What separates “white genocide” from other forms of genocide—aside from the fact that it’s not real—is that it involves no actual violence. White nationalists define “white genocide” as the “Great Replacement” of whites through a combination of low birth rates, miscegenation and mass immigration from non-white counties.
Real genocide is represented visually by haunting images of mass graves and skeletal prisoners inside concentration camps, whereas “white genocide” looks like a mixed-race couple in an Old Navy ad.
In 100 percent of genocides historically, the perpetrator has been a majority both in terms of numbers and power that uses overwhelming force to annihilate a much smaller minority. But the narrative of “white genocide” flips this on its head. When the alt-right calls an ad with a mixed-race couple “genocide,” they’re alleging that a tiny minority— i.e. the Jews—is carrying out a genocide on the white majority not with gas chambers but advertising.
So what does that say about white people? Every other race in the history of humankind has had to get genocided the old-fashioned way, but taking out white folks is as easy as casting a black Stormtrooper in a Star Wars movie?
At the core of the fascist worldview is the perverse pseudo-Darwinist belief that races and nations struggle against one another just as species do in nature. The strong survive while he weak go the way of the dodo.
All the other ostensibly lesser races had to be rounded up and slaughtered, but apparently the master race is dumb enough to just exterminate themselves—or at least that’s something that white nationalists imply is actually plausible.
Fascism is supposed to be about strength, but ironically they end up looking pretty weak. Boomer militias have to be armed to the teeth to confront an “invasion” of frightened asylum-seekers at the border. Members of Generation Identitaire tremble in fear at the prospect of Europe being “conquered” by a boat full of half-starved refugees.
Why did the Nazis build all those Panzers when apparently they could have taken the whole continent with just 20 Syrians in a rubber dinghy?
Even using the alt-right’s tortured definition of the word, “white genocide” isn’t happening. Unauthorized immigration peaked in the mid-2000s and has been on a steady decline ever since. Lower birthrates notwithstanding, the white population is still growing globally.
Whites have always been a (numerical) minority globally. It seems “white genocide” was well underway a century ago, at the height of Britain’s power. The white population of the British Empire was only 12.5 percent in 1901. If these trends continue ….
“White genocide” conspiracy has never been about a real existential threat to the white race. It’s a threat to white supremacy. But even fears about the loss of white power aren’t founded. White hegemony has proven to be particularly resilient in the face of demographic shifts.
While the proportion of non-Hispanic whites in the total population has dropped to around 66 percent, whites still have a tight grip on the levers of political and economic power. The most diverse national legislature in the history of the United States was still 80 percent white. In the private sector, 91 percent of the top CEOs at Fortune 500 companies are white.
The assumption is that in a democracy with one person one vote, demographic transition will necessarily result in a loss of white power, but through a combination of gerrymandering and voter suppression the political power of non-whites is broken. In fact, most of the states that have already become majority-minority voted Trump in the 2016 elections.
So if there’s no real threat that whites will go extinct and no threat to white political power, what’s this all about? Italian author Umberto Eco explored this contradiction in his 1995 essay Ur-Fascism. He wrote that followers of fascism must always be made to feel threatened by the overwhelming power and “ostentatious wealth” of their enemies while at the same time, they are reassured that they are strong enough to win in the end:
Thus, by a continuous shifting of rhetorical focus, the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak. Fascist governments are condemned to lose wars because they are constitutionally incapable of objectively evaluating the force of the enemy.
It’s likely that very few white nationalists actually believe in “white genocide.” If they did, it would contradict their fundamental view that the white race is superior. What “white genocide” conspiracy is really about is creating a pretext for a “preemptive” genocide.