Flashback: A Review of ” The New White Nationalism in America: Its Challenge to Integration (2002)
Black Political Scientist Carol Swain has produced a very important work which not only examines the growth of the new white nationalist movement in America, but also its sources. Swain notes that in the last ten years or so, a new, non-violent type of white nationalism has been growing in America, one that seeks to win people over through logic and argumentation. These groups vary from moderate to radical, but underlying them all is the same message: America is being undermined by minorities and immigrants. Perhaps the most important of these groups is “American Renaissance” led by Jared Taylor. Taylor is highly educated as are most his followers. They are against multiculturalism and seek to change the demographic balance in the country.
But Swain’s examination of the various groups and their messages is only the beginning. She then examines the three main issues that are fueling the rise of these groups appeal to mainstream white Americans: Immigration, Crime, and Affirmative-Action. Swain argues that current immigration policy is not sensitive to local needs and a discussion on reform is needed. Unfortunately, no such discussion exists at this moment. Similarly, high black crime rates are a taboo subject which no mainstream politician will discuss, leaving the issue to be framed by the white nationalists who argue that blacks are criminal by nature. Again, the lack of an open discussion is the greatest problem in confronting this issue. Swain offers no solution on how to lower black crime, however. But the fact that she acknowledges black crime rates are indeed higher is a brave break from the past. The third major issue feeding the movement is affirmative action, seen by many whites as discrimination. More than any other issue, it contributes to the appeal of white nationalism. Swain makes a strong case for the elimination of race-based policies, in favor of class-based policies instead. Swain also delivers a scathing indictment of the black leadership, which she believes does not serve its communities interests. Since Swain herself is black, perhaps her words will have some resonance within the black community to reassess their leaders.
In sum, it seems that censorship is our greatest enemy. When we cannot talk about issues honestly and openly, those with radical agendas will take over since there is no other side to balance it out. At first glance, one might think of this book as a typical liberal attack on the radical right, simply denouncing them without offering solutions. Swain does no such thing. She is a conservative, one who understands that difference between the mainstream and radical right, and who offers us solutions on how to improve race relations for the future. Our efforts can no longer focus on minorities, but on all Americans, if we are to reach our ideal of a color-blind society.