Author Of World's Most Notorious Racist Internet Comment Dead, Not From White Genocide
Oooh, di'! Guess who died? Bob Whitaker.
Who the hell is Bob Whitaker, you ask? You probably don't know his name, but if you have spent any time at all in internet comment sections over the last decade or so (at places other than Wonkette, as we do not allow comments), you have almost definitely read some version or another of his "mantra."
It's that one. You know the one. The one that starts out with "ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!" and ends with "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white." Sometimes it ends with "Diversity is a code-word for white genocide?" Yeah. That one. He wrote that.
Yes, it was written by a real guy, and now that guy is dead. He died in his sleep this past Saturday, June 3, from natural, non-"White Genocide"-related causes.
You probably assume he was some kind of fringe white supremacist guy -- right? Like just some dude from Stormfront, maybe the KKK? Well, you would be wrong. Bob Whitaker, ladies and gentlemen, was a former Reagan appointee to the Office of Personnel Management.
A far-right propagandist for more than a half-century, the former economics professor and Reagan appointee to the Office of Personnel Management was linked to radical, often racist, populist campaigns for most of his career. He once claimed to have had a swastika poster on his wall when he was young to protest desegregation. In fact, his advocacy of segregation and racist ideology seems rooted in his opposition to America’s early civil rights struggles.
According to Whitaker’s followers, he’s a former clandestine CIA agent and mercenary in Rhodesia who helped craft the propaganda message that ended the Soviet Union — claims for which there is no known historical record.
Although Whitaker had long been a propagandist for white supremacist causes, he didn't publish the "mantra" until 2006. Arguably, this "mantra" could, in many ways, be seen as the very genesis of the alt-right and the near-mainstreaming of white supremacist movements.
It was through this mantra, and his other propaganda, that Whitaker found a way to make White Nationalism seem reasonable to stupid people.
What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?
How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?
And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?
But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.
As stupid as this meme is, it has been incredibly toxic. It took things that most of us agreed on as common goods -- anti-racism and diversity -- and tried to make them into something ugly.
It is this kind of racism that has since since overtaken the old timey racism. It's gone from "White people should remain dominant" to "White people are being oppressed!" and "Why can these OTHER groups have things that we can't? How is that fair? And how am I a bad person for wanting these things, too?" It is this new strain that asks, "Why can black people have black pride and gay people have gay pride, but if I say I have WHITE PRIDE I'm a racist?" And sure! If you completely ignore the fact that things like "Black Pride" and "Gay Pride" are in fact a response to subjugation, that seems totally reasonable and fair.
The mantra itself and the idea of "White Genocide" created an incredibly successful and enticing narrative of victimhood for white people that was more appealing than "We should be in charge of stuff because we're better than everyone else." Not to say that doesn't still exist -- it sure as hell does -- but this sort of propaganda has been more effective and more far-reaching.
The generations following the Baby Boomers were largely the first to grow up in a world in which virulent racism was considered a "fringe" thing. Although obviously racism existed and was a problem, most of us considered it a given that Jim Crow laws were bad, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks were heroes, and that the kind of people who didn't believe those things existed primarily as freaks on the daytime talk show circuit. Because of this background, the best way to appeal to this group was by telling them that they were the new minority. That they were the ones being oppressed and discriminated against this time.
How do you turn people who have grown up learning that Martin Luther King was a hero into virulent racists? By telling them, "You're the new Martin Luther Kings, BUT FOR WHITE PEOPLE, who are now the oppressed ones."
This also happened to coincide with a new examination of racism as it exists now, and the consideration of things like white privilege. It was easier, for a lot of these people, to glom onto propaganda that portrayed them as the victims rather than as unwitting villains, to cling to an ethos that required no serious introspection, empathy for others or consideration for their feelings. Propaganda that told them "You are perfect just the way you are." And the best way to make people love you, always and forever, is to make them feel good about themselves.
The most successful forms of racism and discrimination have always relied on framing the perpetrators as victims or potential victims themselves. It's really hard to create an ethos just around "Hey, let's be assholes!" No one wants to be the bad guy, no one wants to see themselves as a "bad person." In the world Whitaker created for "victimized whites" -- we're "the real racists." They are not "racists," we are "anti-white."
Whitaker himself technically ran "against" Trump as the American Freedom Party's candidate for vice president in the 2016 election. However, I do believe that the "memeification" of his mantra over the course of ten years on right-wing websites is partly what set the stage for Trump's win. It's impossible to ignore this. You're not going to go to a pro-Trump forum or comment section, ever, without seeing the term "White Genocide" plastered all over the place. You're not going to see a right-wing website that is not filled with people echoing his ideas about race and immigration. Frankly, it's possibly the reason that Trump was able to make immigration the major issue it eventually became.
He is dead and I'm glad he's dead. Hopefully, his stupid meme will die too, eventually.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse