Fox News’ Tucker Carlson set off a major controversy earlier this week when he made the ridiculous claim that white supremacy is merely a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory” — an assertion he made only days after an August 3 terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas that left 22 people dead. According to police, the fact that most of the victims had Hispanic names was no coincidence: the suspect, in a manifesto published online before the attack, made it clear that he specifically targeted Latinos in order to fight what he saw as an “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” The attack was hardly an isolated incident but rather, was among the many terrorist attacks that white supremacists and white nationalists have carried out in the Trump era.
Far from being the “hoax” or “conspiracy theory” that Carlson believes it is, white supremacy and white nationalism are a terrorist movement often motivated by the Replacement Theory — which claims that white Anglo Saxons around the world are under attack from blacks, Latinos and others who seek to “replace” them. White supremacists and white nationalists have a long list of groups they view as their enemy, and not unlike ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria), al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and other violent Islamists who claim that they are defending Islam — never mind the fact that they have murdered and terrorized countless Muslims — they view acts of terrorism as acts of self-defense.
Here are some groups that white supremacists and white nationalists have targeted for terrorist attacks in the Trump era.
To countless African-Americans who are having a hard time keeping up with their bills despite working two or three jobs and putting in 50 or 60 hours a week, the notion of “black privilege” that white nationalists promote is beyond ridiculous. But perception can become reality to extremists, and in the minds of white nationalists, African-Americans have had it too good for too long. Terrorist attacks against African-Americans certainly didn’t start in the Trump era: the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), recently described by the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman as “a terrorist organization if ever there was one,” goes back to 1865. But in recent years, terrorist attacks aimed at African-Americans have had a resurgence.
In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama made history by becoming the United States’ first African-American president. Having a two-term black president was deeply disturbing to racists, who responded violently. On June 17, 2015, when Obama was serving his second term, white supremacist Dylann Roof murdered nine African-Americans at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. And other attacks followed in the Trump era. On March 20, 2017, white racist James Harris Jackson randomly murdered Timothy Caughman (a 66-year-old black man) in Manhattan as “practice” for future killings he had in mind. And in October 2018, a white nationalist randomly murdered two older African-Americans at a Kroger grocery store in Louisville, Kentucky (Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones) simply because they were black.
White nationalists are big on symbolism, not unlike violent Islamists. Al-Qaeda viewed the World Trade Center as symbolic of the Americanism they hated; to Roof, similarly, Mother Emanuel symbolized black oppression of whites — and when the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh was targeted for a white nationalist terrorist attack on October 27, 2018, symbolism was very much at work. Eleven people were killed, and the suspect, according to police, believed he was fighting Jewish efforts to “replace” white Christians. Before that, during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, white nationalists were chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”
The El Paso terrorist shooting of August 3, 2019 was by far the deadliest anti-Latino attack of the Trump era, but it wasn’t the first time Latinos were singled out for hate. In late July, a mass shooting occurred at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California; police said the white attacker had cited a white supremacist text and complained about “hordes of mestizos” being at the event. In 2018, a report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino found that 34 hate crimes against Latinos were reported in the United States’ largest cities during the first two weeks after the 2016 presidential election.
To the majority of Muslims, ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram are vicious, cruel organizations that twist and pervert the words of the Qu’ran and can make life hell in Muslim countries; to white nationalists, they represent Islam on the whole. And in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Islamophobia of white nationalism asserted itself on March 15, 2019 with two attacks on mosques that resulted in 51 deaths. White nationalists in the U.S. feel a kinship with white nationalists in other parts of the world, and when a mosque in Escondido, California was set on fire later that month, graffiti by the suspect referenced the Christchurch attacks.