White marchers gather at Glenn Beck rally this summer. Were they driven by racial fears or patriotic sentiment?
They complained of voter intimidation at the
polls.(CNN) -- They marched on Washington
to reclaim civil rights.
They called for ethnic studies programs to
promote racial pride.
They are, some say, the new face of racial
oppression in this nation -- and their faces are white.
"We went from being a privileged group to
all of a sudden becoming whites, the new victims,'' says Charles Gallagher, a
sociologist at La Salle University in Pennsylvania who researches white racial
attitudes and was baffled to find that whites see themselves as a minority.
"You have this perception out there that
whites are no longer in control or the majority. Whites are the new minority
Call it racial jujitsu: A growing number of
white Americans are acting like a racially oppressed majority. They are
adopting the language and protest tactics of an embattled minority group,
scholars and commentators say.
They point to these signs of racial anxiety:
• A recent Public Religion Research Institute
poll found 44% of Americans surveyed identify discrimination against whites as
being just as big as bigotry aimed at blacks and other minorities. The poll
found 61% of those identifying with the Tea Party held that view, as did 56% of
Republicans and 57% of white evangelicals.
• More colleges are offering courses in
"Whiteness Studies" as white Americans cope with becoming what one
commentator calls a "dispossessed majority group."
• A Texas
group recently formed the "Former Majority Association for Equality"
to offer college scholarships to needy white men. Colby Bohannan, the group's
president, says white men don't have scholarship options available to
minorities. "White males are definitely not a majority" anymore, he
• U.S. Census Bureau projections that whites
will become a minority by 2050 are fueling fears that whiteness no longer
represents the norm. This fear has been compounded by the recent recession,
which hit whites hard.
• Fox talk-show host Glenn Beck led a march on Washington (attended primarily by white
people) to "restore honor," and once called President Obama a racist
with a "deep-seated hatred for white people and white culture." He
later said he regretted making that comment.• Conservative talk-show host Rush
Limbaugh argued in a radio show that Republicans are an "oppressed
minority" in need of a "civil rights movement" because its
members willingly sit in the "back of the bus" and "are afraid
of the fire hoses and the dogs."
• Conservative news outlets ran a number of
stories last summer highlighting an incident from the 2008 elections, in which
activists from the New Black Panther Party appeared to be intimidating voters
at a polling place. Those claims were never proven.
Mass rallies in Washington, voter intimidation at the polls,
creating ethnic studies programs at colleges to promote racial self-awareness
-- it sounds like a script from a civil rights documentary.
But not everyone buys that script. Mona Charen,
a conservative columnist for the National Review, challenges that view with
this question: If more white Americans feel like an embattled minority, why did
they elect President Barack Obama?
"Did they become racist after electing the
first black president?" she asks.
Charen says the United States today is
"incredibly tolerant and open."
Sure, she says, there are individuals who
nurture racial animosity, but most Americans deserve praise for looking past
The proof, she says, isn't just in the fact that
the nation elected its first black president. She cites the rise of more
"When I grew up, it was incredibly rare to
see interracial couples," she says. "People would turn their heads on
the streets. Now it's so common that no one notices it anymore."
When white is no longer the norm
The notion that many white Americans feel
anxious about their race is not new. Today, however, economic anxieties are
feeding those racial fears, says Tim Wise, author of "White Like Me."
Wise says the recession hit blue-collar, white
Americans hard, financially and psychologically.
Many white Americans have lived under the
assumption that if they worked hard, they would be rewarded. Now more white
Americans are sharing unemployment lines with "those people" -- black
and brown, Wise says.
"For the first time since the Great
Depression, white Americans have been confronted with a level of economic
insecurity that we're not used to," he says. "It's not so new for
black and brown folks, but for white folks, this is something we haven't seen
since the Depression."
Economic insecurity is what Colby Bohannan says
convinced him to form the "Former Majority Association for Equality."
The association is awarding $500 scholarships to five deserving white men
because they aren't eligible for scholarships reserved for women and
minorities, he says.
"Living in America, you hear about this
minority or that minority, but it's never been used in the same sense for
Caucasian Americans," Bohannan says. "There was no one for white
males until we came around."
Bohannan says the formation of his group was not
motivated by racism, nor will it accept donations from hate groups.
"We're not trying to promote racial
bigotry," Bohannan says. "All we're about is helping college students
trying to better their lives who happen to be white males."
Some white Americans not only feel ignored in
higher education; they feel excluded by popular culture.
The face of America is changing, says Wise, author
of "White Like Me." American culture has become so multicultural that
many of the nation's icons -- including celebrities, sports heroes, and other
leaders -- are people of color.
"The very definition of being an American
is going through a profound change," Wise says. "We can no longer
take it for granted that we (whites) are the dictionary definition of an
This racial unease is more pronounced among
older white Americans, who grew up in an era where America's icons were virtually all
white, Wise says.
"The idea that we're losing our country is
something that's not going to have a lot of resonance for someone under
30," Wise says. "These are white folks who don't remember the country
that their parents are talking about."
With white no longer the norm, more white
Americans are hitting the books to ask a question that few felt a need to ask
before: What does it mean to be white?
"Whiteness Studies" began popping up
in a few isolated academic institutions in the 1990s. Now such programs can be
found in places such as the University
of Wisconsin and the University of Utah.
These courses examine what whiteness has meant during different periods of
For many decades, white people saw themselves as
individuals, not as members of a race, says Matt Wray, a sociologist at TempleUniversity
who writes books about white studies.
"We are often offended if someone calls
attention to our race as shaping how we view the world," says Wray, author
of "Not Quite White." "We don't like to be pigeon-holed that
way. Non-white Americans are seldom afforded this luxury of seeing themselves
as individuals, disconnected from any race."
White only scholarship debate
Still, Wray says anxiety among whites over their
place in America
is nothing new. Some 19th century whites worried about slave revolts. During
segregation. some worried about blacks they labeled as "uppity
"Whites have never really felt terribly secure
in their majority status," he says. "It's often said that it is
lonely at the top, but it's also an anxious place to be, because you live in
constant fear of falling."
'Diversity is not strength'
Some white commentators are unapologetic about
this racial anxiety.
Peter Brimelow, author of "Alien Nation:
Common Sense About America's Immigration Disaster," asserts that much of
anxiety derives from living under a black president and changing demographics.
Diversity, he says, "is not strength."
Brimelow's website, VDARE.COM, has been
described as a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that
tracks extremist groups in the U.S.
Some may see him as extreme, but Brimelow argues
in his columns that more white Americans are moving toward his stance on
immigration and other issues.
He cites as proof the rise of the Tea Party
movement and the racial makeup of Beck's march on Washington. He says more whites recognize,
even if it's only on a subliminal level, that they have common interests to
"Of course, they would deny this, quite
sincerely, if you put it to them because the idea of whites defending their
interests as whites is quite new," he says. "Americans are trained to
think that any explicit defense of white interests is 'racist.' "
James Edwards, host of the "Political
Cesspool" radio show, isn't shy about naming those interests. He says
white Americans have become the "dispossessed majority" and that
coming demographic changes may turn the United States into a "Third-World
Edwards, who is considered a white nationalist
by the Southern Poverty Law Center, says whites must organize like other
"There is nothing wrong for Jewish
organizations to promote the self-interest of Jews or black organizations to
promote the interest of blacks," he says. "There is no organization
to stand up to advance the interests of the dispossessed majority."
Those white interests have been compromised by
what he sees as the "preferential treatment" blacks have received in
the job market to compensate for slavery, Edwards says.
"Whatever mistakes might have been made in
our pasts, they have not only been corrected, but they've been overcompensated
for," he says.
Now whites are victims of pervasive racism,
"They're the victims of it every day.
Anything a white conservative does that a liberal doesn't like is called
Both Brimelow and Edwards reject outright the
Southern Poverty Law Center's description of their organizations as extremist.
'It's not a race issue, it's a principle'
Ginger Howard is a white Southerner who doesn't
feel dispossessed. She attended Beck's rally last summer and described it as a
religious event, not a political one.
"It was such an amazing event to be with
such like-minded people," she says.
