OPINION: 2020 Census Data Bolsters Racist ‘Great Replacement’ Conspiracy Theory

Aug 17, 2021
6:22 PM

White nationalists walk into the entrance of Lee Park surrounded by counter-demonstrators in Charlottesville, Va., Saturday, August 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The latest U.S. Census data showing Hispanics less inclined to declare themselves as white is representative of a leap towards decolonizing how we think. That most Latinos are non-white and represent a more complex racial identity makes this a distinction worth noting.

Whiteness in Latin America is tied to Southern European Catholic Christo-fascism, making it a matter of contention for many in countless Latinx diasporas.

Whiteness in Northern America, however, is based on Northern and Northwestern European White Anglo-Saxon Protestantism, which looks down on Latin Americans regardless of our cultural connections.

It’s a controversial issue I’ve discussed at great length over the years.

Meanwhile, as the white majority in the U.S. showed a decline in population numbers, white supremacists are already using it to support the basis for much of their racist ideology: white genocide. As we face an increased existential threat of terrorism from those within our own borders, it’s worth taking a look at what inspires white rage and modern interpretations of white supremacy. The extinction of the so-called white race is the biggest driver of racism, colorism, and xenophobia in the United States and much of Europe, aka “Western society.”

“The existential question, however, thus remains: How does the West, America included, stop the flood tide of migrants before it alters forever the political and demographic character of our nations and our civilization?”—Pat Buchanan

In 1995, David Lane, a neo-Nazi domestic terrorist known for coining the Fourteen Words and who the Southern Poverty Law Center declared “one of the most important ideologues of contemporary white supremacy,” revived the white genocide theory while he was in prison. An idea that was prevalent in Nazi Germany in the early 20th century. Along with longtime Klan veteran Louis Beam’s ideas for a leaderless resistance, it was then that the conspiracy theory would become the most effective recruitment tool for modern-day white supremacist groups.

White extinction and white replacement theory were then bolstered by French author Renaud Camus in his 2010 book titled L’Abécédaire de l’in-nocence (“Abecedarium of no-harm”), followed by his 2011 book Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement). Camus’ books are an uncomplicated rejuvenation of theories from the late 19th century. He simply replaced the anti-Semitic rhetoric of old with a more modern approach using Islamophobia.

Perpetuating Hate

Prominent U.S. politicians have helped perpetuate outlandish lies and drive hate-based attacks across the country. Pat Buchanan, the former consultant to presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, is but one of many Republicans who have kept the old brand of racism alive. In a 2018 blog post, Buchanan said, “The existential question, however, thus remains: How does the West, America included, stop the flood tide of migrants before it alters forever the political and demographic character of our nations and our civilization?”

Buchanan, who worked alongside prominent conservative operative and godfather of the modern-day dog-whistle, Lee Atwater, coined the phrase “silent majority”—terminology we still hear today. In a 1972 memo, Buchanan suggested that the White House “should move to recapture the anti-Establishment tradition or theme in American politics.” Despite Nixon declaring that Buchanan was neither a racist, an anti-Semite, or bigot after his reelection in 1972, Buchanan wrote a letter to Nixon saying he should not “fritter away his present high support in the nation for an ill-advised governmental effort to forcibly integrate races.”

“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”—Fourteen Words

On the Laura Ingraham Show, Buchanan responded to Trump’s family separation policy by saying, “This is the great issue of our time. And, the real question is whether Europe has the will and the capacity, and America has the capacity to halt the invasion of the countries until they change the character—political, social, racial, ethnic character of the country entirely.”

What Buchanan and many other bigots do is pass down to newer generations the same hateful language that has existed in America for centuries.

In 1850, the newspaper American Patriot used similar rhetoric to Buchanan: “Already the enemies of our dearest institutions, like the foreign spies in the Trojan horse of old, are within our gates. They are disgorging themselves upon us, at the rate of Hundreds of Thousands Every Year! They aim at nothing short of conquest and supremacy over us.” At the time, many were pushing against immigration using the Catholic church as their scapegoat but, the same racist language still lives on today through various pundits and operatives.

Mainstreaming the Great Replacement

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who is watched by millions every night, has also pushed the great replacement conspiracy theory at length. Carlson serves as one of the latest arbiters of the key motivator behind white supremacy. Joining the ranks of former Klan leaders such as David Duke and the leaders of countless hate groups across the country. The United States as a society can no longer shrug it off arguing that we shouldn’t give them any attention. We have to lean into the problem and address it head-on with action, education, and unity.

