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White genocide conspiracy theory

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Anti-immigrant protesters in Calais hold a banner in French reading "Diversity is a code word for white genocide," November 8, 2015

The white genocide conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory, generally associated with neo-Nazi, far-right, alt-right, identitarian and white nationalist, supremacist, and white separatist ideologies,[1][2][3] which contends that mass immigration, racial integration, miscegenation, low fertility rates, abortion, governmental land-confiscation from whites, organised violence[4] or eliminationism are being promoted in either predominantly white countries, or supposedly white-founded countries. The conspiracy theory contends these actions are to deliberately replace, remove, or liquidate white populations,[5] dismantle white collective power,[6] turn the countries minority-white, and hence cause white people to become extinct through forced assimilation[4] or violent genocide.[7][8][9][10]

White genocide is a myth based on false science, false history, and hatred.[11] There is no evidence that white people are dying out or that they will die out, or that anyone is trying to exterminate them as a race.[12][13] The purpose of the conspiracy theory is to scare white people[12] and justify a commitment to a white nationalist agenda[14] in support of increasingly successful calls to violence.[15]

The conspiracy theory began in 1925 and was more recently popularized by white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and convicted felon David Lane around 1995. The phrase "anti-racist is a code word for anti-white," coined by high-profile white nationalist Robert Whitaker, is commonly associated with the topic of white genocide.[16][17] It has appeared on billboards in the United States near Birmingham, Alabama[18] and Harrison, Arkansas.[19] Similar conspiracy theories were part of the discourse in Nazi Germany, as exemplified in a pamphlet written for the "Research Department for the Jewish question" of Walter Frank's "Reich Institute" with the title "Are the White Nations Dying? The Future of the White and the Colored Nations in the Light of Biological Statistics."[20]

The conspiracy theory has been expressed in Europe, North America, South Africa, Russia, and Australia. It has also been commonly used both interchangeably with,[21] and as a broader and more extreme version of, Renaud Camus's 2012 The Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which focuses on the white Christian population of France.[22][23] In August 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump was accused of endorsing the conspiracy theory in a foreign policy tweet instructing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South African "land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers,"[24][25][26] claiming that the "South African government is now seizing land from white farmers."[27] The often critical narrative derived from farm attacks, and land reform, is an established subset theme of the broader conspiracy theory,[6] portrayed in media as a form of gateway or proxy issue to "white genocide" within the wider context of the Western world.[28][27] The topic in relation to South Africa and Zimbabwe is also simply used interchangeably with the subject,[29] as well as being used by white nationalists as a parabolic concept, or cautionary tale,[30] to justify policies to retain or increase white majorities in nation-states, or otherwise maintain their vision of white supremacy.[5][27]

Origins and development

The conspiracy theory has its origins in early 20th-century eugenics theories popular in British colonies where it was feared that the majority non-white races would eventually supplant the white ones.[31] A 1925 book by Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi entitled Praktischer Idealismus (practical idealism) has been widely cited by proponents of the conspiracy theory throughout the 20th century.[32] It includes these passages:

The man of the future will be of mixed race. Today's races and classes will gradually disappear owing to the vanishing of space, time, and prejudice. The Eurasian-Negroid race of the future, similar in its appearance to the Ancient Egyptians, will replace the diversity of peoples with a diversity of individuals....

Instead of destroying European Jewry, Europe, against its own will, refined and educated this people into a future leader-nation through this artificial selection process. No wonder that this people, that escaped Ghetto-Prison, developed into a spiritual nobility of Europe. Therefore a gracious Providence provided Europe with a new race of nobility by the Grace of Spirit. This happened at the moment when Europe's feudal aristocracy became dilapidated, and thanks to Jewish emancipation.[33]

Neo-Nazis

David Lane

In its current form the explicit phrasing of "white genocide" first appeared sporadically in the American Nazi Party's White Power newspapar[34] and WAR[35] in the 1970s and 1980s, where it primarily referred to contraception and abortion. The conspiracy theory was developed by the neo-Nazi David Lane in his White Genocide Manifesto (c. 1995, origin of the later use of the term),[36][37][38][34] where he made the claim that the government policies of many Western countries had the intent of destroying white European culture and making white people an "extinct species."[39] Lane—a founding member of the organization The Order—criticized miscegenation, abortion, homosexuality, the legal repercussions against those who "resist genocide," and the "Zionist Occupation Government" that he said controls the United States and the other majority-white countries and which encourages "white genocide."[39]

Alt-right

In the first decade of the 21st century, the conspiracy theory spread beyond its explicit neo-Nazi and white nationalist origins, to be embraced by the newer alt-right movement.

