Image: YouTube screenshot
'Wacko uploads unseemly petition to the White House website' isn't exactly newsworthy, so I almost let the campaign by a group of insane racists to upload repulsive petitions aimed at getting Obama to "Stop White Genocide" fade into the oblivion where it belongs.
But the petitions were so insane, so racist, and so methodically produced, I had no choice but to remind the world that there are manically discontented white supremacists among us who spend their spare time making slick web propaganda that claims brown people are waging genocide against white America. Got that?
They're not shy, either. The group actually calls itself the White GeNOcide Project—the "NO" is because they're against "white genocide," in case that wasn't clear—and is apparently working in close affiliation with a group called White Rabbit Radio. The chief belief of both groups is that non-whites are "flooding" into America and Europe, and causing the eventual extinction of the White Race, capital W, capital R.
Yes, this is some Mien Kampf bullshit. Together, the groups are bombarding the White House Petition site with caps-locked calls to close the country's borders to immigrants.
In May alone, they have submitted seven petitions, but they've been at it all year. Their work led BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczinksi to ask "Is the most racist White House petition ever created?," and the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart to write a column condemning them. Most of the petitions get at least couple hundred signatures, as Neo-Nazi websites like Stormfront.org help promote them.
But the most disturbing aspect of the campaign lies beyond the petitions left on the White House website. If you travel over to Stop White GeNOcide's homepage (a trip I do not recommend taking) you'll find a series of decently produced YouTube videos featuring concerned-looking white women who espouse the most vile racist ideology you're likely to hear. They do so with a straight face, and, like a train wreck at a toxic waste site, you can't look away for the life of you; you can't believe the filth that's crawling out.
This is where the story gets twisted—where it moved from a bunch of racist jerks messing around with petitions to evidence of a web-spanning cult. Because it gets worse. There's a prevalent pseudo-science to this "activism."
Much of the text of the petitions and that recited by the racist women are pulled straight from something that's called "Bob Whitaker's Mantra." Bob Whitaker is a racist political activist who penned a sort of Hitlerian Haiku that is legal to say and write even in countries that have laws against hate speech. It is intended to be spoken over and over, in a repetitive fashion, in the face of dissent (or logical objection). It's like transcendental meditation for bigots.
Apparently, people that are part of this movement film YouTube clips of themselves repeating the mantra—monologues have been recorded in the U.S., Europe, even Australia. A blog post at the White GeNOcide Project describes one as "a beautiful recitation."
Anyway, the doctrine contained in this bizarre mantra underpins most of the thought of the White GeNOcide Project and White Rabbit Radio—the latter notes that "All the memes we use come from the Mantra in one way shape manner or form." There are more videos of women repeating its words, blog posts borrowing the language, and exhortations to repost the mantra wherever possible. There's also plenty of fretting over the New World Order and other conspiratorial trappings of the far right; something about "swarms," or waves of immigrants that taint the white race's purity.
Finally, there's the group's crown jewel, White Rabbit Radio's 10-minute short film, "Anti-Racist Hitler." Many of the petitions on WhiteHouse.org call for the president to arrange a sort of national movie night where this film is shown, and many of the posts reference it. It's about the return of Hitler, who, now deviously claiming to be anti-racist, promotes multiculturalism in Israel until the Jews go extinct.
Seriously. Somebody conceived this thing. Somebody animated this thing. Tens of thousands have seen it. And thousands of them think this logic is sound—and many are clearly oblivious to their own blinding and overwhelming racism.
It's kind of like that 'how's the water?' parable with fish—when bigotry pervades your entire worldview, maybe you are incapable of considering it even exists. I mean, there has to be some serious cognitive dissonance going on if you're willing to lend your name or face to a group that calls itself the White GeNOcide Project. It's another step beyond if you're confidently taking your roundly racist fight to the digital doorstep of the White House. These aren't the kind of anonymous trolls that make racist comments on news websites. These are zealots, who believe they are crusading behind a legitimate cause.
And that's what makes it worrisome. In the wake of the Boston bombing, we're paying closer attention to fringe digital media's capacity to "radicalize" the discontented. Usually, it's fundamentalist religious sites we're considering. We should be looking at organized cyber racism, too.
The cult-like nature of this movement, its efforts to evangelize, its deployment of respectable-looking propaganda media, and its sheer brazenness make it more disturbing than your garden variety racist group. It's organized, and its efforts harbor a decent potential to win eyeballs. Its better-produced videos have more than 150,000 views. For these posters, racism forms the cornerstone of a conspiracy theory that verges on religion, and they are seeking converts.