An Examination of the Politics of White Identity


The projection of white people as having a collective set of interests at both national and global levels is a phenomenon which has taken greater shape in recent times. Fuelled by trends related to changes in demographics, increases in both legal and illegal immigration, as well as the entrenchment of the ideology of multiculturalism, the idea of white identity was sometimes explicitly, and other times subliminally at the forefront of the last United States presidential election and the British referendum on membership of the European Union. It has manifested itself in regard to the rise of nationalist political parties, pressure groups and media outlets in North America and Europe. The ‘alt-right’ is now a recognisable appellation alongside that of ‘white nationalism’ in everyday social and political discourse. The several decades long drift towards identity politics has arguably made the development of the politics associated with white identity as something of an inevitability. But the concept of white identity is not a straightforward one. Historically, it had a more constricted definition, one which on many levels is still relevant today. For instance, Brexit has been viewed by some as having not being solely a reaction against non-white immigration, but as having strong anti-Slav undertones. And many Russian commentators perceive anti-Russian sentiment in the on-going new ‘Cold War’ with the West as having a strongly racial subtext. There is also a persistent divergence among white nationalists about whether Jews fit into the coalition of this form of racial identity. But further than these matters lies the problem of whether a political movement based on the value of skin colour can ever form the basis of an objective worldview capable of solving the problems perceived to be the most pressing by its adherents...

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