USRESIST NEWS OP ED
The Rise of White Nationalism in America
By Erika Shannon
January 22, 2021
A burning question for many is who are these people? Often times, they are those you would least expect: your neighbor, mailman, doctor, or barber. People of all ages are involved with the white nationalist movement. Many members are associated with the alt-right and have conservative ideals. According to research by the Institute for Family Studies, white people with no college degree make up a large chunk of these white nationalists. This suggests that members of these hate groups are less educated, which means that education may be a powerful tool for fighting racism in America. Their research also indicates that white males in the lowest income group ($0-$29,000) are more likely to have a strong sense of white identity and solidarity. The research by IFS also shows that while a large chunk of white nationalists are 65 and older, there is not a huge age gap; this means that the amount of white nationalists across age groups is fairly uniform, and it can be inferred that children of white supremacists are being taught white pride ideologies by their parents.
The reason why people get involved with white supremacist groups is not exactly clear-cut. The attitude carried by members of these groups is one of superiority. Often these extremists have a strong sense of white identity, as well as a sense of white victimization for fear that they will one day no longer be the majority. According to the US Census Bureau, all racial and ethnic minorities are growing faster than whites here in America. By 2044, it is projected that the white non-Hispanic population will no longer be the majority. With that looming fact, there should be no surprise that white nationalists are coming out of the cracks to regain a sense of power. Other reasons for people becoming white nationalists can include a desire to feel significant, a need to blame their lack of success on another race, and of course, a sense of belonging among their white nationalist group members. These reasons seem to overlap with reasons why young men would join a gang, and to put it bluntly: white supremacist groups in America ARE gangs However, without the threat of police violence looming over them, gangs of white supremacists feel brave and emboldened enough to march our nation’s capitol with their faces exposed, and the names of their family business proudly emblazoned on their clothes. This boldness is what we, as American citizens, have to worry about. Members of white nationalist groups have a skewed view of the world, in which they are the biggest victims in society. With that mentality, we cannot be sure what they are capable of carrying out in order to give themselves a sense of significance and power. With hate crimes on the rise over the past decade, it is clear that more effort must be put forth to put a stop to the spread of white nationalism in the U.S.
- For more on the demography of right-wing extremists, visit this Institute for Family Studies webpage
- See Resources to Fight White Nationalist Groups During the Election Period and Beyond to see how you can help in the fight against white nationalism