Preventing The Rising Tide Of White Nationalism

Last week, the world witnessed a mass shooting involving eerily significant motives. On Friday, an Australian man carried out a hate-inspired attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 49 people, and spreading worldwide panic. In October, a similar attack took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following both events, concerned discourse on mass-scale violence, terrorism, and gun control spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, many analysts missed the cause of this attack and the more effective way to uproot it and unhelpfully distributing blame to solitary figures or merely pushing policy for gun reform. In reality, this particular act of violence stems from the very intense fear of a resurgent white nationalistic wave. To commence an effective countermovement against this extreme belief system, we must first understand its origin and unprecedented influence.

Internationally, certain countries in Western Europe and even the United States experience rising rates of subscriptions to separate factions of self-defined white nationalism, unifying beneath one umbrella, and inciting violence against non-white neighbors. In an interview with The New Republic, Alexander Reid Ross – the author of “Against the Fascist Creep”- describes this fascist emergence as an “enormous threat to the well-being of multicultural society… This is just the latest incident in what seems like an increasing tendency of white nationalists to attack civilians in synagogues, mosques, and churches while attempting to build off one another.” Joshua Roose, a practiced sociologist, highlights this ideological spread (both internationally and domestically) as incredibly intricate, not at all the emotionally based doctrine that media pundits prescribe. Roose sufficiently explains this system in relation to the New Zealand attack by stating, “The Australian far right draws inspiration from overseas groups in the U.S. and U.K. trying to form local chapters… However, other groups formed organically in Australia. And they mostly formed in the past three years.” Understanding these realities, observers should notice its detrimental effects and probable exponential proliferation if left unchecked. For this reason, Alexander Reid Ross also demands, “It’s incumbent on leftists to work toward a clear internationalist platform that rebukes nationalism, rebukes hard borders, and rejects the notion that Europe is a white continent.”

However, the resistance against white nationalism should not become the burden of leftist partisanship. Actually, this confrontation should even become more than even a partnership between opposing parties within the countries’ political process. Instead, it should become a part of each government’s national agenda. Also, this agenda should do more than just rebuke public acts and subsequent voicing of racially or religious-inspired hatred. The agenda must attack these ideological formulations at its root, which often manifests on social media platforms. This racist and xenophobic rhetoric most effectively spreads there, which is why it must be closely monitored. Of course, these citizens still possess the same liberties guaranteed to them through their select constitutions, including the right to free speech. However, this type of rhetoric and spread of ideas online should be treated and managed in the same manner as other threats of terrorism. For, their convictions are obviously just as extreme and life-threatening and should not be allowed to encroach on the liberties and lives of their targeted groups.

Though racist in nature, the ideology itself remains deeply entrenched in a stronger, driving force of fear. From its inception, followers of this white supremacist doctrine developed a wariness of the growing numbers of immigration from primarily non-white countries to predominantly white ones. Out of fear of being outnumbered, these militants campaign against open immigration, interracial relationships, non-Christian worship, and social integration for non-whites in general. Adam Serwer, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, summarizes this transition from fear of “white genocide” to an outwardly expressed hatred towards non-white, non-Christian groups. Sewer illuminates the simple reasoning behind this crusade through the mind of David Lane- a white supremacist who prejudicially murdered a Jewish radio host in 1984 and also a figurehead of this philosophy. In fourteen words, David Lane speaks for many of his constituents in avowing: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” So when paired with the racially motivated violence surrounding white-nationalist thought, we all must consider our role in stopping it, instead of placing blame on others. We must pressure our political and social leaders to condemn messages like this and to promote unification amongst all ethnic and religious groups, for we all rightfully belong to our respective states and societies. We must also eliminate fear-mongering political campaigns and rhetoric against immigrants, non-Christians, and non-white identities, as seen in the United States and much of Europe. We must also provide federal investigative agencies the support they request to counter organizations inciting bigoted thinking and violence. Finally, we must hold social media platforms accountable for combatting the spread of this ideology. If not, we leave the lives of many black and brown populations at risk and deny their ability to live freely and peacefully, as they deserve to as human beings.


The Organization for World Peace