- Counter-Currents Publishing - https://www.counter-currents.com -

Whiteness

[1]3,352 words

Translation: Finnish [2], Ukrainian [3]

An obvious line of attack against White Nationalism is the claim that the very concept of whiteness is problematic. I wish to deal with four such objections. First, the concept of whiteness is supposed to be politically unnecessary. Second, whiteness is alleged to be subversive of ethnic identity. Third, whiteness is said to be a social construct, not a real natural kind. Fourth, the viability of White Nationalism is said to depend on an airtight definition of whiteness, which is elusive. 

Is Whiteness Necessary?

A common misunderstanding or misrepresentation of White Nationalism is to claim that the very concept is meaningless, because white people are not interested in “white” nationalism. We are interested in American or French or German or Italian nationalism. On this account, German nationalism is for Germans and White Nationalism is for generic white people. But there are no generic white people, so White Nationalism is an ideology without a constituency, a concept without a referent.

But White Nationalism is not nationalism for generic white people. White Nationalism just means ethnonationalism for all specific white peoples. White Nationalists wish to preserve, restore, or create sovereign racially and ethnically homogeneous homelands for all white peoples who aspire to self-determination.

There really is no such thing as a generic white person. All white people belong to specific ethnic groups. Even in edge cases, where the children of couples from different ethnic groups are brought up with two cultures, and even two mother tongues, we are still talking about blends of specific ethnic groups.

What differentiates white ethnic groups? There are subracial differences among Europeans, and some nations have well-defined “typical” subracial types, for instance, typical Norwegians and Finns. But other nations encompass a range of subracial types, for instance England and Italy. In short, some white ethnic groups are more biologically homogeneous than others. Thus what is essential to differentiating white nations are their distinct languages, cultures, and histories. Religion can also create ethnic differences. Even peoples who are genetically very similar and speak the same language—the English and the Irish, or the Serbs, Bosnians, and Croats—can be deeply divided by religion.

It is often said that White Nationalism makes sense only in colonial melting pots like the United States and Canada, in which different European ethnic groups have blended together. This is untrue. The blending of Old-World nations did not produce generic white people. It produced new ethnic groups: Americans, Canadians, Quebecois, Australians, Afrikaners, etc. If Americans and Canadians were just generic white people, there would be no differences between them. But there are differences, and these differences are linguistic and cultural. Thus from a White Nationalist point of view, there is really no difference between European and colonial nations. We stand for the self-determination of all white nations, all over the world, not just in Europe.

Since there are no generic white people—at least outside Plato’s world of forms or wherever else one finds universals—why speak of “white” nationalism at all? Why not just speak of specific national groups and be done with it?

There are five compelling reasons why we cannot avoid talking about the white race.

First, let’s say we decide to avoid talk of whiteness and instead speak only of promoting the national interests of the French, Germans, Americans, Poles, etc., while studiously avoiding any discussion of such nations as Turkey, India, or China. One has to ask: what does the first list have in common, and why are the other countries left out? The answer to both questions is that we are concerned with white nations, as opposed to non-white ones. One might try to dodge this accusation of “racism” by speaking of “Western civilization” or “Christendom,” but not all European peoples are “Western,” and vast numbers of Christians are non-whites.

Basically, all attempts to avoid the word “white” are just euphemisms—ways of talking around sensitive topics, like sex or excrement, born from a fear of violating cultural taboos about polite speech. But people who can only speak of race in euphemisms are not yet ready for the struggle. It is noble to wish to save white people, but how can one muster the courage to save the white race if one can’t even bring oneself to utter the word “white”? In order to battle the forces promoting white genocide, we are going to have to be more than a bit impolite.