Beck says he held the rally to reclaim the civil
rights movement "from politics." He held the rally on the anniversary
of the 1963 March on Washington,
where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have Dream
Howard says she attended because she wanted to
raise money for U.S.
troops and protest against government dependency.
"It's not a race issue, it's a principle
issue," says Howard, owner of the Ginger Howard Selections clothing store
in Atlanta, Georgia.
Chris Plante, a conservative talk show host,
says white racial anxiety isn't a race issue but a smokescreen by leftists.
Plante says they yell racism to avoid talking about Obama's "unpopular
liberal expansion" of the federal government.
Plante, who says he grew up in a Chicago
home with a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. on the wall, attended both Beck's
rally and a follow-up rally by Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show.
Stewart and fellow Comedy Central host Stephen
Colbert held their "March to Keep Fear Alive" on the National Mall
two months after Beck's rally. Stewart said he held the rally for people tired
of the media portraying America
as a divided country.
"The Beck crowd was no more white than the
Jon Stewart rally, but nobody in the news media described the Stewart crowd as
overwhelmingly white," Plante says.
One prominent observer of American culture
suggests all Americans -- white, black and every other minority -- should be
concerned about the future.
Robert Putnam, author of the celebrated book,
"Bowling Alone," says his studies of multiracial neighborhoods in America suggest
that more diversity doesn't initially create more tolerance. It can erode
In his 2007 book, "E Pluribus Unum:
Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century," Putnam says his
studies of diverse communities show that in the short run, its members tend to
expect the worst, distrust neighbors and withdraw.
"Residents of all races tend to 'hunker
down,' '' Putnam writes. "Trust (even of one's own race) is lower,
altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer."
[As a resident of California, I can vouch for this "Hunker Down" personally. There are few neighbourhoods here like in other parts of the country. In this "Great Diverse State", people treat their homes like little islands, put up great high fences, and "defend" their island from all intruders. There are few block parties, and in the 40 years I lived here, and a dozen different residences, I have not seen one single Welcome Wagon - not one. - Dan]
Is this America's future?
Dueling mass rallies in Washington? Dueling complaints of racial
persecution? Dueling versions of ethnic history?
It doesn't have to be, says Gallagher, the La SalleUniversity sociologist.
Gallagher points out that the United States
has accommodated massive change before. Women were once thought too emotional
to vote, interracial couples were outlawed, blacks enslaved.
He says his children won't see race the same way
that he or other generations did. They won't see diversity as a weakness.
It'll just be a way of life.
"Like it or not, the country is going to
look more like it should -- more brown folks, more yellow folks, more gay
folks, more mixed folks," he says.
It's easy to be pessimistic, he says, but his
profession teaches him to look past the headlines.
you take the long view of human history, change is slow, but change
White America really
is waking up after all! This is extremely encouraging. However,
let's not be too optimistic.
just a beginning. The next step is to get more people to embrace National
Socialism. I'm sorry to say that the people in this story still believe
the system can be fixed.
Judeo-Capitalism, very little will improve for White America, no matter how many people
stand up for their race. They'll be labeled racists, extremists, and
haters by the liberals.
when these people see that their efforts to "fix" the system are
coming to naught, then perhaps they'll see the truth.
the type of people who are members of the above mentioned organizations are
EXACTLY the type of people we want for the ANP. They are just regular
hard working White folks who are getting tired of being pushed to the back of
the bus by the ever growing non-White population. They are not criminals,
or mental cases. Just plain folk.
them to some of the creatures who call themselves National Socialists today.
I don't have to name names because you know who I mean.
yourselves, given the proper direction, who has the better chance of bringing
about a National Socialist America?
Is it the ordinary hard working working and middle class Whites who are
described in this article, or some of the costumed weirdos running around in
faux WW II uniforms shouting racial slurs, burning Mexican flags, and making
general fools of themselves?
believes in bringing about a non-violent White Revolution through education,
activism, and politics. Do you think that's what the Hollyweird Nutzis
have in mind? No.
the profile of the regular, hard working White American best? Is it the
ANP, or these other groups? Anyone with half a brain knows the answer to
again to Comrade Raymond Bxxxxxxx for sending this story to me.