1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 In the wake of a week of violent, racialized shootings in the United States at the end of October 2018, much attention has been given to the spurious beliefs held by white nationalists and neo-Nazis like Robert Gregory Bowers, who opened fire in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people. The crux of these beliefs, espoused by many of these domestic terrorists, is “white genocide,” which posits that white people, being a pure race, are in danger of being overrun by savage, brown immigrants who will destroy European culture in the name of ‘diversity’ and ‘open borders.’ Supporters of this conspiracy claim that the masterminds of this plot against white people are none other than ‘the Jews,’ who have for centuries been rumored to control the media and the governments that push for increased immigration and tolerance of refugees. The powers that be being against white people, they believe, there is no other recourse than to defend themselves through violent action, leading to arson, assault, and murder of those who would seek to act against them. Their beliefs, while reinterpreted for contemporary fears, are not new, nor are they based in historical fact. There has not been any concerted effort to commit genocide against white people by Jews, Blacks, or any other group, contrary to the theories peddled by racists and other bigots.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The fear of ‘civilization’ being overrun by foreign hordes is centuries-old, but as a historical fear its racialized origins can be more firmly seen in the rhetoric surrounding the perpetuation of colonial regimes in the Americas, particularly in slave societies. These fears became exacerbated in the wake of the Haitian Revolution, which saw an army Black and free people of color rising against the European colonizers who kept them oppressed and enslaved; the war was seen as a War on Whiteness as the European oppressors knew it and its survival in the plantation societies that surrounded what would become Haiti. Thus stories about the so-called “horrors of St. Domingo” circulated throughout the Atlantic, warning of the dangers of free Blacks bent on exterminating the whites that oppressed them. Thomas Jefferson, writing to Aaron burr, expressed his revulsion of the idea of Blacks emancipating themselves, calling them “cannibals of the terrible republic,” who may very well be “eaten by a more civilized enemy,” (Jefferson) their French oppressors. These fears omit the desire for freedom that galvanized the revolutions in North America, France, and beyond, and the hatred for enslavement and oppressive systems that led to slave revolts. Nonetheless, the brutality of the Haitian Revolution served as a catalyst for stricter laws impeding the rights of Blacks across the Americas, as well as an argument against the abolition of slavery, which would not be legally ended in the hemisphere until Brazil ended its stake in the slave trade in 1888.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The idea of hordes of foreign aliens overrunning the ‘civilized’ white race did not catch on however, until the end of the nineteenth century, when large groups of immigrants were arriving to the United States from Southern and Eastern Europe. These immigrants were often outside of what would become the ‘White Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ milieu, comprising of, among other groups, Ashkenazi Jews, and Catholics from Ireland, Italy, Bavaria. These groups were not members of the first waves of colonization and settlement of North America, and thus had not assimilated to the mores of the United States elites. Their cultures were seen as superstitious, indulgent, and barbaric, and were often caricatured in political cartoons as being infantile and needing of civilization. With the advent of social Darwinism, which attached ideas of evolutionary theory and (Herbert) Spencerian “survival of the fittest” to groups of people: a pseudo-scientific spin was put on the fears of the immigrant wave. In this mode of thought, the ‘superior races,’ being from Northern, ‘Nordic,’ countries had been able to achieve a high level of civilization and advancement, which was threatened by the incapacities of ‘inferior’ races from Southern Europe, Africa, and Asia– which needed to be conquered and civilized. The impoverished state of many immigrants not from ‘Nordic’ countries was seen as empirical proof of their inferiority, and so scientific racists such as Madison Grant in his The Passing of the Great Race, or the Basis of European History (1916) and Lothrop Stoddard’s The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy (1920) speciously solidified such ideas in public thought. It was thought that these ‘inferior races’ actively sought to infiltrate and displace white people out of sheer jealousy and maliciousness. This was the base of eugenics theories, laws of ethnic exclusion, segregation, and immigration quotas that enforced white supremacy in the United States and other countries.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Perhaps the most influential book in this vein of exclusion theory has been the discredited anti-Semitic The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which proposed an international Jewish conspiracy to usurp and dominate white Christian civilization for their own greed and benefit. This book seemed to handily ignore the centuries of discrimination experienced by Jews across Europe. While heavily plagiarized and not based in fact (many investigations have revealed The Protocols to be a complete hoax), the book has been translated into many languages and would go on to influence the racial theories of, among others, Nazi Germany, which would amalgamate the racial theories of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries into a deadly mix. The Nazis would go on to claim that ‘inferior,’ ‘degenerate’ races, such as Jews, Blacks, Slavs, and Roma, sought to destroy German society and pollute their pure blood; a racially pure society would need to deport or exterminate them. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler would write words that encapsulated the goals of white supremacy:

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 What we must fight for is to safeguard the existence and reproduction of our race and our people, the sustenance of our children and the purity of our blood, the freedom and independence of the fatherland, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe. Every thought and every idea, every doctrine and all knowledge, must serve this purpose. And everything must be examined from this point of view and used or rejected according to its utility.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 This phrase would be synthesized into the infamous “Fourteen Words” repeated by white supremacists the world over: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for our white children.” Interestingly, this is often represented in white supremacist jargon as “14” and combined with “88,” which represents the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, for “Heil Hitler:” the dog-whistle “1488” is often found in the online profiles of white supremacists and similarly-influenced racists. The phraseology and sentiment have reached even to the federal government: on February 15, 2018 the Department of Homeland Security published a press release titled as “We Must Secure the Border and Build the Wall to Make America Safe Again,” which eerily comprises exactly fourteen words. Nazism was seen as defending a ‘pure’ German homeland from outside influences such as Bolshevism, Judaism, and jazz, which would degenerate and destroy a valiant and powerful people. A look at Nazi propaganda reveals a well-curated vision of healthy, physically fit, blonde-haired people, Greco-Roman architecture, crisp uniforms, strict discipline, and undying love and loyalty to the Fatherland and the Führer, all the while resting on a system that relied on secret police, concentration camps, ideological rigidity, and indoctrination. To an outsider, this white supremacist world reeling from economic uncertainty and new ideas and influences, the seeming order, prosperity, and happiness of this ‘Aryan nation’ seemed to promise a way forward– for white people only. In Germany, this led to the mass slaughter of 11 million people deemed unworthy of life; 6 million of whom alone were Jews. However, there are those who deny that the Holocaust ever happened, that it was a concoction to destroy the Germans’ reputations in favor of the Jews and their agenda to supposedly enact the same on the white world; the recorded and physical evidence speaks otherwise.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 White nationalism and supremacy, based on the fear of ‘white genocide,’ has been spurred by economic uncertainty and a quickly-changing society, and the fear of losing the privilege and power long associated with whiteness. That the United States, along with most European nations, owes its existence and prosperity to white supremacist laws and actions at home and abroad, oppressing and exploiting masses of people in the ‘Third World’ should stand to contradict the notion of ‘white genocide’ itself. The genocide of indigenous peoples around the world allowed for the establishment of nation-states on those lands and the exploitation of its natural resources for the benefit of the colonizers; no such actions have ever occurred to a majority-white people in any recorded histories. In fact, the whole notion of ‘whiteness,’ along with other ‘races’ is a social fiction created to cement dominance through categorizing and separating groups of people, thus creating hierarchies of difference that values certain peoples’ lives over others. The current upheaval caused by economic recession and the accumulation of capital and power in the hands of a wealthy few is leading to a collapse of traditional, secure, full-time work and economic depression outside of the coastal centers of economic might. Combined with this, an increasingly diverse society in terms of ethnic, cultural, sexual, and gender identity is rending long-held notions of what consists a ‘normal’ or ‘correct’ way of being that has been repeated ad nauseam in mainstream media for decades. For many whites, the world as they knew it is degenerating, and instead of pinning their increased insecurity on the wealthy and powerful who perpetrate harmful policies at the workplace, the boardroom, and government buildings, they are led to blame foreigners, who are often attempting to escape the instabilities wrought by certain powerful nations and their political and economic agents. The mass of refugees from war-torn, economically-exploited, environmentally-precarious, and increasingly-authoritarian countries are seen as an invading horde intent on destroying national values and the integrity of white, European culture. There is increased mentioning of “Homeland Security,” “strengthening the borders,” “extreme vetting,” ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ immigration, “anchor babies,” and the drugs, crime, and rapacity brought by foreign, often darker-than-white, immigrants. For those in power, allowing these people in is to actively participate in their own downfall – their ‘white genocide’– and so it must be stopped. The Pittsburgh shooter, Robert Bowers, saw the Tree of Life synagogue as a threat due to its open participation in the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), which has actively helped refugees from around the world resettle in the United States, where they would ostensibly be safer. This was proof enough that ‘the Jews’ were responsible for the continued push for the annihilation of the white race for many white nationalists by making them the national minority; this merely affirmed what others of their ilk had feared for decades now. In the seemingly-anonymous world of internet blogs and chat rooms, white supremacists have found ample ground to share their views with others and develop ‘nuance’ to their expression through memes; for example, the use of the (((parenthesis))) around a name serves as an anti-Semitic dog-whistle to express that ‘the Jews’’ actions “echo throughout history.” Bowers, who has the numbers “1488” tattooed to his body, echoed these conspiracies in his last Twitter post: “HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” He, along with Gregory Allen Bush, who killed two Black customers at a grocery store in Kentucky, are symptomatic of the fear-mongering stoked by demagogues–from the media to the sitting president himself–in response to an increasingly alienating and changing world. As white nationalism increasingly holds sway with disenfranchised whites and others who feel slighted by the powers that be (there are also people of color in such milieus), the dog-whistles and open expressions of white supremacist ideology often neglects the historical contexts of colonial oppression. These historical moments have that led to the creation and institutionalization of these ideas and have led (and continue to lead) to the social, economic, and political situations that make them seem appealing in the first place.

