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Fueled by social media access, white nationalism is on the rise and attracting violent young white men

23 Comments
By Sophie Bjork-James

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This is not hyperbole. Read the book 'How Democracies Die', and if you care about racial diversity as a strength and not a weakness, you'll get involved.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

this crap has been brewing for decades, even before the internet came to being. There have been these kooky white/Aryan militia cruds out in boondock states like Idaho. When there weren't many Blacks to harass, they picked on Native Americans and always always always sassed off about and blamed everything on the Jews. Some of them have declared themselves to be 'constitutionalists' who don't recognize US authority and hold standoffs and/or rob banks to fund their criminal activity.

Tim McVeigh did his OKC crap based on the 'Turner Diaries', a neo-Nazi book about triggering a Nazi revolution. The terrorist incident occurred on April 19, 1995 - the 220th anniversary of the outbreak of Lexington and Concord (American Revolution). On April 19, 2020 - the 235th anniversary, Trump tweeted his cult to 'LIBERATE!' the Statehouses 'from' the CoVid-19 lockdown. Coincidence? I think not.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Today, many white nationalist ideas once relegated to society’s fringes are embraced by the broader conservative movement.

Take, for instance, the Great Replacement Theory. The conspiracy theory misinterprets demographic change as an active attempt to replace white Americans with people of color.

White nationalism went mainstream with Trump and the MAGA movement and broadly overlaps with the present state of the Republican Party.

But it was Democrat noe-liberal policies shared with Republican business interests that hollowed out the American working middle class and set the stage for the rise of nationalist, identitarian populist groups.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

What do you expect when mainstream culture says they need to be gone? There are anti-white messages in practically everything nowadays and it's relentless

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Complete propaganda from the media to provide cover for an authoritarian government.

There is no significant "white nationalism" movement in the US. The group they cite here, for example, the Proud Boys are headed by a hispanic person of color. The first time in history a white nationalist movement has been headed by a black man.

Amazing that people eat these lies up.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Fueled by social media access, white nationalism is on the rise and attracting violent young white men

Of course it is - it has one major media outlet in the US that does nothing but fan the flames with a daily diet of white supremacy and victimization from its kooky (white) hosts each night...

One has to look no farther than this week's CPAC where Hungary President (and Putin fan-boy) Viktor Orban was an invited guest and gave the crowd what they wanted to hear with a "white power" speech...

The core values of the Republican Party are no longer fiscal responsibility and small government, it's violent white nationalism and "Replacement Theory"...

0 ( +9 / -9 )

What do you expect when mainstream culture says they need to be gone? There are anti-white messages in practically everything nowadays and it's relentless

Indeed. These days in the media you can often see the word "white" used as an insult, in phrases such as "toxic whiteness" etc. And mainstream websites and news will have articles asking why something is so white, like it is a problem (the English women's football team for example) while they'd never ask why something is so black as if that is a problem. Historical dramas as now full of actors of colour, replacing real historical characters (such as past kings and queens of England) with people who are not white. Of course, given all this, many percieve whiteness to be suddenly under attack.

If you used "black" as in insult and talked about "toxic blackness", if you asked why an atletics team is too black, if you started portraying black historical figures with white actors, do you think there would be a reaction?

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

But it was Democrat noe-liberal policies shared with Republican business interests that hollowed out the American working middle class and set the stage for the rise of nationalist, identitarian populist group

I am going to paint a different picture of how the US arrived where it is. Go back to 1980. The USSR was seen by many as eclipsing the US and NATO in terms of military might. On top of the military competition there was ideological battle, elected government and a capitalist economy vs Communism. Both had their attractions at the time and both had their devoted adherents.

To make democracy and capitalism seem more compelling those living in democracies had to be seen as living in clearly wealthier and freer societies. To that end the US made a bargain with its allies. We will spend like the dickens on defense,, and open our economies to your imports so you can grow your economies as rapidly as possible to win the battle for hearts and minds. In exchange you buy up our debt so we don't experience high domestic inflation from borrowing so heavily for defense.

If you look at the years 1980-1992 the national debt rose from 31% of GDP to 69% of a much greater GDP. The down side of this was two fold. Cheap imports of household goods from allies created a growing trade deficit vs-a-vis US allies, especially the so-called Asian Tigers. On top of that, by buying up US debt those same allies kept the value of the US Dollar artificially high in trade, where under a normal free trade regimen the US Dollar should have lost value and made the trade deficit self correcting

The upshot was these two dynamics made US production of most household goods uneconomical and production was moved abroad. This would have been much less costly to the US had, at the conclusion of the Cold War the US ended its deficit habit and paid down its accumulated debt. The US did try and by the year 2000 the debt was down to 59% of GDP and the budgets for the fiscal years 1999 and 2000 had small surpluses. The stage was set to pay the debt down. But September 11, 2001 put paid to that notion. The subsequent economic melt down in 2008 only made things worse because retrenching at that point would have put the US and the whole world into a deflationary death spiral that every thinking economist on the planet fears almost more than death.

Btw, what are thought of as "neo-liberal" economics are hardly the hallmark of Democrats. Democrats have Keynesian tendencies. "Neo-liberal economics" are more hard core capitalist and libertarian in nature.

The main problem for the US is that it gets the Keynesian stimulus part right but then fails to pay the debt down after a recession, which is necessary for economic health and balanced trade. If your nation has a lot of debt instruments available for sale, any trade partner running a surplus in trade with your nation is going to use their surplus of your currency to buy up your debt and in that way keep the value of your currency high to protect their trade surplus. That's how it works and what has been happening to the US for 40+ years.

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Just from a cursory look back at the least few years, I would say that Antifa and BLM alone have committed more violent crimes than all these right-wing chaps put together.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

The FBI considers the right-wing nationals the most dangerous.

" On February 22, 2019, a Trump Administration United States Department of Justice official wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “white supremacy and far-right extremism are among the greatest domestic-security threats facing the United States. Regrettably, over the past 25 years, law enforcement, at both the Federal and State levels, has been slow to respond. … Killings committed by individuals and groups associated with far-right extremist groups have risen significantly.”

Fatal terrorist attacks by far-right-wing extremists include—

https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/s894/BILLS-116s894is.xml

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

There is no significant "white nationalism" movement in the US. The group they cite here, for example, the Proud Boys are headed by a hispanic person of color. The first time in history a white nationalist movement has been headed by a black man.

The Proud Boys are nothing but a bunch of drunken slobs unable to function as courteous, thoughtful and respectful people. They are so grossly bad manners no self respecting woman will have anything to do with them but since these are not thoughtful people capable of even the least little bit of self reflection they resort to gross misogyny.

As for your contention there is no white nationalist movement in the US did you even bother to watch the Unite the RIght rally in Charlottesville? The Proud Boys were a tiny minority of the marchers. You had dozens of white power militias marching. You had people marching down the streets chanting things like "Jews are satan's children" and "Jews will not replace us". They carried banners with old Nazi slogans like "Blood and soil".

I'm and one gray haired white guy. People who don't know me well make assumptions about my world view, incorrect assumptions but they do not realize this, and say what they really think with no filters. They figure I am not offended by their notions that blacks should be deported back to Africa or their string of racial epithets. I hear it all. I have been told by a grossly overweight welfare queen cousin with multiple kids by different men one of whom was serving a life sentence for murder, that I their Naval Officer cousin with a Masters Degree working like crazy at day job with business on the side could not possibly be a "good American who can be trusted" if they are not a (lazy good for nothing) Christian like her. This is the twisted way some white Americans think. I never ate dinner with her again.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

When there weren't many Blacks to harass, they picked on Native Americans and always always always sassed off about and blamed everything on the Jews.

Therese people are a minority for the most part. They can be dangerous but overall their numbers have dwindled to record low levels of what they were back in the 50’s through the 70’s primarily, they’re not all the same, some have different goals, they’re definitely not a monolithic group.

Some of them have declared themselves to be 'constitutionalists' who don't recognize US authority and hold standoffs and/or rob banks to fund their criminal activity. 

But those in the total number are few. You don’t have to be white and a bonified constitutionalist to be an American Nationalist.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The FBI considers the right-wing nationals the most dangerous.

The FBI at the moment has a very serious credibility problem and is in need of a major internal shakeup from the top and especially with all the allegations and some of the agents working to undermine and take down a sitting duly elected President taking Wray and what they say about anything has proven to be less than trustworthy.

