoring the growth of Latinos and other people of color in the White supremacy movement is dangerous, said Fordham University Prof. Tanya Kateri Hernandez, author of “Racial Innocence: Unmasking Latino Anti-Black Bias and the Struggle for Equality.”


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