The problem with ignoring the justifications for white supremacist ideology could be no more evident than what we’re facing today. Extremists leaders are more prominent and more visible than ever before. Recruitment for them is at all-time highs and has yet to show signs of slowing anytime soon.

The United States needs to come to terms with the fact that white supremacist ideology will never die until it’s addressed with full-throated retorts to the arbitrary thinking behind the motivating factors. Beginning with the centuries-old white extinction myth.

Potential Repercussions

When driven by hateful rhetoric, Americans saw for the first time how far people will go after witnessing the many attacks during Donald Trump’s presidency and his ensuing loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. Nearly every domestic terrorist attack in the last several years has been at the hands of white men declaring their loyalty to and admiration for Trump and his hateful rhetoric. They’re responding to what is often referred to as dog whistles.

A dog whistle is defined as a subtly aimed political message which is intended for —and can only be understood by— a particular group. Explaining the use of coded language and identifying it is a topic I’ve covered extensively for several years. It’s more important than ever to be aware of when such language is used in our proximity and especially by politicians vying for power. Every presidential candidate throughout history has successfully employed the use of dog whistles to appeal to racial anxieties, thus, helping ensure they capture the white vote. No other president in modern history used them the way Donald Trump does.

With xenophobic propaganda about Central American migrants bringing disease and crime to the U.S. at new highs, again, using centuries-old hate-driven rhetoric, along with the earthquake in Haiti and the fall of Afghanistan, anti-Brown hate seems ready to explode much as it did after 9/11. Many talking heads have started using anti-Muslim animus coupled with anti-Latino sentiments and it’s only a matter of time before they’re using “terrorists coming through the Southern border” again. Much like in 2001-2002, it will be a slogan to justify propping up with more funding vast unnecessary three-letter agencies put in place by the Bush administration.

Xenophobia has been a staple of white supremacy since the days of Benjamin Franklin when he and other founding fathers spoke out against the Germanization of Pennsylvania. They argued that Germans would not assimilate and that they would essentially dilute the white race saying, “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.”

Franklin even went so far as to define whiteness, “…the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians, and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are the Germans also, the Saxons only excepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth.” American white supremacy has since embraced many of the cultures Franklin spoke vehemently against. However, the targets of terrorism by modern-day racists will be based on skin color. Black and Brown people will be the targets as a result of the increase in anti-immigrant and hateful rhetoric.

We are already being inundated with nonstop xenophobia and it’s going unchallenged. Big media is focused on Afghanistan, among other pressing issues, but addressing the current wave of anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric is crucial. While some have pointed to individual instances, no one is focused on pushing back against what always seems like a coordinated and prepared narrative. Currently, bigots are spreading hate unabated. They’re partially funded by dark money but largely bankroll themselves through donations and merchandising. As I’ve stated many times, hate is big business.

White Immigrants Only

Trump made it okay to speak hateful vitriol out in the open. When he suggested immigrants from Haiti and Africa were from shithole countries while also declaring the U.S. should be getting more people from countries like Norway instead, he opened the door. Not for political pundits who have already been saying it, but for normal people with whom we interacted. Similarly, you won’t hear those same pundits ever discuss white illegal immigrants. Because what they’re really worried about is being wiped out by a perceived increase in Black immigrants and immigrants of color from the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.

White power structures lose their minds in situations like this. While not denying Trump’s racist remarks, White House spokesperson Raj Shah busted out this dog whistle to CNN saying Trump “is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.” Using yet another of the oldest xenophobic talking points and churning it out for the next generation.

“Why are we having people from shithole countries coming here… why do we need more Haitians? Take them out…” – Donald Trump (2018)

We don’t move forward in the United States largely because of bigoted beliefs that are passed down from generation to generation. Like Camus, the only thing that frequently changes is the perceived enemy. Whether it’s Latinos, Haitians, Africans, Muslims, or Jews, white supremacy pushes their views to the masses through various forms of media that are next to impossible to track. The notion that it’s in mainstream media and isn’t being countered with an aggressive response in a very public way and with public support is troubling, to say the least.

With warnings from the Department of Homeland Security, coupled with the information I have been tracking, it’s likely that sometime between now and mid-September we may see increased activity and possible attacks. The 2020 Census Data already had racists’ heads spinning. Now, with the earthquake in Haiti and the fall of Afghanistan, expect anti-immigrant rhetoric to ramp up because they think they’re going extinct.

Stay vigilant.


Arturo Domínquez is a first-generation Cuban American father of three young men, an anti-racist, journalist, and publisher of The Antagonist Magazine. If you’d like to learn more about the issues covered here, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also support his work here and here.