Anders Behring Breivik's entitled manifesto makes frequent mention of an alleged ongoing genocide against white Europeans.[39]

Discussion threads on the white nationalist Internet forum Stormfront often center around the theme of white people being subjected to genocidal policies by their governments.[39] The concept has also been popularized by the alt-right and alt-lite movements in the United States.[40][41] The 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, referenced the conspiracy theory as tiki torch-wielding protestors yelled "You will not replace us!" and "Jews will not replace us!"

The notion of racial purity, homogeneity or "racial hygiene" is an underlying theme of the white genocide discourse and it has been used by people with neo-Nazi and white supremacist backgrounds.[42][43]

While individual iterations of the conspiracy theory vary on who is assigned blame, Jewish influence, people who hate whites,[42] and liberal political forces are commonly cited by white supremacists as being the main factors leading to a white genocide.[44][45][46][47] This view is held by prominent figures such as David Duke, who cites Jews and "liberal political ideals" as the main causes.[48][49] White nationalist Robert Whitaker, who coined the phrase "anti-racist is a code word for anti-white" in a widely circulated 2006 piece seeking to popularize the white genocide concept online, used "anti-White" to describe those he believed are responsible for the genocide of white people, and continued to view it as a Jewish conspiracy while emphasizing that others also supported the "anti-White" cause.[50][51][52][53][54][55][56] However, the view that Jews are responsible for a white genocide is contested by other white supremacist figures, such as Jared Taylor.[57]

Advocacy and spread

The conspiracy theory has continuously recurred among the far-right in a variety of forms, all centered around a core theme of white populations being replaced, removed, or simply killed.[5]

Australia

In March 2018, several Australian tabloids owned by the News Corporation ran articles alleging that South African whites were faced with genocide and which led the Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton to promise fast-track visas for any South African white wishing to emigrate to Australia.[58] Dutton is known for his anti-immigrant and anti-refugee stance, which led to questions about his willingness to accept South African whites into Australia as refugees, since he normally opposes Australia accepting refugees.[59] One News Corp columnist, Miranda Devine, wrote about the ties as she saw them between the Australian people and “our oppressed white, Christian, industrious, rugby and cricket-playing Commonwealth cousins" threatened by South African blacks whom she promised would integrate "seamlessly" into Australia as opposed to immigration from Third World countries.[60] Another Australian News Corporation columnist, Caroline Marcus, connected the alleged plight of South African whites to what she saw as a broader attack on whites across the world, writing "the truth is, there are versions of this anti-white, vengeance theme swirling in movements around the western world, from Black Lives Matter in the US to Invasion Day protests back home."[60] The British journalist Jason Wilson noted that the News Corporation run by the Australian media magnate Rupert Murdoch also owns Fox News, which has aired stories portraying South African whites as a persecuted minority, leading him to accuse the News Corporation of promoting this narrative around the world.[58]

Canada

Faith Goldy, a Canadian right-wing writer and commentator, has been described by GQ magazine as "one of Canada's most prominent propagandists" for the theory.[61] She has compared Canada's immigration policies to "white genocide."[62][63]

Gavin McInnes

Gavin McInnes, a Vice Media co-founder, Canadian writer, actor and comedian, is one of the main leaders of the far-right factions that believe in the conspiracy theory.[64] He has stated that white women having abortions and immigration is "leading to white genocide in the West."[65][66][64][67]

Stefan Molyneux, a Canadian podcaster and YouTuber, is a supporter of the theory.[68] He has devoted a video to the conspiracy theories about "White Genocide" in South Africa.[69]