Fatal terrorist attacks by far-right-wing extremists include—

Funny, the FBI never gave us a specific name or group, location, leadership or membership of any particular group. This is exactly why more and more people are not buying his claims.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

What you are saying is that teaching the history of racism and pointing out that it's still happening today is akin to insulting white people, and that is somehow A Very Bad Thing, as if calling a bigot by his/her rightful title is an insult.

When I hear things like that, I can't help but paint a picture of the person in my head: an older white guy with a scruffy unshaven face and a huge beer gut straining the front of his white t-shirt, with beer in hand, waving his arms while yelling at the TV, using the N word liberally whenever a Black politician or the like says something he doesn't like. He refers to his wife as "my woman" and regularly yells at his kids.

Now obviously, this doesn't fit, because a) some of these guys are not white; b) many of them are young; c) many are women; and d) they often dress well and are quite presentable.

But this is still the image that comes to mind, because it is so hard to picture anything else when the ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and misogyny are so very clear in their words. That kind of hate is just plain incongruous with a young, well-dressed "nice young man" type.

i mean, we all want to THINK that these bigots must all be ignorant hillbillies and the like, but they aren't. They are everyman, and that actually says a lot.

All I can say is I hope all of them out there are ostracized by everyone you meet once they learn what you are about.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

What you are saying is that teaching the history of racism and pointing out that it's still happening today is akin to insulting white people, and that is somehow A Very Bad Thing, as if calling a bigot by his/her rightful title is an insult. 

No, I am saying whites are not the only ones that are racist or the ones that had a racist past, that thought alone in itself is racist.

When I hear things like that, I can't help but paint a picture of the person in my head: an older white guy with a scruffy unshaven face and a huge beer gut straining the front of his white t-shirt, with beer in hand, waving his arms while yelling at the TV, using the N word liberally whenever a Black politician or the like says something he doesn't like. He refers to his wife as "my woman" and regularly yells at his kids. 

Then you are the one that buys into those stereotypes and that has more to do with your biased and one-sided outlook on race.

Now obviously, this doesn't fit, because a) some of these guys are not white; b) many of them are young; c) many are women; and d) they often dress well and are quite presentable. 

True, just look at Washington or the politicians that minorities vote for overwhelmingly.

But this is still the image that comes to mind, because it is so hard to picture anything else when the ignorance, bigotry, intolerance, and misogyny are so very clear in their words. That kind of hate is just plain incongruous with a young, well-dressed "nice young man" type. 

True.

i mean, we all want to THINK that these bigots must all be ignorant hillbillies and the like, but they aren't. They are everyman, and that actually says a lot. 

So you are saying that educated white-collar whites are the ones that present the most danger, right?

All I can say is I hope all of them out there are ostracized by everyone you meet once they learn what you are about.

You can make that argument about everyone actually.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

© The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.

Is this the Australian governments answer to Julian Assange?

White nationalist leaders, such as Richard Spencer, wanted an even bigger audience and influence.

Spencer coined the term “alt-right” to this end, with the goal of blurring the relationship between white nationalism and white conservatism. 

So all the folks who use the phrase “alt-right” can thank Spencer? Too funny.

Anyway, not a good sign but expected with all the corporate fake multiculturalism being shoved in their faces.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

bass4funkToday 12:55 pm JST

No, I am saying whites are not the only ones that are racist or the ones that had a racist past, that thought alone in itself is racist.

No one is saying that only white people are racist. The problem is that when someone points out that white people have historically repressed Blacks, someone thinks they have to point out that not only white people are racists, as if "hey we are all a bit racist" is a good comeback that actually means something.

Then you are the one that buys into those stereotypes and that has more to do with your biased and one-sided outlook on race.

So you are saying that educated white-collar whites are the ones that present the most danger, right?

I like how you cherry picked that and pretended it stands on its own, and ignored what comes afterwards that explains why it's not true, even though you did read that part.

Dishonest arguments are dishonest.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The Proud Boys are nothing but a bunch of drunken slobs unable to function as courteous, thoughtful and respectful people. They are so grossly bad manners no self respecting woman will have anything to do with them

What an odd thing to say. Did they ask you on a date? Who are you to tell whether a woman has self-respect? The one interview I saw was of an abusive and hectoring CNN reporter being responded to very reasonably by the person of color who happens to lead the proud boys. Sorry, but I find it absurd that a so-called white nationalist group would be led by a black man. Incidentally, he called out white supremacy during that same interview.

