An in-depth discussion on how we are to refer to ourselves is vitally important because developing an understanding of our own label directly translates into a firm understanding of how we want to present ourselves to others going forward. At its essence, a label is a way of looking at how you want to frame your debate and express your views to others. Many people in our movement have used the terms “White Nationalism” and “White Identity” interchangeably. This is a very big mistake since there is a huge distinction between White Nationalism and White Identity.
White Nationalism is a revolutionary political view based on racial separation that advocates ethnonationalism for white people (people of European descent). A central tenet of this ideology is the establishment of a nation-state where citizenship is reserved to only those who meet the racial classification of being white – colloquially referred to as the “ethnostate.” In order for this proposed ethnostate to exist, it must somehow replace the current government of the United States. I have explored the insurmountable odds facing the establishment of an ethnostate via any type of armed struggle in The Putin Option and even the most optimistic White Nationalists will tell you that such a thing cannot be accomplished through elections. This means that White Nationalism is an ideology rooted in scenarios which even its most prominent supporters will begrudgingly acknowledge are virtually impossible in this modern age.
Another major problem with White Nationalism is that its usage makes people think of violent actions such as secession, domestic terrorism or, even worse, some type of ethnic cleansing. This might be an unfair impression, but this widespread perception cannot be denied. The reason Democrats smear Republicans as “White Nationalists” isn’t because Republicans are advocating for an ethnostate, but rather because the term is viewed negatively by a majority of the public and is synonymous with the equally disliked term, “White Supremacist.” Because of the reality of this public perception, I do not use this label to describe myself, and instead prefer White Identity.
While White Nationalism is similar to White Identity in that both involve white people acting collectively, White Identity is not a revolutionary ideology which seeks a complete reordering of our society and government. White Identity is simply the concept of white people collectively organizing for their self-interests. White Identity does not imply armed struggle, or the establishment of a new country, like White Nationalism does. White Identity is simply white people engaging in the same type of identity politics that are regularly employed by other racial groups.
The best example I can give to clarify the difference would be to use an example from the world of black identity politics. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated on behalf of black people, but expressly rejected any calls for violence or racial separation, which distinguished him from the more militant black activists of the 1960s. So under this comparison, White Nationalists are like Malcom X and White Identitarians are more along the lines of Martin Luther King Jr. We now know that King actually had closer ties with black militants than he publicly let on, but King and his handlers knew that a revolutionary public stance would turn off the people they were trying to persuade. Similarly, White Identitarians are aware of the importance of persuading the so-called “normies.”
White Identity is also more versatile than White Nationalism in that it can take on two forms; Explicit or Implicit.
Explicit White Identity acknowledges racial differences without espousing any type of vitriol or slurs towards non-whites. American Renaissance and Identity Evropa are examples of Explicit White Identity. These organizations openly admit that they are focused on the interests of white people, and engage in honest discussion on race free from the shackles of political correctness. There are great personal risks associated with openly identifying with Explicit White Identity. Leftwing attack groups like the SPLC and ADL will still label Explicit White Identitarians “Nazis,” just as they label White Nationalists. That’s why many of us who engage in Explicit White Identity will only do so from our anonymous online accounts.
Implicit White Identity, on the other hand, is when people advocate on behalf of whites without expressly stating their advocacy in racial terms. This is what liberal critics refer to as “dog whistles”. Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson and, yes, even President Donald Trump engage in this form of Implicit White Identity politics. These individuals focus on issues that are important to the majority of white people, but avoid explicit racial rhetoric. As a matter of fact, they even go out of their way to reject any type of White Identity label. This doesn’t mean that the SPLC and ADL won’t still call them “Nazis,” but the majority of people laugh off these accusations as unfounded, because the accusations of racism are plausibly deniable. Implicit White Identitarians are also able to reach a much larger audience due to their more discreet approach as opposed to Explicit White Identitarians, who are increasingly banned from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. So when it comes to real world activism and advocacy, Implicit White Identity is the path forward for the majority of the people in our movement.
The question for the reader is, what label appeals to you the most? One should not necessarily feel committed to one label because of past words or actions. A successful political movement adapts and changes tactics by figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Just because you might have openly identified as a White Nationalist in the past doesn’t mean you need to continue to do so in the future.
As I explained above, individuals who choose the Implicit White Identity path actually avoid ever identifying with this label. I’ve made the choice that my online anonymous account will be engaged in Explicit White Identity, but, in real life, I will stay within the realms of Implicit White Identity. You will now have to make that same decision for yourself. Before you decide which label and corresponding approach it is that you wish to embrace, you should review the examples I have provided and weigh their advantages against their shortcomings. Our window of opportunity is quickly narrowing and we don’t have any time to waste. Choose wisely.
-By Clayton Bishop