Lauren Southern, a Canadian far-right internet personality and political activist, has promoted the white genocide conspiracy theory, using it as an argument against immigration.[70][71][72] She has advocated for European countries to refuse refugees from Africa and Asia, saying that immigration would lead to white genocide,[71] and has been labelled in media as a "booster" for the conspiracy at large.[4] In 2018, Southern produced a documentary called Farmlands about post-Apartheid farm violence in South Africa.[73] Sky News interviewed her regarding her documentary Farmlands, introduced as what Southern describes as the "white genocide of South Africa," the tagline of which was "Crisis. Oppression. Genocide?"[74]

France

Figures on the right of French politics, such as Renaud Camus, have claimed that a 'white genocide' or "Great Replacement" is occurring in France.[75] Camus's definition, which focuses largely on the white Christian population in France, has been used in media interchangably with white genocide,[76][21] and described as a narrower, less extreme and more nationally focused version of the broader conspiracy theory.[22][23] Despite his focus on the specific demographics of France, Camus also believes all Western countries are facing a form of "ethnic and civilizational substitution."[77]

White genocide was used as a slogan by anti-immigrant/refugee protesters in Calais during European migrant crisis.

Germany

The 2015 New Year's Eve attacks in Cologne resulted in accusations that the federal government and media were deliberately avoiding public interest reporting on 1,200 sexual assaults by thousands of young male Muslim immigrants. Apologies for hesitancy by public television channel ZDF strengthened claims of a Lügenpresse (lying press) by populist and far-right parties as evidence for widespread conspiracy by German institutions. The unprecedented scale of border crossings during 2015 and 2016 compelled Chancellor Angela Merkel to impose "temporary restrictions" on transit across the border with Austria. The alt-right conspiracy website Zero Hedge listed statistics on migrant crime in Germany alongside statements from politicians and news articles, presented as "contradictions confirming a deep-state level of conspiracy ... to push through a pro-immigration policy in Germany." During the 2017 German election campaign, the far-right Alternative for Germany party ran advertisements featuring a pregnant woman’s abdomen with the slogan, "New Germans? We'll make them ourselves."[32]

Hungary

Viktor Orbán

A state-sponsored campaign led by President Viktor Orbán has employed a wide range of historical anti-Semitic tropes to accuse philanthropist George Soros of engaging in conspiracies to support and deceive the public about nonwhite immigrants. Orbán has accused Soros, a Jew whose family survived hostile conditions during Hungary's Nazi occupation, of being a Nazi himself, and has introduced legislation known as the "Stop Soros law" to criminalize organized support of immigrants. These fabrications have become popular with the alt-right in Europe and the US.[32]

New Zealand

Brenton Tarrant, the March 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings suspect, explained in his manifesto that he carried out the attack to fight ongoing "white genocide" by foreign "invaders."[78] He had forwarded stories about white women's low fertility rates on his social media accounts. Photographs from his initial court appearance showed him making the "OK" symbol appropriated by white supremacists with his fingers.[79]

Poland

Hundreds of Polish Facebook groups such as "Stop White Genocide" have produced and disseminated images depicting African and Middle eastern people as belonging to separate "primitive" species, lacking the human intelligence of White Europeans. Websites such as "Conspiracy Files" have fabricated allegations of political compacts to bolster nonwhite immigration against popular will, such as agreements signed by EU leaders and African nations to increase Europe's African population to 300 million by 2068, making native Whites, "minorities within their own homeland."[32]