Second, if the only motive for white skittishness about speaking in terms of race is a cultural taboo against white “racism,” we need to understand the origins and functions of this taboo. All the other races can, of course, speak in terms of racial identity and interests. And to my knowledge, Black Nationalists who speak of black power and black interests are never met with the argument, “But Black Nationalism is meaningless, because there are no generic black people, just various black tribes and nations.” Furthermore, when non-whites—or self-loathing whites—lecture us about “white privilege” and recite endless litanies of white crimes, nobody ever says, “Your accusations are meaningless. There is no such thing as a generic white person.” It seems that whiteness is a completely unproblematic category when people wish to impute blame to us. It is only problematic when whites want to defend ourselves: when we wish to affirm our identity, take pride in our achievements, take stock of our interests, and take our own side in ethnic conflicts. This taboo against any self-assertive appeal to whiteness is blatantly unfair, and whites can only lose if we continue to honor it. Obviously, this taboo was devised to systematically disadvantage whites. Thus we would be fools to continue honoring it.

Third, even though there is more to being American or English or Swedish than simply being white, we still have to talk about whiteness, because the present political system insists that it is possible for people of all races to be American or English or Swedish. For a very long time, it went without saying that only white people could be part of any European nation. But multiculturalism and civic nationalism seek to divorce European national identities from whiteness.

Thus to save our nations—and through them our race as a whole—we have to talk explicitly about whiteness. We have to assert that being white is a necessary condition of belonging to any European national group, although of course we acknowledge that a shared language, culture, and history are also necessary. We must assert that non-whites can be members of white nations only by virtue of legal fictions. Not every white man is a Swede, but every Swede is a white man.

Fourth, simple ethnic nationalism is not always sufficient to ensure either narrow national or broader racial interests. It is perfectly natural, normal, and right for individuals and nations to take care of their own people first. And when multiethnic empires or multinational bodies like the European Union work against the ethnic interests of specific peoples, then the “petty” nationalism of Scotland or Hungary or Poland is entirely legitimate [4]. However, when petty ethnic nationalism or imperialism lead to wars between European nations, or prevent coordinated European responses to common threats, then a broader sense of pan-European racial solidarity becomes necessary to secure racial survival and flourishing.

Creating such solidarity is imperative. Thus we must emphasize all the things that Europeans have in common, and beyond all the differences of language, culture, and religion, the deepest root of European identity and solidarity is racial. All Europeans share common ancestors. We are one extended family.  In order to ensure our common destiny, we need to overcome silly taboos about acknowledging and drawing strength from our common racial origins.

Fifth, colonial societies from the start involved racial distinctions between European colonists and indigenous non-whites. In some cases, African slaves and South and East-Asian coolies were added to the mix. In such an environment, it is natural for whites not to see different nations and tribes (Aztec, Mayan), but simply different racial groupings (Indians, blacks, etc.), and it is equally natural for non-whites to see Europeans of different national origins simply as whites. Indeed, in the colonial context of racial polarization and struggle, when whites must present a unified front, the remnants of Old-World ethnic differences are actually harmful to white interests.

But now that Europe itself is being colonized by non-whites, the same process of racial polarization is taking place there as well. Blacks, Arabs, and South Asians in Europe do not see Frenchmen, Englishmen, and Germans. They simply see white men. And we simply see blacks and browns. Our differences do not matter to them, and their differences do not matter to us. As racial tensions increase in Europe, our people will realize that they are not being attacked as Frenchmen or Germans, but simply as white men. And when Europeans resist ethnic displacement, they will increasingly regard their race as their nation and their skin as their uniform. The sooner we see ourselves as white people, united by common enemies and challenges, sharing a common origin and a common destiny, the sooner we will be equal to the tasks facing us.

Is Whiteness Subversive?

The best critique of whiteness as a political category comes from Martin Heidegger. Heidegger was a supporter of German ethnic nationalism and thought that the National Socialist emphasis on racial whiteness subverted German ethnic interests. Heidegger understood that whiteness is a necessary condition of being German, but there is more to being German than just being white.

