Saturday, December 31, 2016

What Is White Genocide?

Drexel University politics professor George Ciccariello-Maher has come under fire from right wing media outlets for tweeting an incendiary call for white genocide this Christmas.

To those uninitiated to the white nationalist underworld, any call for genocide would be reprehensible. However, the term "white genocide" has an insidious history as a propaganda tool.

Bob Whitaker

The phrase itself first gained currency in white nationalist spheres as part of a 221-word "mantra" (actually known as "The Mantra" among white nationalists) written by Robert Whitaker.

Most recently, Whitaker ran for vice president on the American Freedom Party ticket - a white nationalist party whose leadership ran racist and homophobic robocall campaigns for Donald Trump's primary and general election campaign.

Prior to his political candidacy, Whitaker has dedicated his time spreading his message of imminent white genocide to sell his books on Amazon. To do this, he has created an online army called Bob's Underground Graduate Seminar abbreviated B.U.G.S. that engage in what they refer to as "swarms."

In practice, this looks like passages from The Mantra such as "anti-racist is a code word for anti-white" on every manner of social media they can. As a result, passages from The Mantra and the concept of "white genocide" have been adopted by Aryan Nations protestors and the manifestoes of lone wolf mass murderers.


The Mantra itself begins with a declaration alluding to a form of racial geopolitics founded on outdated biology and national chauvinism that had its first manifestation in Hitler's National Socialist Germany.

In beginning The Mantra (in all caps) "Asia for the Asians, Africa for the Africans, white countries for everybody," Whitaker reiterates a common trope from eugenics scholarship as it survives today. Eugenicists, appealing to a story of racially exclusive evolution that has no basis either in history or reality, assert that the human populations of large geographical regions of the world (roughly Asia, Africa, and the Global North) are biologically and socially distinct.

In taking this approach, white nationalists justify an adversarial approach to race relations, insisting that races were created by segregated biological and cultural evolution which makes each incompatible with the others.

While a rudimentary understanding of evolutionary biology would make this story sound plausible, it has largely been debunked by genetic biology, historical record, and social science.

While humans do retain certain genetic markers that researchers have used to trace geographical human migration patterns, these genetic markers are largely inconsequential to the fundamental biological functions of humans. Further complicating the white nationalist racial story is that these genetic markers do not line up to what they describe as race, nor are they guaranteed to be inherited by virtue of having a particular family line.

Additionally, there has historically been a great degree of migration going back to the ancient world between the race-continents that white nationalists portray as evolutionarily distinct.


Until the end of the 19th century, the idea of racial or national preservation as a political concern was virtually non-existent. In fact, the idea of nations and races as even politically relevant did not begin to emerge until about the 17th century.

Whiteness as a concept did not become a concept until it was needed to justify the geopolitical realities of the African and Indian slave trade. Ultimately, the idea of whiteness was and, in large part, remains a convenient social fiction to justify the existing unequal distribution of material comfort and social power.

Where The Mantra bemoans European and North American countries being expected to take "third worlders" while others are not, it papers over the social reality of human migration.

On the one hand, mass migrations are largely the result of environmental and political catastrophes caused by economic, military, and diplomatic policies largely in the control of political power holders in North America and Western Europe. On the other hand, migrants are drawn to those same countries which are able to disproportionately maintain political and economic stability using international political systems allowing them to effectively export the instability required to maintain a global industrial system of production.

In a follow-up to his initial tweet wishing for white genocide, Ciccariello-Maher clarified that he firmly believed that enslaved Black people were morally justified when they massacred whites during the Haitian Revolution. This highlights what white nationalists refuse to: that there is a blatantly false equivocation in the "white genocide" story that wantonly ignores existing social and political power structures in order to justify their further entrenchment.