White Nationalism out of the Closet: Increasing White Nationalism since 2008

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Benjamin A. Eich


Since 2008, the United States has experienced an expansion of, and, increasing aggression from White Nationalist, or Alt-Right members. From the volatile "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, where violent clashes culminated in one woman's death and dozens of injuries, to the murder of eleven Jewish individuals in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the events of the past two years make this rise especially evident. In fact, since 2008, a majority (71%) of fatalities caused by extremist ideology were affiliated with either the far right or White Nationalistic ideologies (Reitman, 2018). The White Nationalistic ideology has made its way onto the political scene as well, as politicians have openly associated with white nationalists and may identify as white nationalists themselves (Tenold, 2018). Although white nationalism, or white supremacy, has been around since before the Civil War, this sudden expansion is cause for concern. This essay will demonstrate that because of fear and anxiety due to immigration and rising minority groups, Right Wing Authoritarian attitudes and lack of quality contact with minority groups have attracted individuals to become White Nationalists. The Realistic Conflict Theory and having leaders in prominent political offices espousing their minority viewpoint help to explain the sudden explosion in both violent and political activity of the White Nationalist movement.


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