“It’s no longer OK to be an open racist and an anti-Semite,” she said. Instead, many members of these groups have adopted a claim popularized by, among other people, Robert Whitaker, an elderly segregationist from South Carolina, who in 2006 posted on his website a warning about “the third world pour[ing] into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.” The tract, known as The Mantra, helped promote the term “White Genocide,” which has since become a watchword among white supremacists for immigration and fertility trends that could lead to whites losing their majority status in U.S. and European populations in the coming decades. Beirich said it’s less that there is a coordinated global white-supremacist movement than that the rhetoric its adherents use has congealed around an issue that many “white countries” are perceived to be facing.
And that rhetoric is distinctly international in scope. Whitaker’s mantra suggests the existence of a double standard, in which whites are denied privileges that others enjoy—“ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY.” It claims that only whites are being forced to accept “multiculturalism.” A petition to the White House posted last month, calling on the Obama administration to “stop White Genocide in our country!”, encourages the president to turn to Liberia, of all places, for lessons on racial purity. It quotes approvingly from the Liberian constitution of 1986, which says that “in order to preserve, foster and maintain the positive Liberian culture, values and character, only persons who are Negro or of Negro descent shall qualify by birth or by naturalization to be citizens of Liberia.”
A group called the White Genocide Project, which drew notice earlier this year for posting billboards in Alabama displaying Mantra quotes such as “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White,” cites international law to establish the existence of white genocide, specifically Article II, subsection (c) of the United Nations Genocide Convention. The definition of genocide offered there includes “deliberately inflicting on the group”—which can be a “national, ethnical, racial or religious group”—“conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Under that definition, the White Genocide Project’s website states that a “combination of mass immigration (of different groups of people) plus forced assimilation would qualify as genocide.” The authors compare the trend to Han Chinese migration into Tibet—which Tibetans have complained dilutes their culture—with the only difference being that “White Genocide is taking place across many countries, and it is being done to the majority, rather than a minority.”
The manifesto attributed to Roof never invokes the phrase “white genocide” in connection with “the situation” in Europe that concerns the author, though it addresses many of the themes associated with the term. There is also a parallel, but distinct, narrative of “white genocide” surrounding Rhodesia, the former white-supremacist state that is now Zimbabwe, and South Africa. A widely circulated Facebook photo shows Roof wearing a jacket decorated with flags of those countries, in each of which a black majority brought an end to white-minority rule. The website registered in Roof’s name, where the manifesto appears, is lastrhodesian.com. Beirich told me that invoking the plight of the white minorities in those countries is “another sort of meme on the radical right that’s becoming very common,” offering a vision of the apocalyptic future that could befall whites who lose power.