There are significant differences between white supremacy and white nationalism. Even some reporters, including from CNN and Fox News, seem to be confused between the two. These terms are being used sometimes interchangeably with regard to the many senseless massacres in the US, including the El Paso TX and Dayton OH massacres that happened the same weekend in August 2019. But white supremacy and white nationalism are not the same, and the distinctions are important.
First to review how dangerous life is in the United States, while El Paso started mourning its shooting victims, there was a separate gun massacre in Dayton, Ohio. On Saturday, August 3, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart store in El Paso. Twenty people were killed and 26 injured before police took a suspect into custody, a 21-year-old man from the Dallas area. The Texas murderer has posted a manifesto online that railed against an “invasion” of Latino migrants. Then on Sunday, August 4, “nine people were killed and at least 27 injured at a downtown nightlife area of Dayton, Ohio, before the gunman was fatally shot by responding police, according to Mayor Nan Whaley.“One of his first victims was his sister. Although his specific motivation wasn’t known, the killer “had expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting and showed an interest in violent ideology.” And he had been frightening people since at least High School, where he was suspending for going “to school with a list of female students he wanted to sexually assault,” and another time for a “hit list” he was maintaining. 6 of the 9 people murdered were black, but police haven’t decided on his motivation.
The El Paso massacre was racially motivated, and even in the LA Times article, some people call it white nationalism (including presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg). According to the LA Times article, Buttigieg, interviewed on “Fox News Sunday,” did not mention Trump by name, but said white nationalism “is condoned at the highest levels of our government.”
While the national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens planned to ask the FBI to “set up a task force to target white supremacist terrorists in the United States.”
Meanwhile, CNN reports that Fox News’ talk show host “Tucker Carlson wrongly tells his viewers the country’s white supremacy problem ‘is a hoax‘.” All of which is incorrect – it’s a white nationalism problem and it’s no hoax. The Dayton mayor said the mass murder in her city was number 250.
At a few events in Raleigh, Dr. Jeffrey Land explained some clear distinctions between white supremacy and white nationalism. He referred to an explanation/definition developed by Tzedek Lab. White supremacy is a system of institutions and ideologies established in Europe and exported around the globe to benefit white people on the backs of Black and Brown people. It was established 400 years ago to justify the colonization of continents, genocide and the enslavement of Africans.
White nationalism is a social movement that emerged after the Civil Rights movement. White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of nonwhites. Adherents of white nationalism believe that white identity should be the organizing principle of the countries that make up Western civilization.
ENDING non-white immigration, both legal and illegal, is an urgent priority for white nationalists seeking to preserve white, racial hegemony.
The explanation/definition continues, white nationalism is not a euphemism for white supremacists – white nationalists are white supremacists who want to go beyond white rule, to exclusion, expulsion, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.
Dr. Land added more differences between the two. “There is intense and virulent misogyny inside the white nationalist movement. By situating the origins of the modern permutation in the late 60’s and 70’s, one finds that the absolute terror brought on by the emerging strength of women, or womyn, was a central motif of American Aryan nationalism. They saw the feminist movement (Betty Friedan, et al) as a way that Jews were destroying the white family structure.”
According to the USA Today article on Carlson, “Saturday’s killings in El Paso marked the third known instance in which a shooter has posted a racist “manifesto” to the online message board 8chan. The two other instances were at New Zealand mosques and a California synagogue. “
Here are the working definitions describing and comparing “White Supremacy and White Nationalism.”
White nationalism is the one that encourages ‘lone wolf’ murderers, basically making it so the instigating organization escapes explicit blame. See something on the history of this at “There are No Lone Wolves,” Pacific Standard Magazine, 5/22/18. This article argues “By treating each mass shooting as an isolated tragedy, we are giving mass shooters—and the toxic communities they stem from—exactly what they want.”
The “No Lone Wolves” article also says, “Despite the overwhelming focus on gun control that follows each schoolyard massacre, it’s hard to ignore the veneer of grievance-driven misogyny underlying these tragedies. Indeed, America’s shooters (see: “incels”) share far too many characteristics with the white nationalists who have seen a resurgence in recent years: mostly male, mostly white, furious over their perceived socioeconomic displacement at the hands of women/African Americans/Jews/Muslims, and more than happy to share that rage on the digital commons of 4chan and Reddit under the guise of irony and “lulz.” Sexism and white supremacy go hand-in-hand, especially in the age of the so-called “alt-right.” “
Eric K. Ward sees anti-Semitism forming the core of White Nationalism, and he write about this in “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism,” 6/29/17, Political Research Associations.org.
Ward wrote, “From the time I documented my first White Nationalist rally in 1990 until today, the movement has made its way from the margins of American political life to its center, and I’ve moved from doing anti-racist organizing in small northwestern communities to fighting for inclusive democracy on a national level, as the Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice program officer at the Ford Foundation until recently, and now as a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Yet if I had to give a basic definition of the movement—something I’ve often been asked to do, formally and informally, by folks who’ve spent less time hanging out with Nazis than I have—my response today would not be much different than it was when I began to do this work nearly thirty years ago. American White Nationalism, which emerged in the wake of the 1960s civil rights struggle and descends from White Supremacism, is a revolutionary social movement committed to building a Whites-only nation, and anti-Semitism forms its theoretical core.”