Reason for choosing this topic:
White supremacy has played a pivotal role in the history of American Politics. As America is an ever-increasing multicultural society, I think it’s important to look at how some members of the white race still believe they are superior and whether their views are still valued in society. This attitude of racial superiority is even embedded in the US constitution by the founding fathers wherein African slaves are referred to as ‘property’. After years of oppression, black Americans were granted emancipation during the civil war however through with the formation of the KKK and ‘Jim Crow’ Laws they were still discriminated against right up until the 1950s civil rights movement. The question I’m looking to answer is why white supremacy is still so prevalent in the modern and progressive 21st century which we live in.
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I think it’s important to look at America today and its extremely polarised political culture and the ever-expanding gap between conservatives and liberals. This gap has led to the rise of the alt. right; an extremist, white nationalist movement in America. The alt. right movement seemed to emerge with the 2015 candidacy of Donald Trump in the presidential election. I think it’s important to look in detail at how Tump’s extreme rhetoric and anti-immigration policies helped unite the alt-right movement.
As white supremacy is such a critical aspect of American political history, it will allow me to look at the broader issue. However, as there is so much information, I believe it is important to focus mainly on its recent resurgence and how these actions link to historical events. Looking at the more recent years of white supremacy will allow me to make presumptions for the future of this ideology’s influence in the United States.
Harcourt, B. (2019). How Trump Fuels the Fascist Right. [online] The New York Review of Books. Available at: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/11/29/how-trump-fuels-the-fascist-right/
My essay will look a Trump’s extreme rhetoric during his presidential campaign which re-exposed the world to the extreme far right movement in America. I therefore see the importance in examining Harcourt’s article which delves deep into Trump’s many hateful speeches which have enabled an upsurge of extremist white nationalists. Harcourt takes the interesting stance that Trump chooses his demeaning expressions skilfully and carefully with examples such as ‘rapists’ and ‘infest’. This article really stresses how Tump’s use of language and rhetoric are of upmost importance when discussing the formation of the likes of the ‘Rise Above Movement’ and the ‘Atomwaffen Division’.
Eckstrand, N. (2018). The Ugliness of Trolls: Comparing the Methodologies of the Alt-Right and the Ku Klux Klan. Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 10(3), pp.41-62. Online access via library.
In my essay, I will also look deeply into the similarities between the modern alt. right movement and previous white nationalist groups. Although the alt. right often disconnects itself from prior racist organisations, Eckstrand tries to show it is in fact driven by the same vision of society that drove groups like the Ku Klux Klan and Confederate States of America. I found his comparison of the KKK’s relationship with government and the idea that alt. right trolls aren’t being confronted by social media leaders to be fascinating. His arguments are very convincing and should give me a stronger understanding of the group’s similarities
Roberts, F. (2018). How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom. [online] American Civil Liberties Union. Available at: https://www.aclu.org/blog/racial-justice/race-and-criminal-justice/how-black-lives-matter-changed-way-americans-
In my essay I want to stress that racial inequality is a fundamental problem in America but it’s also important to address that recent years have seen the blossoming of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement which strives against racism and violence towards the black community. Roberts is a highly regarded political activist known for his involvement in this movement. In this article, Roberts celebrates the movement’s achievements and states that the ‘revolution is still happening’ even though many believe it’s in decline during Trump’s presidency. In my essay, I think it’s important to show the strength of this movement because even if it isn’t the top headline, black Americans face oppression by the state every single day and I think that Roberts addresses this argument effectively.
Heller, A. (2018). Breaking Down the Symbols: Reading The Events At Charlottesville Through A Postcolonial Lens. Southeastern Geographer, 58(1), pp.35-38. Available online via library.
In this essay, I believe it’s important to look at a modern example of white supremacy in action. In August 2017, neo-nazis and white supremacists gathered to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. I think it’s important to look at the Unite the Right rally in particular as it really epitomises the extreme polarisation between the far left and far right in America. Interestingly Heller looks at the event through a post-colonial lens and believes that the simple removal of a confederate statue is enough to make white nationalists feel vanquished by liberals. I have researched several scholar’s articles on Charlottesville but I found Heller’s article to be extremely informative yet he doesn’t force his opinion on the reader.
- Inwood, J. (2018). White supremacy, white counter-revolutionary politics, and the rise of Donald Trump. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 37(4), pp.579-596.
- Hill, C. (2016). Tattered Robes: The State of the Ku Klux Klan in the United States,. [ebook] New York City: Anti-Defamation League, pp.1-9. Available via hyperlink: https://www.adl.org/search?keys=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.adl.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fdocuments%2Fassets%2Fpdf%2Fcombatinghate%2Ftattered-robes-state-of-kkk-2016.pdf
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