Editorial: White ‘nationalism’ is just lipstick on bad old supremacism
Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner got it right this weekend about the violence at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
After a car plowed into a group of counterprotesters and President Donald Trump criticized “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Gardner tweeted:
“Mr. President — we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism.”
Gardner, who elaborated Sunday on CNN, was hardly alone among Republican lawmakers in identifying what happened Saturday and pointedly calling on Trump to join them.
• “Very important for the nation to hear @potus describe events in #Charlottesville for what they are, a terror attack by #whitesupremacists,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted.
• “Our hearts are with today’s victims. White supremacy is a scourge. This hate and its terrorism must be confronted and defeated,” House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted after the car attack.
• Sen. Orin Hatch of Utah added his voice: “We should call evil by its name. My brother didn’t give his life fighting Hitler for Nazi ideas to go unchallenged here at home.”
These Republicans, and others, named the scourge: White supremacism.
For some reason, most media, including the Associated Press, upon which the Post Independent, as an AP member, relies for national and international news, are using the term white “nationalism.”
This lipstick on a grotesque swine is a propaganda win, the extreme right’s version of the political correctness that it decries from the left. This “nationalist” movement is white supremacy and racism covered not by the white sheets of the Klan but by a euphemism propagated by the pure white snowflakes of faux news and hate radio.
We must note here that the alleged actions of James Alex Fields Jr., charged with second-degree murder in Saturday’s attack, are from the same coin whose flip side features James Hodgkinson, the leftist nut charged in June’s shooting at a House Republican baseball practice.
So to the extent that Trump is right about hatred on both sides, it is more than equally true that his politics of vilification serve to fuel America’s dangerous polarization rather than seeking to mend it.
After Trump’s election, the New York Times wrote a piece that did backflips trying to explain the distinction between white “nationalism” and white “supremacy.”
Eric Kaufmann, a professor of politics at Birkbeck University in London, who studies ethnic majorities in the United States and Britain, said white nationalism “is the belief that national identity should be built around white ethnicity, and that white people should therefore maintain both a demographic majority and dominance of the nation’s culture and public life.”
“So, like white supremacy, white nationalism places the interests of white people over those of other racial groups. White supremacists and white nationalists both believe that racial discrimination should be incorporated into law and policy.
“Some will see the distinction between white nationalism and white supremacy as a semantic sleight of hand. But … Kaufmann says the terms are not synonyms: White supremacy is based on a racist belief that white people are innately superior to people of other races; white nationalism is about maintaining political and economic dominance, not just a numerical majority or cultural hegemony.”
This is a distinction without a difference. We call on the AP to examine its use of “white nationalism” versus “supremacy.”
White people are not oppressed in America, in Colorado, in Garfield County.
White people, more than any other Americans, have access to the bounty of our great land, which is enriched by welcoming its inevitably growing diversity, not by fearing it.