tucker carlson white nationalism

Tucker Carlson Wants to Know What Makes Him a White Nationalist. Well, Since He Asked …

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In the year since Trump took office, we’ve seen a spike in white nationalism. It’s not necessarily that his election created more racists, but he certainly emboldened them to the point where, under an attempted rebranding as “alt-right,” casual racist rhetoric doesn’t have the same stigma it had before, and we’ve seen a rise in violent acts and proud, public rallies.

Along with Trump, Fox News has played a role in this shift, and probably no one at the network more than Tucker Carlson.

One of Tucker Carlson’s favorite talking points is the persecution of white men. He’s the “why can’t you say it’s okay to be white?” dude, the kind of person who feels so left out by Black Lives Matter that he thinks it’s racism in action—the kind of guy who (accurately) gets called a white nationalist a lot, and swears he doesn’t get why. He doesn’t even know what that even means, or more likely, pretends not to.

He said on his show, “It would be interesting to hear someone tell us exactly what a white nationalist is, and how we qualify.”

I mean, a lot of people have been doing that for quite a while, but I get it, willful ignorance is great for ratings and for his own persecution complex. Still, Jack Smith from Mic is giving it a shot.

The core of Carlson’s rhetoric lies, as Smith explains, in the difference between civic and ethnic nationalism. Is it our values or our “blood” that unites a country? Ethnic nationalists firmly believe the latter. Carlson has previously and frequently mocked the idea that diversity is a strength for a country.

Smith shows clips from some ethnic nationalist YouTubers, all very pretty young white women. One explains how people are better off when they have “a government consisting of people like them,” to which most of us here say, “Yeah duh. Why do you think we talk so much about diverse representation in government?”

But to ethnic nationalists, that’s the opposite of what they want. They don’t want a government that looks like and therefore fairly represents the general populace; they just want a government that looks like them—that protects their rights as white individuals above all others. It’s the epitome of “identity politics.” What they’re really fighting for, Smith says, is segregation.

For them, civil rights and fundamental happiness are a zero-sum game. If immigrants or even non-white (and for many, non-male) citizens have their rights and wellbeing considered, that, in the mind of an ethnic nationalist, takes away from their own rights and wellbeing. Cue all those white people chanting, “You will not replace us,” in Charlottesville. Replace them in what? In just being considered Americans worth paying attention to, I suppose.

Carlson and so many others seem to think diversity and the demand for government representation and consideration sprung up overnight. Carlson makes his patented puckered squint and says, “Maybe we should have talked this through ahead of time. Somehow, we didn’t.”

Of course, as Smith points out, “We did have that talk ahead of time. It was called the Civil Rights Movement.”

If Tucker Carlson missed the entirety of the Civil Rights Movement, there’s probably no hope in him understanding his role in the modern white nationalist movement.

For the rest of us, the five-minute video above is useful information.

(via Mic on Twitter, image: screencap)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.