Russia

Much of the theory that South African whites are faced with the threat of "genocide" originates with internet rumors started by the government of Russia.[59] Vesti, a television channel owned by the Russian government, aired a segment in the summer of 2018 about Afrikaner farmers wanting to immigrate to Russia as "brothers in faith."[59] The present government in Russia led by Vladimir Putin often attacks the ideology of liberalism for putting the individual before the collective, and promotes "white genocide" stories both as a way of showing the failure of liberalism and to promote the thesis that group identities matter far more than individual identities.[59] The ideology of the Russian state is that the interests of the collective take precedence over the individual, and evidence of alleged failures of liberalism abroad are extensively covered by the Russian media.[59] The Australian historian Mark Edele stated:"There is definitely an attempt [by Russia] to support alt-right views and extreme right organisations outside of Russia...Russia supports groups that will undermine liberal views. That's the logic of sponsorship of alt-right groups by Russia...There is a longstanding anxiety among Russia's nationalists that Russians are dying out because of falling birth rates compared to non-Slavic peoples. It reverberates with white genocide fears"[59] The Canadian alt-right personality Lauren Southern had a sympathetic interview with the Russian Eurasianist thinker Aleksandr Dugin, who told her "liberalism denies the existence of any collective identities" and that "liberalism is based on the absence of any form of collective identity."[59] Dugin used the case of white South African farmers allegedly threatened with genocide as proof of the failure of liberalism, for putting the individual ahead of the collective.[59] After the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa was presented as the "rainbow nation" where henceforward people, regardless of their skin color, would be judged only as individuals. From the viewpoint of the Russian state, presenting liberalism in South Africa as a blood-soaked disaster is a way of discrediting liberalism in general.[59]

South Africa

Steve Hofmeyr

Far-right and alt-right figures, such as singer Steve Hofmeyr, have claimed that a "white genocide" is taking place in South Africa.[80] The South African singer, songwriter, political activist, actor and TV presenter supports and promotes the conspiracy theory.[22][81][82] The Conversation has credited Hofmeyr with popularizing the concept.[83] In January 2017, media reported that Hofmeyr was set to meet President-elect Donald Trump to discuss "white genocide" in South Africa.[84][85]

The manifesto of far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence devotes an entire section to an alleged "genocide" against Afrikaners. It also contains several other references to alleged persecution of whites in South Africa and the attacks on white farmers.[80] Mike Cernovich, an American alt-right commentator, has previously stated that "white genocide in South Africa is real."[86] The survivalist group the Suidlanders has claimed credit for publicizing the issue internationally.[87]

Africa Check, a fact-checking organisation, has rejected these claims as false: "In fact, whites are less likely to be murdered than any other race group." Africa Check reported that while whites account for nearly 9% of the South African population they represent just 1.8% of murder victims. Lizette Lancaster from the Institute for Security Studies has said that "Whites are far less likely to be murdered than their black or coloured counterparts."[88][89][90] British journalist Joe Walsh reported that the murder rates in the mainly white suburbs of Johannesburg were far lower than in the black townships of Johannesburg, leading him to conclude: "If there was any kind of genocide being carried out against white people in the country then the safest areas of the continent’s most dangerous city would not be predominately white."[91]

South African journalist Lynsey Chutel reported: "After a peak in 2001/2002, the number of farm attacks—rape, robbery and other forms of violent crime short of murder—has decreased to about half. Similarly, the number of murders on farms peaked in 1997/1998 at 153, but today that number is below 50."[91] Chutel stated that although some of the murders of white farmers may indeed be racially motivated, it should be noted that South Africa is a country with a high violent crime rate and white farmers are "isolated and believed to be wealthy."[92] In the period July 2017 to July 2018, 47 farmers of all races were killed in South Africa, down from 66 murdered between July 2016–July 2017.[93] The worst year for farm murders in South Africa was 1998, when 153 farmers were killed.[93] Between April 2016 and March 2017, there were a total of 19,016 murders in South Africa, suggesting that farmers are not especially likely to be killed in South Africa.[93] Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch has condemned the misuse of his groups' reports of the threat of polarization in South Africa to further the idea of "white genocide."[94]

Much of the white genocide claims in South Africa rest on a misrepresentation of the Afrikaner people as conforming to the popular Boer stereotype as hard-working, devoutly Calvinist, gun-loving farmers. In 1989, the British journalist Patrick Brogan noted that the Afrikaners once called themselves Boers (farmers) because that was what they were, but the term Boer fell out of use in the 20th century as most of the Afrikaners moved to urban areas, making the term Boer highly anachronistic.[95] Brogan concluded the popular Boer stereotype does not accurately describe the majority of the Afrikaners, whose way of life is very similar to that of middle class people in other Western nations.[95]

Even mainstream American conservatives who often championed the causes of Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa, seeing both regimes as having supposedly more enlightened policies towards black people than the policy of integration in the United States, embraced the variants of the white genocide theory as part of the defense of Rhodesia and South Africa.[96] In 2015, the Canadian journalist Jeet Heer wrote: "The idea that whites in America have a natural affinity with white colonialists in Africa did not spring from the neo-Nazi far-right, but rather the conservative movement that coalesced around National Review in the 1950s."[96] In 1957, the American journalist William F. Buckley wrote in The National Review in defense of white supremacy around the world: "The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is by no means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes’, and intends to assert its own."[96] The "choice" that Britain faced "between civilization and barbarism" in Kenya that Buckley was referring to was the Kenya Emergency where the Kikuyu Land and Freedom Army, better known as the Mau Mau, fought for independence, and in the process the British security forces killed approximately 10,000-20,000 Kikuyu to put down the rebellion. The Mau Mau were depicted in the 1950s as savages who killed white British settlers, which justified British atrocities against the Kikuyu, and by linking the U.S. civil rights movement with the Mau Mau, Buckley was suggesting that civil rights for African-Americans would led to atrocities against white Americans.[96]

Heer wrote that Buckley's equation of whiteness with "civilization" and blackness with "barbarism" led him to support racist regimes in both South Africa and Rhodesia, to paint the possibility of majority rule in both places in the darkest of colors, and his writings on the subject from the 1950s to the 1990s show a strong emotional identification with the whites of Rhodesia and South Africa.[96] Buckley and other American conservatives consistently portrayed apartheid era South Africa in a favorable light, and warned that majority rule would cause a disaster for whites.[97] On 23 April 1960 in the aftermath of the Sharpville massacre of March 1960, The National Review ran an editorial stating "the whites are entitled, we believe, to pre-eminence in South Africa."[97] Russell Kirk in a column in The National Review on 9 March 1965 warned that letting African-Americans vote in the United States "will work mischief—much injuring, rather than fulfilling, the responsible democracy for which Tocqueville hoped," but in the case of South Africa "this degradation of the democratic dogma, if applied, would bring anarchy and the collapse of civilization."[97] Kirk stated apartheid was just because South African whites were racially superior and "Bantu political domination would be domination by witch doctors (still numerous and powerful) and reckless demagogues."[97] On 13 April 1979, Buckley in a column gave an account of South African history very sympathetic to Afrikaner nationalists, suggesting that their concerns about black rule were rational and "their fears are understandable."[97] In an editorial on 14 March 1986, The National Review asked "To what extent, is the vast majority of South African blacks intellectually and practically prepared to assume the social, economic, and political leadership in a highly industrialized country?"[97] In the July 1988 edition of Commentary, David Roberts, Jr compared Nelson Mandela to Pol Pot and the African National Congress to the Khmer Rouge, implying that the ANC would exterminate South African whites if it came to power.[97] Shortly before his death in 2005 Samuel T. Francis, the former editor of the conservative Washington Times, warned about the possibility of a "white genocide" in South Africa.[96]      

Simon Roche, an Afrikaner nationalist from South Africa and a spokesman for the survivialist group, the Suidlanders, that exists in his words "to prepare a Protestant Christian South African Minority for a coming violent revolution," visited the United States in 2017 to promote the thesis that the white minority in South Africa is faced with the threat of genocide.[58] Roche stated he went to the United States to “raise awareness of and support for the Caucasian Christian conservative volk of South Africa...There’s a natural affinity with conservative white Americans.”[98] Another South African proponent of the genocide theory, Willem Petzer, appeared on a guest on Gavin McInnes's podcast, accusing African National Congress government in South Africa of planning genocide.[58] Another Afrikaner group, AfriForum, had its chief executive Kallie Kriel and deputy executive Ernst Roets, visit the United States in May 2018 seeking support from the Trump administration.[98] Roets met with U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, and according to him gave him a copy of his book, Kill the Boar, which claims the ANC government is behind the murders of Afrikaner farmers.[98]

