Carol Swain’s provocative and well-researched book is “about the growing threats to peaceful and harmonious race relations in America and the best ways of dealing with them.” It is organized into four parts. Part 1 consists of material about the “new white nationalists” and their core beliefs. Part 2 considers affirmative action policies and the ways that white nationalists exploit those policies to attract additional followers. Part 3 examines recent cultural and economic changes that have contributed to the appeal of white extremist groups. Finally, in part 4 Swain recommends a variety of public policies that should provide assistance to disadvantaged minorities without discriminating against whites and Asians.
White nationalists are not just conservatives who distrust activist government and oppose racial preferences. Rather, these people usually reject the notion of racial integration, believe that the ideal of a peaceful multiracial society is an impossible dream, and advocate “white solidarity” and “white consciousness.” They assert that the Caucasian race is biologically superior to others and that the United States should seek to attain the racial composition that existed before the 1970’s. Swain argues that “new” white nationalists pose “a much greater threat to racial harmony in America than most people currently realize.” In contrast to the earlier “skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members,” many leaders of the new movement “are better educated, more articulate, and in many ways more appealing as human beings.”
In doing the research for the book, Swain’s white colleague conducted tape-recorded telephone interviews with major leaders of the white nationalist movement, including David Duke, Jared Taylor, William Pierce, Matthew Hale, and many others. Swain also examined the movement’s various publications and its many Internet sites. In addition, she supplemented her original research with recent works of several journalists and sociologists, such as Jeffrey Kaplan and Leonard Weinberg’s The Emergence of a Euro-American Radical Right (1999) and Betty Dobratz and Stephanie Shanks-Meile’s “White Power, White Pride!”: The White Separatist Movement in the United States (1997).
Swain includes a fascinating and rather frightening description of the extremists of the movement. One of these leaders, the late William Pierce, was a neo-Nazi whose infamous novels, The Turner Diaries and The Hunter (1987), glorified imaginary white racists killing interracial couples as part of a race war. When asked if he would endorse these actions in real life, Pierce answered that he would if he thought they would be effective. He added: “But I’ve never advocated violence or, in fact, any kind of illegal activity, because I don’t think it would be productive. I think it would be counterproductive at this time.” Matthew Hale, another outspoken extremist, described his World Church of the Creator as a non-Christian racial organization “dedicated to the survival, expansion, and advancement of the white race and the white race alone.” In his view, whites are a separate species endangered by “the mud races of the world.” While WOTC leaders sometimes pay lip service to nonviolent intentions, Swain observes that they use incendiary language and frequently speak favorably of German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and refer to RAHOWA (an acronym for a “racial holy war”).
Swain argues that the threat posed by these extremists is actually not as great as that of the relatively moderate white nationalists “who subtly appeal to a more mainstream audience.” Among these, Jared Taylor is perhaps the leading intellectual spokesman. While eschewing violence except for self- defense, Taylor predicts that multiculturalism will inevitably result in racial conflict, emphasizes his fears of African American criminality, and accuses the government and the mainstream media of discriminating against white Americans. Likewise, Dan Gayman claimed that his Church of Israel did not hate nonwhite groups, but that he simply opposed interracial mixing and marriage in order to preserve “the original creation design that God intended for each race.” Jewish academics Michael Levin and Michael Hart are also discussed among the moderates, although Hart proposes the extremely radical idea of dividing the United States into four ethnic states.
During the 1990’s, there was a...
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