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Session Submission Type: Roundtable
The political rise of Donald Trump has galvanized many elements of the US right, but none so much as the racist right. From the furthest reaches of Klan and neo-nazi groups to the capillary expanse of Reddit discussion boards has come the cry “white genocide” – a belief that the so-called white race lives under the threat of decimation less through outright violence than by affirmative action, immigration, multiculturalism, and cultural and sexual intermixing. Prior to Trump, it would have been easy to dismiss such language as the ranting of a tiny minority of hate groups. But given the influential figures in his administration, the high profile the racist right enjoys through large media networks, and the sharp increase in violence against people of color since 2015, we can see how fears of “white genocide” have fundamentally re-ordered basic elements of US politics. Anxieties around white safety have deep roots in US political culture, from captivity narratives to fears of slave revolt, from Theodore Roosevelt’s anti-immigrant warnings of “race suicide” to the building of the late twentieth century carceral state. Yet under Trump, such fears seem to have become raison d'état itself. Panelists on this roundtable will examine the notion of white genocide as it shapes contemporary politics – showing how the once marginal white supremacist “alt-right” has now helped set the terms of political rule more generally, from domestic repression to imperial violence, heteropatriarchy to economic inequality.