United Kingdom

Anne Marie Waters

In 2015, the anti-Islamic For Britain party founder and leader Anne Marie Waters described White genocide as "part of a broad-ranging, virulent, and vicious hatred of white Western people."[32] In the same Breitbart News article, she claimed European leaders sought to extinguish Western culture.[99]

A few weeks before the 2016 Brexit referendum, an unemployed gardener murdered Member of Parliament Jo Cox because of her support of the European Union and work in support of immigrants, saying she was part of a left-wing conspiracy perpetuated by the mainstream media and a traitor to the White race.[32] A March 2016 survey ahead of the referendum found 41% of Britons thought their government was concealing the true number of immigrants.[32]

Katie Hopkins, an English media personality, has made a documentary supporting the conspiracy theory of an ongoing genocide against white farmers in South Africa.[100][101] She has also promoted the idea that both immigration and multiculturalism are intended to cause white genocide.[102] Yahoo! News reported that while traveling for the documentary, "her intention was to 'expose' the white genocide" happening to farmers in South Africa.[103][104]

United States

Starting with the 2016 US presidential election, there have been allegations that aspects of the conspiracy theory have been adopted as dog-whistling by some mainstream conservative political figures.

Iowa congressman Steve King has used rhetoric that Mother Jones and Paste Magazine writers described as invoking the conspiracy theory, saying that "We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else's babies" and using the phrase "cultural suicide."[105][106] Vox and The New Republic have described him as an adherent of the theory that immigration and other forms of population shift represent a slow genocide against white populations.[107][108]

In 2016, Donald Trump garnered controversy after retweeting Twitter user @WhiteGenocideTM,[109] and @EustaceFash, whose Twitter header image at the time also included the term "white genocide."[110] A 2016 analysis of his Twitter feed during the Republican presidential primaries showed that 62% of those that he chose to retweet in an average week followed multiple accounts which discussed the conspiracy theory, and 21% followed prominent white nationalists online.[111]

Tucker Carlson, an American conservative political commentator for Fox News, has been described as playing a key role in bringing the conspiracy theory of an ongoing "white genocide" in South Africa into the mainstream after a piece about the topic on his show caught the attention of president Donald Trump.[112][113][5][114] Vox described him as having "taken up the cause" of the "virulent, racist conspiracy theory" of white genocide.[30] Amanda Marcotte in Salon has said that while he avoids using the specific phrase "white genocide," but that "its basic premise is embedded throughout his show."[112] The SPLC has accused his website, The Daily Caller, of promoting the theory in relation to South African farm attacks.[115][5] Carlson asserted he was shocked his statements could be considered an appeal to white nationalists, dismissing questions about his show's high support among them as "stupid" and saying he knew nothing about them.[113]

Mike Cernovich, an American alt-right social media personality, writer, and conspiracy theorist, supports and promotes the conspiracy theory.[116][117][118] He has deleted several tweets referring to the concept, one stating that "diversity is a code word for white genocide."[119][120][121]

Ann Coulter, an American conservative social, writer and political commentator, has been described as a "champion" of the ideas behind the conspiracy theory following a book she wrote on the subject.[122] She has also claimed that "a genocide" is occurring against white South African farmers.[123] She described non-white immigration to the United States as "white genocide" in a 2007 article called "Bush's America: Roach Motel."[124][125][126] Vox has described Coulter as one of many providing a platform for "the 'white genocide' myth."[107]

David Duke

David Duke, an American white supremacist, former Republican Louisiana State Representative and Grand Wizard of the KKK has posted Youtube videos stating that Jews are "organizing white genocide."[127][128][129][130][131] Duke has also accused Anthony Bourdain of wanting a genocide of white people.[132][133]

Alex Jones has been described as instrumental in the American spread of conspiracy theories about white genocide in Africa.[134][135]

Jason Kessler, the primary organizer behind the Unite the Right rally and an American white nationalist blogger, has repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theory, using his website to criticize what he called "white genocide" and an "attack on white history."[136][137][138]