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10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 SOURCES

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 Calgary Anti-Racist Education, University of Calgary. 2018. Retrieved from https://www.ucalgary.ca/cared/.

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13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Gross, Terry. “< Eli Saslow Traces ‘Straight Line’ From White Nationalism to Alleged Synagogue Shooter.” NPR. October 29, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=661633763.

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15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Guess, Teresa J. “The Social Construction of Whiteness: Racism by Intent, Racism by Consequence.” Critical Sociology 32, 4 (2006): 649-673.

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17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Hassal, Mary. “From Secret History; or the Horrors of St. Domingo.” From Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017.

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19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 Jefferson, Thomas. “Letters, 1792-1802.” From Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, edited by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017.

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21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 Lyster, Rose. “The creeping specter of ‘white genocide.’” The Outline. (May 9, 2018). Retrieved from https://theoutline.com/post/4486/the-creeping-spectre-of-white-genocide?zd=1&zi=v3lbz5sk.

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23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Renshaw, Jarrett. “Who is Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect?” Reuters. October 28, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pennsylvania-shooting-suspect/who-is-robert-bowers-the-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting-suspect-idUSKCN1N10S6.

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25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 Sankin, Aaron & Will Carless. “President Trump is pushing white nationalist ideas into the mainstream.” The Washington Post. August 24, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/08/24/president-trump-is-pushing-white-nationalist-ideas-into-mainstream/?utm_term=.17601bc14da8

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27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Tseng-Putterman, Mark. “A Century of U.S. Intervention Created the Immigrant Crisis.” Medium. June 20, 2018. Retrieved from https://medium.com/s/story/timeline-us-intervention-central-america-a9bea9ebc148?fbclid=IwAR2G57iprbAF8JdbXy8wWdbd4CnQs_7IGAW4icB2ILXqFjJKVB7pYFe00i0.

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29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 “We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again” (Press release). United States Department of Homeland Security. 15 February 2018. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/02/15/we-must-secure-border-and-build-wall-make-america-safe-again

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