Demography and Destiny: Fantasising about “White Genocide”

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“You have to worry: Has the world slipped off its hinges?” – Russell Baker

New York Times columnist Russell Baker may have been referring to the Cold War in observing a dearly departed phenomenon, but his note has broader relevance.  “Where,” he continued, “can we look for assurance that it’s still the same reliably inevitable old world we loved to hate?”

In terms of hate, demographics have continued to prove a catchy number in countries where anxiety receives a spike with each research report on population numbers. According to Pew Research on US population numbers, to take one such example, “non-Hispanic whites, who made up 67 percent of the population in 2005 will be 47 percent in 2050” (Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project, Feb 11, 2008).[1]

In Britain, the conservative think tank Policy Exchange predicted that non-white people would make up between 20 to 30 percent of the population by 2050.  Over the past decade, the white population has remained stable in number, while the minority population had doubled (The Independent, May 5, 2014).

Demographics is an addling phenomenon, allowing policy makers and activists to conceal ideas based on race behind what has been termed by Ta-Nehisi Coates as a more “elegant racism”, one that “disguises itself in the national vocabulary, avoids epithets and didacticism” (The Atlantic, May 12, 2014).[2]

Some prefer to take the plunge into less subtle expressions of the theme, including such figures as David Lane, whose White Genocide Manifesto stresses the threats of disempowerment by untrustworthy whites, enervating Zionism and the gloomy assertion that “the death of our race will be eternal”.

Population numbers do change, but some national groups see genocidal intent behind the increased numbers of other groups, even though such assertions are fanciful, not to mention unprovable, at best. Falling birth rates suggests the terrifying spectre of extinction.  The politics of the birth rate is ever present in some countries, where the fear of being a dying state, or at least one readied for the old people’s home, is all too apparent.

In Europe, the fears are to be found among various groups of the right that find voice in anti-immigration platforms, notably those such as the UK Independence Party.  To the right of UKIP is the British Nationalist Party which has been busy for some years attacking EU immigration policies as promoters of “white genocide”.

There is even a name for one undertaking – the White Genocide Project – which placed an anti diversity bill board along the I-59 in Alabama this month.  The sign made the rather strong statement that “Diversity Means Chasing Down the Last White Person”.  “We started the site,” explained Steve Goode by email to the organisation Hatewatch, “because we wanted to voice our concern about the trends towards a White minority across dozens of White majority countries.”[3]

Don Terry, writing for the Southern Poverty Law Center, suggests that the WGP may well be a product of Louis Beam’s “leaderless resistance” approach, one that resists hierarchy while promoting individual takes on how to spread a message.  Everyone in the movement, claims Goode, is “their own boss”.

The White Resister, a neo-Nazi publication heavy with themes of “white resistance,” saw the removal of the offending billboard as one prompted by threats of violence from various “militant anti-whites”.[4]  (With such logic, any opposition invariably becomes a militant one.)  Dyar Outdoors, the billboard company, stated that it was simply interested in the financial side of things.  Content was less relevant.

The vital point of selling the message of a verifiable, and credible enemy, is to transform it.  Phobias become covers for deep seated persecution complexes, even if that persecution is nigh impossible to identify.  Islamophobia, when flipped, becomes a creature of offensive value – or so the message goes. It is white people who feel that history is taking off, a train with only first class berths.  And they are not on it.  Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut, surmises that the United States is facing new sentiments of “struggling whites” who feel that “they are the primary victims of racism” (New York Times, Jan 19).

This is hardly unique.  Across the pond, the WPG has claimed, for instance, that Britain is besieged by instances of marginalised whites – a form of sublimated segregation.[5]  The account of a “local white resident” in Birmingham discloses such cases as “a road sign in an area with a high Asian population, on which was sprayed the phrase ‘No Whites after 8.30’.”  The observation was taken from a study by the UK Department of Communities and Local Government conducted in 2009, which examined the attitudes of residents in Birmingham’s Castle Vale. In the write-up on the report, the Birmingham Mail (Jan 3, 2009) suggested in nervous tones how “working class Brummies fear parts of their city have become no-go areas for them.”

For the WGP, the implications were clear and extensive.  “This is not happening in just Britain, nor is it happening in just a handful of White countries – it’s happening in just about every White country on the face of the planet” (White Genocide Project, Jan 14).

The figureheads of such white anxiety tend to find voice in the naming strategies of Marine Le Pen of Frances’s Front National, exemplified in her New York Times op-ed on Islamic fundamentalism.[6]  But behind the work of every reactionary on the subject of identity and racial politics usually lies a frantic demographer.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]


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Articles by: Dr. Binoy Kampmark

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