Michael Savage, an American radio host, author and conservative political commentator, has devoted an episode of his show to conspiracy theories about white genocide in Africa.[5]

Jack Posobiec, a leading figure in the alt-right former U.S. naval intelligence officer, and Trump activist, has frequently tweeted about the concept.[139]

Donald Trump Jr., an American businessman, executive director of the Trump Organization and the eldest child of U.S. President Donald Trump, has been accused by mainstream media of being an advocate of the conspiracy theory,[140] or pretending to be an advocate for political gain,[141] after his interview with white supremacist James Edwards during the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.[142]

Robert Bowers, sole suspect charged in the October 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, stated, "They're committing genocide to my people," in a police complaint.[143][144] On his Gab account (a favored social network for white nationalists) he wrote, "Daily Reminder: Diversity means chasing down the last white person" and "HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I'm going in."[145]

On August 23, 2018, US President Donald Trump brought the concept of "white genocide" in relation to South Africa significantly further into mainstream media discourse, after he publicly instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South African farm attacks,[25] an instruction which was broadly portrayed in media as the Trump and his administration advocating for an unfounded conspiracy theory.[29][146][147][148] Trump had apparently gotten his information from a Tucker Carlson segment on Fox News.[149] New York magazine had claimed Trump was attempting to "change the conversation – to one about 'white genocide' in South Africa";[27] Esquire reported that the "President of the United States is now openly promoting an international racist conspiracy theory as the official foreign policy of the United States."[150] According to the SPLC, Trump had "tweeted out his intention to put the full force of the U.S. State Department behind a white nationalist conspiracy theory."[151]

Causing "angry reaction in South Africa," many politicians and public figures responded critically to Trump. These included multiple members of the South African Parliament and RSA Deputy President David Mabuza. Julius Malema MP responded to the US President directly, declaring "there is no white genocide in South Africa,"[152] that US President's intervention into their ongoing land reform issues "only made them more determined ... to expropriate our land without compensation,"[153][154] and that there is a black genocide in the U.S.[153] Jeremy Cronin MP stated that the South African government needed to "send a signal to the courts‚ to Trump‚ to Fox News Agency" over the issue,[155] whereas Lindiwe Sisulu claimed that his foreign policy tweet was "regrettable" and "based on false information."[120]

In the U.S., former US Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard, and American media personalities Chris Cuomo and Al Sharpton spoke out against the US President on the issue. Gaspard labelled Trump's actions as "dangerous and poisoned,"[26] while Cuomo stated that Trump was bogusly claiming "white farmers" were "being hunted down and killed and having their land stolen."[156]

Zimbabwe

White supremacists are described as being obsessed with the treatment of the formerly dominant white minorities in Zimbabwe and South Africa by the black majorities where "the diminished stature of whites is presented as an ongoing genocide that must be fought."[157] In particular, the story of Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was formerly known, which was ruled by a white supremacist government until 1980 holds a particular fascination for white supremacists.[157] Zimbabwe's disastrous economic collapse under the leadership of its first black president, Robert Mugabe, together with the Mugabe government's policies towards the white minority has been cited by white supremacists as evidence of both the inferiority of blacks and a case of genocide against whites.[157] In alt-right and white supremacist groups, there is much nostalgia for Rhodesia, which is seen as a state that fought valiantly for white supremacy in Africa in the 1960-1970s until it was betrayed.[98]

Criticism

White genocide is a myth based on false science, false history, and hatred.[11] There is no evidence that white people are dying out or will die out, or that anyone is trying to kill them as a race or ethnicity.[11][12][13] White supremacists claim that ethnic diversity is equivalent to white genocide.[13] White supremacists fabricate paranoid claims that their survival as a race is threatened, for example by, "individualism, celibacy, feminism and other forms of sex-role confusion, misplaced environmentalism, and white demonization and guilt," all of which are described as promoting reproductive failure.[158]

