When a Yale psychologist, Jennifer Richeson heard about the August 2008 report of the US Census Bureau, her immediate response was “This is probably freaking somebody out.” That report had predicted that by year 2050, there will be a seismic shift in American demographics when the population of minorities is expected to rise up to 54% and they would emerge the new majority while whites America becomes the minority. In the years to follow, Richeson and her group carried out series of experimental research in an attempt to elicit some reactions of what that meant to an average white person. What they found was unsettling but crucial to understanding the politics of Trump, Brexit and the resurgence of white nationalism all across the globe.
The research showed that when people hear about the rise of a particular group, they automatically fear it will imperil theirs. According to Richeson, making the U.S. racial shift salient increases racial bias. This leads to negative attitudes towards minorities, opposition to diversity, anxiety and feeling threatened, for the majority groups. The study of demographics on political attitudes also noted that whites who traditionally are independent voters tend to lean more conservative as they become increasingly aware of a dwindling white population. This observation has been noted for its impact on the future of American national politics.
Another famous social psychologist, H. Robert Outten, replicated identical findings in a similar study conducted in both the US and Canada. The fear of what a future shift in demographics would mean is making some in white communities lose sleep.
One other theory that had been suggested as fanning the ember of white nationalism is the fear and anger emanating from the concept of zero-sum game. The belief by some that whenever Blacks or any of the other racial minority groups are getting ahead, Whites must have something to give up. You bet that certain politicians seeking votes would ride on the wave of such false narrative by implicitly or explicitly stoking fear. The scumbags would not hesitate to lend their voices and give platform to the Alt-right movements whose agenda is the American version of the warped Aryan racial superiority reminiscent of Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Despite all the lies and half-truths however, it’s important to note that even the much referenced 2050 majority-minority census data may be missing a key salient aspect of the analysis which is that white people will still overwhelmingly be in the majority. It’s only by lumping every other race together into one category do they become the minority.
It has also been widely reported that even with the growing minority population, the hierarchy of race has been largely unchanged and so the perceived threat of minority domination is by far exaggerated. In other words, Whites in America and the world over would still be the dominant global power. Caucasians and Jews will continue to maintain positions that pull the levers of control over world politics and economics.
What is indeed a fact is that as other races continue to improve on themselves and get ahead both economically and politically, some of those powers will be shared. A multi-cultural society where all races and ethnic nationalities are upwardly mobile and peacefully co-exist as equals, is the imperative of an emerging new world. That I believe is the natural evolution of humankind and any attempt to suppress it in order to stick to the old order is akin to trying to halt a moving train. Without question, such would guarantee chaos and spell doom for humanity as evidenced by the recent surge in racial unrest all across America.
The widespread protest and racial tension arising from the George Floyd murder case and many others recently is a great pointer to the fact that the old system cannot be propped up for much longer. Many white Americans understand this so well and that explains the massive support for racial justice we have seen lately. Unfortunately, there still exist a sub-group, trapped in the old colonial mentality of Jim Crow who though in the minority are very loud to the point of drowning the sane voices of the silent majority.
Just recently, the President of the United States re-tweeted a message from a group that claims that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles exists that runs a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against him. Just to be clear, I am not in the least flabbergasted by any claim made by QAnon or whatever the morally depraved alt-right jokers are out to sell, but if anyone had told me before now that an American President could sit still in the hallowed grounds of the Oval Office and shamelessly peddle conspiracy theories capable of inciting bloody violence, I would ask him to quit watching horror movies.
We are is 2020 after all, a time when mentally unstable and morally depraved men who before now existed only in the fringes are taking the centre stage. But what should we expect when the group now believe they have a Grand Wizard in the White House as an ally! “Stand back and stand by”, he told Proud Boys. The reality of this moment is no doubt stranger than fiction.
In Trump’s America, disciples of white supremacy are so worried about losing their position in an emerging world of multi-ethnic diversity. They decided there is nothing to lose in taking the fight to the gutters as the only way to hang on to the last vestiges of their perceived power. Of course, they seek out allies from an army of dim-wits and deplorable, together with some witless religious bigots from Africa who are cheer-leading from across the Atlantic. This later group are easily sold on any agenda in so far as its clothed in religious garb. Today the American far-right has inundated the world with an avalanche of falsehood and conspiracy theories in pursuit of their ungodly agenda. For them, they play by no rules and truth is not allowed to get in the way. In their arsenal are massive propaganda tools deployed to misinform and obfuscate.
There is a popular saying that history often repeats itself and the world definitely had seen this movie before. The Nazi Party in its early years was quick to recognise the power of an effective propaganda tool and Hitler himself had this to say:
“Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favorable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favorable to its own side. The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble”. (Mein Kampf, chapter VI)
The Fuhrer hired Joseph Goebbels and established a Party newspaper known as Volkischer Beobachter, a widely circulated publication. Goebbels on his own, added another voice when in 1927, he started Der Angrif. Trump on the other hand has Breitbart, One America News Network, Mike Pence and QAnon.
The common enemy remains the same, namely: The Jews, LGBT and in America, Blacks, non-white immigrants and certain sub-cultures. Lately even fellow Whites viewed as non-conforming, the likes of Gretchen Whitmer, the current Governor of Michigan they planned to kidnap.
They attack ferociously and crush anything that gets in the way. They dismiss science, deny climate change and attempt to brand the Bill Gates of this world as anti-Christ with a global agenda. They throw innuendos and sling all kinds of mud, hoping that some would stick. The mental cripples that support them have no idea what is going on and happily chorus the attacks.
The world suffered incalculable loss under Hitler’s Germany and it required a World War II that lingered between 1939-1945 and resulted in the death of an estimated 70–85 million people to stop him on his track. Thankfully, history had taught us that no matter how long it takes, good will always triumph over evil.
•Dr. Agbo, a Public Affairs analyst is the coordinator of African Center for Transparency and Convener of Save Nigeria Project. Email: [email protected]