"White Hispanic" Identity Threatens White Nationalist Organizations
Torch-bearing Richard Spencer and Congressman Steve King inspire White Nationalists groups nationwide to stop the “browning of America,” and it has strong implications for whiteness within Hispanic identity.
May 16, 2017 at 10:34 pm
Two weeks ago, amid the family-breaking ICE raids targeting non-criminal immigrants, armed neo-Nazis prepared for a violent standoff against anti-fascists (“antifa”) at the “Take A Stand for White Working Families” rally in Pikeville, Kentucky––their political ideologies and white identity politics were separated by a police barricade.
Local counter-protesters, police and community organizers effectively challenged the Nazis nationwide recruitment effort––an anti-“white genocide” agenda inspired by Donald Trump’s racial and political hubris and spearheaded bytorch-bearing Richard Spencer. On April 15th, a few weeks prior, the same groups clashed violently on the streets of Berkeley in what the media framed as a rhetorical battle between hate speech and heresy; the media failed, however, to investigate how “white Hispanics” are caught in the cross hairs and how white identity politics and victimhood are the lens through which racist dogma holds sturdy.
The nationwide recruitment, which is also connected to Europe’s right-wing populism, received institutional support from congressman Steve King and his alt-right ilk, who are exploiting a white fear of demographic change––this explains, to some extent, the growing resentment toward White Hispanics, who are privileged with dual communal access to the Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic white community. That access promulgates a “culture war” and weakens mobilization efforts.
The recent debacle over free speech underscores the extent to which the media is ignoring the substance of the hate speech, not the right to exercise it––the pillorying at US colleges and universities is a response to the burgeoning white nationalist movement. And white Hispanic ethnicity is one obstacle, of many, which threatens the white nationalist agenda.
Ann Coulter, the infamous conservative provocateur, appeared on ABC’s This Week to discuss why universities should accept more conservative voices; she was absolutely correct, in that regard, but it didn’t take long for her to interject racial grievance by lambasting the “browning of America” and the conversations about demographic voting blocs. “Why isn’t it hate speech to keep telling me how Hispanics are going to vote?” Coulter asked. Her remark was revealing.
In March of this year, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) purported that while the Census Bureau projects white Americans will become the minority by 2044, "Hispanics and blacks will be fighting each other before that happens." And in Trump's America and beyond, "we can't restore our [Western] civilization with somebody else's babies," King tweeted.
There has been a series of dog-whistle TV segments that have afforded congressman King––and others––the license to doubled-down on that rhetoric. In an attempt to promote racial and sociopolitical unity during an immigration debate on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Mexico-born Univision anchor Jorge Ramos––who is a white Latino with European features––was subjected to Carlson's blatant disregard for ethnic and cultural fluidity. "Let me just point out that you are white, obviously," Carlson said. "You're whiter than I am; you have blue eyes, so I don't know exactly what you mean by ‘white’ or Latino."
Carlson elevated Ramos' whiteness above his Hispanic cultural upbringing, which demonstrated a pattern of aversion toward the idea that white Hispanics, during our nation’s heated immigration debate, have dual communal access to the Hispanic/Latino and non-Hispanic white community––yet that ever-evolving Hispanic/Latino community, despite its documented racial hierarchy, still acknowledges its mixed racial ancestry (Spanish, Afro-Latinos, Mestizo, Asians and indigenous) that make up Hispanic/Latino culture and ethnicity. And this is a source of frustration for the far right's white purity agenda, which is hell-bent on making sure that there are no ideological walls hindering mass deportation of immigrants. And, as a bonus, in order to reverse the racial demographic shift, white Hispanics must fall in line like the Cubans, where the vast majority, 85 percent, identifies as white. But the end of “Wet-foot, dry-foot,” a special immigration policy, means Cubans may strengthen solidary with other Latinos.
The cultural and political quest for a white homogenous utopia––one that is usually espoused by alt-right white nationalist propaganda––was often validated by Bill O'Reilly's rallying cry against a culture war on the "White establishment." White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon who, as former executive chair of Breitbart News, crowned his site as “the platform for the alt-right.” Richard Spencer, the face of the alt-right and president of the National Policy Institute, proclaims their mission to be "dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States, and around the world."
Their ideas are shaped, at least in part, by The Bell Curve and End of Racism, two controversial conservative books by Charles Murray and Dinesh D'souza, respectively, which concluded that social dysfunction is linked to heritable low IQs and the inferior culture of the black and Hispanic communities. The disproven theories were and still are popular among conservative intellectuals, and it literally persuaded policymakers.
This is why the argument surrounding the far right’s appearances on college campuses should not be about the merits of free speech, but about objectivity versus neutrality, ethics and substance, the shoddy literature of scientific racism, and whether the normalization of a white nationalist recruitment campaign serves the public interest. There would certainly be an outcry from both sides of the political spectrum if, say, Brigham Young University allowed speakers to normalize Wahhabism or Jihadism on their Christian campus. Given our bloody history with 60s Civil Rights movement, why is there pressure to automatically accept and normalize the regressive policy views of white extremists and their scientific racism?
There is growing consensus among the far right that diversity and tolerance is pushing Western civilization on the edge––from America’s shining city upon a hill to Champs Elysees––but the greatest threat to Western civilization has always been an unchecked corporatocracy and the overly stretched arms of the Military Industrial Complex, not a diversity of ideas and multiculturalism. One fundamental drumbeat that underlies this fight for white purity and ethnic assimilation is the surprising anti-war awakening from large segments within the far right, who heretofore subscribed to the GOP’s warmongering brand. While corporate Democrats and neo-conservatives celebrated Donald Trump’s strike in Syria, the far right vehemently opposed it––they often claim that the preemptive strike was an example of the globalist within the deep state pulling strings to maintain the Military Industrial Complex, and rid “America first” ambitions. United States involvement in regime change in sovereign countries also strips America’s ability to create better trade deals, invest in healthcare and other social resources, infrastructure and job creation.
The inner-workings of an oligarchy and how it affects culture, class and race relations is certainly a topic worth debating on college campuses, but boiling structural inequality down to “superior” versus “inferior” cultures threatens social decorum and conveniently ignores the advances we’ve made since the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The white purity advocacy, hereditarianism and free speech gymnastics literally stokes violence and cements a partisan environment that distracts the general public from solving socioeconomic issues.
Several conservative pundits and far-right extremists are using their platforms to channel the re-imagination and broadening of the institutional power of pure white genetic and cultural superiority, and you're either with them or not: American assimilation means to become white. American culture means white culture. Make America Great Again means to revert back to a historical system that once required lighter-skinned immigrants like Hungarians, Italians, Polish, and the rest of Eastern, Central, and Southern Europeans to not only forgo their ethnic identity, but also to use housing and bank institutions to bind the white covenant tighter and expand generational wealth among themselves––Asians, like End of Racism author Dinesh D'souza, were too often viewed as the “honorary whites,” perpetual foreigners seen as a measuring stick for other minorities.
Congressman Steve King and Richard Spencer may view the fluid White Hispanic identity as an existential problem for their multinational white coalition, but it’s this generation of multicultural millennials, who are cognizant about structural inequality, that will prevent their regressive social ideas from spreading any further. And no Pepe the Frog or Trump executive order can stop them.