Timothy McVeigh

The purpose of the white genocide conspiracy theory is to scare white people in countries that are diversifying and justify a commitment to a white nationalist agenda,[12] using evidence of a declining birth rate in support of their extremist views and calls to violence.[159] White supremacists are successfully constructing false narratives of genocide to incite violence at an increasing rate.[15] Literature propounding the white genocide conspiracy theory has incited violence; The Turner Diaries, for instance, is responsible for inciting many violent crimes, including those of Timothy McVeigh.[12] The US Republican Party as led by Donald Trump has repeatedly and openly courted white supremacists and endorsed the falsehoods they promote, including those of white genocide.[14]

Critics of the conspiracy theory include:

  • Derek Black, an American former white supremacist and godson of David Duke, after initially supporting and helping to popularize the concept,[160][161] has renounced and opposed the white genocide conspiracy theory.[162] Black has claimed that the concept was about pushing white nationalists into a false and overt paranoia about demographics of the United States.[6]
  • Mika Brzezinski, an American newscaster, author and co-host of Morning Joe, has spoken out against the concept,[163] labelling it as a "a racist conspiracy theory."[164]
  • George Ciccariello-Maher, an American political scientist and former associate professor of politics and global studies at Drexel University, has strongly opposed the conspiracy theory, claiming that it is "invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from inter-racial relationships to multicultural policies."[165] Ciccariello-Maher has labelled the concept as a "figment of the racist imagination" and claimed that "it should be mocked."[166]
  • Jeremy Cronin, a South African writer, politician, member of the South African Communist Party and current Deputy Minister of Public Works, has spoken against the conspiracy theory. In a committee meeting in the South African parliament, he indicated that land expropriation without compensation should not be viewed as a white genocide.[155]
  • Chris Cuomo, an American television journalist, has spoken in opposition to the concept. While stating that "like all conspiracy tripe, there's a kernel of truth" to the theory, in relation to land reform in South Africa, he generally describes the conspiracy theory as a "bogus cause that white nationalists are selling."[167][156]
  • Patrick Gaspard, a Congolese-American politician and former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, has opposed the concept, claiming the conspiracy theory is "trafficking in a white supremacist story line,"[168] and that it is a "white-supremacist meme from the darkest place."[26]
  • David Mabuza, a South African politician and Deputy President of South Africa, has spoken in opposition to the conspiracy theory, calling it "far from the truth." He stated that "we would like to discourage those who are using this sensitive and emotive issue of land to divide us as South Africans by distorting our land reform measures to the international community and spreading falsehoods that our ‘white farmers’ are facing the onslaught from their own government."[26]
  • Eli Saslow, an American journalist, has spoken against the conspiracy theory, labelling it as a "really effective" form of propaganda or indoctrination. He stated that "unfortunately, in part because it's built upon a very real and dark truth in American history — which is that white supremacy has always been a big part of what this country is — white nationalists were able to start capitalizing on that."[169] Saslow has claimed the conspiracy theory is a way to "sanitize" white America's history of racism and violence, by focusing on the "ways that white people are under attack in this country," including "white genocide" and "building a wall."[161]
  • Al Sharpton, an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister and talk show host, has opposed the conspiracy theory, labelling it as "neo-Nazi propaganda." Discussing the issue on an MSNBC segment with Katy Tur and foreign correspondent Greg Myre, he stated that it's "not true" that "white farmers are being killed in South Africa" for racial reasons.[170][171]
  • Lindiwe Sisulu, a South African politician, member of parliament, and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, has spoken out against the conspiracy theory, saying "it is a right-wing ideology, and it is very unfortunate."[172] Speaking of President Trump's promotion of the topic, she claimed his foreign policy tweet was "regrettable" and "based on false information."[120]
  • Tim Wise, an American anti-racism activist and writer, has spoken out against the conspiracy theory, stating that it is a form of negrophobia that is being directed politically to "scare white Americans" about non-whites within the U.S.[173] Wise has claimed that paranoia around the concept dates back to the Haitian Revolution and North American slave rebellions, but that changing demographics of the United States have heightened existing anxiety, stating that "the reason it is amplified today is that in the recent past the cultural norm of the country was still dominantly white."[174]

See also

References

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