I also used the word "significant", which you chose to ignore. Sure, you can find dozens of "white supremacists" - America is filled with half-educated crackpots. There are all kinds in the world, and you seem to have excessive exposure to a particular fringe group.

I would imagine that, for every 1000 people accused of being a racist for simply questioning the sacred precepts of recent American politics, there might be one or two actual racists there. Including the person making the accusation.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It is not just white nationalism that is on the rise due to social media.

Replace the countries and the context and it will become clear that all kinds of nationalism are on the rise due to social media.

The Chinese nationalists and their arguments straight out of the CCP handbook display how brainwashed they are.

Hindu nationalism was fueled by BJP and their IT cell on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube and all these tech firms could not clamp down on the racist diatribes coming from the social media accounts of the right wing Hindutva brigade for fear of being kicked out of a large market.

Islamic terrorism was also fueled by social media to some extent.

The anonymity that social media can provide emboldens people to reveal their true feelings without risk of being reprimanded, so one can say that social media is just a platform to bring out the worst sides of human beings.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There is too much hate on too many sites. I avoid visiting them. I just don't want that in my head. Once seen never unseen. At times there is too much hate on this site.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

No one is saying that only white people are racist. The problem is that when someone points out that white people have historically repressed Blacks, someone thinks they have to point out that not only white people are racists, as if "hey we are all a bit racist" is a good comeback that actually means something.

So we shouldn’t forget I agree, but should we just continue to not let the wounds of time heal or should we just lean on it for political advancement or push guilt of what was seen in the past as norm or acceptable behavior. The majority of Americans are not inherently racist. Having a black President that was elected overwhelmingly by white people proves that (while not perfect) America has come a long way, no other country would have a black President or PM. Only in the US.

I like how you cherry picked

I didn’t cherry-pick or ignore anything, just pointing out facts.

Dishonest arguments are dishonest.

Well, we know both agree on something.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Smart racists are more of a problem than dumb racists.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

bass4funkToday 06:46 pm JST

So we shouldn’t forget I agree, but should we just continue to not let the wounds of time heal or should we just lean on it for political advancement

Past wrongs continue to effect people long after those who committed them are gone. And since racism continues to be an issue, wrongs are still being done. The people who are trying to effect change aren't doing it for political reasons, e.g., to get elected. The people who are doing the best work are not even politicians. They're teachers, social workers, non-profits, community activists, and of course, everyday human beings who speak up against racism. And doing so is not politics; it's being a good kind and decent human being.

or push guilt of what was seen in the past as norm or acceptable behavior.

Do you not think that we should be ashamed of how people in the past treated people of color? My grandfather thought the N word was just another word for a Black person, and used it liberally. I know he didn't know any better, but when I think about that, I'm still ashamed that he was never educated not to do that. My mother is also ashamed. She talks often about it, and once told me that it has helped her to understand how her own attitudes were shaped, and in turn her stories made me far more aware of my own biases, and have helped to shape my attitude. We cannot make peace with the past without learning something from it, and yes - that requires recognizance, and accepting guilt as our burden to carry so that the future will be better. I hope that a hundred years from now Americans are still ashamed about slavery. The systematic abuse of human beings should never, ever be forgotten or forgiven, nor should we ever drop the shame and guilt we all share for our collective history.

The majority of Americans are not inherently racist.

I'd say that the majority of Americans are not actively or maliciously racist. But every single person alive has biases whether they are aware of them or not. And if we remain unaware of these biases and fail to interrogate ourselves, then we will act on them. That is why it is so important to be continually reminded and to scrutinize our thoughts and actions.

Having a black President that was elected overwhelmingly by white people proves that (while not perfect)

Having a Black president doesn't prove that the US has no race issues. Clearly we do, or else all that is mentioned in this article would not be happening, and events such as the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery would not be happening.

America has come a long way, no other country would have a black President or PM. Only in the US.

We have come a long way, but we still have much further to go and shouldn't be patting ourselves on the back for not being blatantly racist. You don't get praise and accolades merely for being a decent human being. If you start patting yourself on the back it means you think you're done. We aren't done.

I didn’t cherry-pick or ignore anything, just pointing out facts.

You did indeed cherry pick my post by taking one part out of context and ignoring what came afterwards that made clear that the point I was making was actually the opposite. That was very dishonest.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

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