Racism, nativist extremism and the white supremacist fringe groups of the neo-Confederate movement are among the topics to be discussed from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in the Baker Pattillo Student Center Grand Ballroom at Stephen F. Austin State University. The event is a presentation of SFA's Wisely Fellow Speaker Series.

Dr. Heidi Beirich, director of research for the Southern Poverty Law Center, will present "American Extremism and the Growing Hate Movement." Beirich earned a doctorate in political science from Purdue University.

Dr. Dianne Dentice, 2011-2012 Wisely Fellow and a faculty member in SFA's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, said that early nativists were worried about the Irish, Italian and German immigrants "polluting" Anglo-Saxon culture.

"Modern-day American nativists who participate in extremist movements are singularly focused on race - with white English speakers being superior to any other group in their collective mindset," Dentice explained

Dentice said that while the civil rights movement and other policies have helped minority groups, there is still room for improvement in American culture.

"In our society, skin color is a minor genetic trait that has major social implications, especially with regard to educational opportunities, access to decent housing and health care," she said.

The Wisely Fellow Speaker Series is sponsored by the School of Honors and the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. For more information, call (936) 468-2241.