Heidegger believed that making whiteness a political concept, and subsuming Germans and other European peoples under it, laid the groundwork for the destruction of ethnic differences. For if we are all white, what would it matter if Germans decided to assimilate members of other European ethnic groups? Putting different ethnic groups under the broad biological genus “white” leads one to think that white people are equivalent and interchangeable. In biological terms, this fungibility means that whites of other nations are suitable breeding stock. And in cultural terms, fungible means assimilable: capable of losing one cultural identity and adopting another one. There’s also a dimension of pure power politics here. Why would Germans biologically and culturally assimilate Poles rather than vice-versa? Obviously, simply because Germans were politically dominant.

Furthermore, the Nazis were not just interested in assimilating other whites but specifically Nordic whites, regardless of their culture. A corollary of this is that the Nazis would not be particularly interested in perpetuating the bloodlines of genuine Germans who were not Nordic. This consideration certainly supports Heidegger’s critique, although there is no evidence that it occurred to him. But given that Heidegger himself was no Nordic Übermensch, it probably crossed his mind.

Heidegger’s argument makes a great deal of sense. One does not even ask questions like “Are Finns white?” or “Are Italians white?” unless one is thinking in terms of breeding with them or imposing one’s culture upon them. Such questions almost always arise in a colonial or imperial context. In a Europe of autonomous ethnostates, they would hardly arise at all, and only among the most rootless and cosmopolitan segments of society: academics, artists, businessmen, and the like who travel abroad and might fall in love with a foreign girl and wonder if she is “white enough” to bring back home. (One would hope that in European ethnostates, rootedness would be emphasized to those who aspire to political power.)

Fortunately, there are steps we can take to reduce the threat of European racial and cultural homogenization. We generally wouldn’t need to worry about whether other peoples are “white enough” if every people has a homeland, if immigration and intermarriage between white societies is kept to a minimum, and every person has a strong enough sense of his own ethnic identity to marry his own kind. These are all sensible policies to preserve the ethnic and subracial diversity of white peoples.

Just as I am an ethnonationalist on the condition that it is qualified by a broader white racial solidarity, I am also a White Nationalist on the condition that it preserves rather than undermines distinct white ethnic groups.

Is Whiteness a Social Construct?

White Nationalists are often met with the objection that race is merely a social construct, not a real biological category. In my essay, “Why Race is Not a Social Construct [5],” I argue that this claim is false. Basically, all social constructivist arguments ignore the distinction between races, which are objective biological facts, and thoughts about race—for example, racial taxonomies and scientific theories—which are socially constructed.

Here I wish to argue that whether the social construction of race is true or false, it does not pose an impediment to White Nationalism. It is simply irrelevant. We can still be White Nationalists even if race is a social construct. In fact, in some ways, it is easier.

First, one has to note that some of the very same people who treat the social construction of race as an objection to White Nationalism have absolutely no problem with advocating non-white identity politics. So if social constructivism undermines identity politics, perhaps our opponents should begin by abandoning their own. And if social constructivism is no impediment to non-white identity politics, it is no impediment to white identity politics either.

Second, White Nationalists think that identity is more than just a matter of race. Every Italian is a white man, but not every white man is Italian. Italian identity is a matter not just of common biological descent, but of a shared language, culture, and history, which are human constructs. These constructs are limited and shaped by our genetic heritage and objective historical events, but at the core of every culture are conventions which are free creations of the human imagination.

Social constructivists hold that if a group of people think of themselves as a nation, they are a nation. For White Nationalists, nationhood is largely a social construct, but not exclusively, since a nation also involves common descent. Nations do, of course, establish conventions for outsiders to become “naturalized” (a very revealing term), but there has always been a strong presumption in favor of making naturalization contingent on biological and cultural assimilability.

But for the sake of argument, let’s just grant the social constructivist thesis that identity is entirely conventional. That does nothing to stop a society from adopting the social convention that only white people can be members. If social boundaries are essentially arbitrary constructs, why not be ethnonationalists? For a social constructivist, nothing prevents a society from stipulating racial homogeneity. And since racial diversity—regardless of whether it is real or socially constructed—is a proven source of disunity and conflict, there are sound practical reasons to prefer homogeneity.

White Nationalists believe that our race is real. But mere race realism hardly matters if people don’t think of themselves in racial terms. White Nationalism is not just a scientific thesis. It is a political ideology. As such, it depends upon white consciousness, namely white self-consciousness. Indeed, white self-consciousness is the greater part of White Nationalism, for without it, whites are as politically inert as dogs or horses. Thus one of the primary activities of White Nationalists is raising white self-consciousness. Our people need to think that we are a distinct race, with a distinct identity and interests, which often conflict with the identity and interests of other races. And when such conflicts exist, whites must think it natural, normal, and right organize to protect our interests in the political realm.

The social constructivists wish to knock the biological prop from under White Nationalism. But removing race realism still leaves the greater part of White Nationalism, namely white racial consciousness, in place. And again, if social constructivism is true, there is nothing to stop White Nationalists from simply stipulating that we want racial and ethnic homogeneity.

The only thing that would stop us from enforcing such preferences is lack of political power. Thus if social constructivism is true, White Nationalists need not waste our breath convincing every last person that our societies should be homogeneous. As long as we can sufficiently raise white self-consciousness, pride, and self-assertiveness, we can attain the political and cultural power necessary to impose our preferences on the rest of society. Our enemies openly declare their intention to do the very same thing to us.

Do We Need a Definition of Whiteness?

White Nationalism does require an answer to the question: “Who are whites?” But it does not require an airtight definition of whiteness. There is an important distinction between a phenomenon and its definition. The white race is a phenomenon that exists in the real world. Our primary acquaintance with white people is sense perception. We know whites when we see them.

Definitions are attempts to verbally articulate the essential traits of what we see in sense perception, and since we can always perceive more than we can say, all definitions are inadequate. But the lack of a good definition does not imply that we don’t know who white people are, much less that white people don’t exist. It simply proves that when confronted with the richness of nature, words fail us again and again.

Most of us would be hard-pressed to give a verbal definition of cabbage that would allow us to distinguish it from lettuce. But can instantly tell them apart simply by looking at them. We always know more than we can say. Thus it is pure sophistry to argue that if we can’t offer an airtight definition of cabbage that we don’t know what cabbages are, or that they don’t even exist.

For the purposes of White Nationalism, white people are the aboriginal peoples of Europe and their unmixed descendants around the world. But inevitably White Nationalists are challenged to defend any such account of whiteness against certain edge cases.

Again, these questions don’t really matter in a world where all peoples have their own homelands. Jews might not be “white enough” for your taste, but they are all Jewish enough to live in Israel.

Of course, non-white nationalists are never met with the same challenge, and they wouldn’t be deterred if they were.

The underlying assumption of these objections that that if one cannot provide non-arbitrary rules for dealing with edge cases, then whiteness is a social construct, not a natural kind. But this is as absurd as arguing that, since there are shades on the color spectrum that straddle blue and green, pure instances of blue and green do not exist. There have been many different racial taxonomies [6], which divide up the races of the world in different ways. But none of these taxonomies fail to include a category for white people, because white people obviously exist.

But again, let’s just grant the social constructivists their point. If we embrace social constructionism, we are completely free to answer these questions with arbitrary rules of thumb. Social constructivists should be the last people to object to the idea of white nations being empowered to define their identities and determine who is in and who is out.

Finally, most demands to “define white” are offered in bad faith. The very people who claim that White Nationalism fails without an airtight definition of whiteness, have no problem singling us out when they wish to blame us for the world’s problems, discriminate against us in education and employment, or target us for genocide. So when one of these people asks you to define whiteness, smile and tell him that white people are the ones who are supposed to feel white guilt. But if whites are real enough to bear white guilt, we are real enough to build white nations.