The Wikipedia definition of the term 'white nationalist' is "A type of nationalism or pan-nationalism which holds the belief that white people are a race and seeks to develop and maintain a white national identity."

In light of the recent events in Charlottesville, this ideology is facing a lot of criticism in the media.

What are the main arguments made by notable opponents of White Nationalism against this ideology? Please add a source for each argument you mention in your answers.

  • 5
    If anyone has further comments which are not about improving this question but rather about voting behavior, moderation or any other meta-topic, please discuss it on politics.meta.stackexchange.com
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:35
  • 6
    This question isn't yours anymore; it exists on politics.se, licensed under Creative Commons, and collaboratively edited. "If you are not comfortable with the idea of your contributions being collaboratively edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you." Reference: politics.stackexchange.com/help/editing Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 17:19
  • 6
    @Charlie white nationalism is racism.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 17:49
  • 5
    Tags aren't to color the question, or to influence response; they are there to support question archiving and ability to be searched. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 19:43
  • 5
    Unless it can be proven that White Nationalism isn't also White Supremacy/Separatism, which the linked question couldn't do, the accepted definition that White Nationalism is just a euphemism for White Supremacy stands. It was introduced by White Supremacists to soften their image for main stream consumption, yet they are still racist. Link: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/23652/… Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 19:51

8 Answers 8


What is White Nationalism

The ADL definition:

White nationalism is a term that originated among white supremacists as a euphemism for white supremacy. Eventually, some white supremacists tried to distinguish it further by using it to refer to a form of white supremacy that emphasizes defining a country or region by white racial identity and which seeks to promote the interests of whites exclusively, typically at the expense of people of other backgrounds. ADL: White Nationalism

The SPLC uses the following definition:

White nationalist groups espouse white supremacist or white separatist ideologies, often focusing on the alleged inferiority of non-whites. Groups listed in a variety of other categories - Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead, and Christian Identity - could also be fairly described as "white nationalist."SPLC: White Nationalists

What do White Nationalists want?

As seen in the definitions above, the goal of white nationalist is a racially pure or white-dominated country.

Depending on their ideology, this can happen by subjugating, expelling, or murdering Jews, black people, and all others they deem racially inferior.

Why are some opposed to White Nationalism

Most of the opposition against white nationalism is based on moral grounds.

Some hold the idea that all people should be equal, regardless of race. In the US, this was codified into law with the fourteenth amendment (among other). This idea is in direct conflict with white nationalism, which seeks white dominance.

Some also oppose the violence from white nationalists. Charlottesville mayor for examples stated: "People are dying, and I do think that it's now on the president and on all of us to say enough is enough. This movement has run its course."

Those that are directly targeted additionally oppose white nationalism as it threatens their safety and well-being (see for example the NAACP).

  • 8
    I think the only thing I'd add to this answer is the idea of countries like the US being a 'melting pot' of cultures/races. Essentially, that many people find value in minority groups, whereas white nationalists do not. I think the idea that minority cultures are causing more harm than good is at the core of the white nationalist movement, and it's somewhat different than the issue of equal rights, as well as the root cause of the violence. Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 18:29
  • 8
    @eyeballfrog No, I don't think so. The question is specifically about those that oppose white nationalism. Even if their claims were wrong, they would be valid as an answer, while whatever white nationalists do or do not say is not.
    – tim
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:37
  • 4
    @user4012 quick history lesson: Jewish people have some experience with white supremacists. They've decided it'd be a good idea to have a vested interest in paying attention to them. SPLC has a long track record of being a monitor of all sorts of various hate groups. But you know all of this, of course.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 3:51
  • 5
    @blip - I'm Jewish. I don't need your condescending lessons. I also know more about antisemitism from personal experience than everyone in ADL combined. REAL antisemitism, not "my feelings got hurt once" that American liberals are afraid of. SPLC labeled a bunch of normal right wing people "extremists" before. They have zero credibility with me at this point, same as ADL - they are basically carrying water for liberal political wing, not their stated mission.
    – user4012
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 4:18
  • 4
    @MathematicsSrudent1122 I didn't blur any lines. There are no lines. White nationalist is just what white supremacists call themselves.
    – user1530
    Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 0:50

US White nationalists are controversial because their ideologies are close to those of the KKK and the Nazis, as spelt out in the Criticism section of the wikipedia article on the topic. In case you need further convincing, the first link is a video so you can see and hear the connection first hand.

The Nazis are hopefully not controversial. In case they are, the Holocaust is one of the crimes they committed while in power. It took a deadly world war for non-nationalists to stop them.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 8:19

I will assume this refers to white nationalism in a multi-ethnic country; as ethnic nationalism in a mono-ethnic country is implicit unless the country is unusually cosmopolitan.

Since this question would relate to the resurgent visibility of US White Nationalism; the counter-arguments to preserving/restoring a white-majority country with some arbitrary set of white cultural characteristics are:

  1. A multi-ethnic multicultural society is a done deal. You would have to hurt a great many people to revert to a mono-cultural society.
  2. A lot of people want to treat others according to their character not their race. A society that no longer aspires to that would horrify and dispirit a lot of people. A tangible negative outcome since our country is only as good as how we treat each other.
  3. It's unclear that even if you could wave a magic wand (expecto genocidia) and achieve a mono-cultural mono-ethnic society, that it would be a healthy or happy one. Most such societies historically or today are not (cause or effect, who can say). There's always more levels of purity to strive for; always someone born within the country to hurt. You end up fighting human nature and sentient diversity itself.

So cost is very high and the pay-out is very low. And deontologically it's wrong.

  • @nice answer. I think point 3 may benefit from a few more links to validate it relevancy, as I think that one is a bit more on the speculative end. Perhaps link to a specific group that believes this would happen, a Wikipedia page or the like. Cheers :)
    – Charlie
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 11:39

The most important arguments against white nationalism result from the definition you gave:

A type of nationalism or pan-nationalism which holds the belief that white people are a race and seeks to develop and maintain a white national identity.

  • White people are a race: it is not true. It does not mean that there are no ethnical differences between people, but that it is not possible to define precisely a race. In Western Europe, Arabic people are not seen as white, while in America they are described as Caucasian - that is the same category as any other white. When do you stop to be white?

  • Maintain a white national population: to do that, you need to restrict the rights of foreigners to come in your country, which most States do, but also to forbid wedding with foreigners, or at least to limit the freedom of your own population. And what do you do with people of other "races" already living in the country? You do not have a lot of solutions: killing them, deporting them, limiting their rights...

  • a white national identity: national identity is not a matter of colour. In "What is a nation?", Renan defines a nation as people that share history and want to live and act together, as opposed to a "race". A white American and a white Russian share less history than a white and a black American. You said that there has been white Celtic people in UK for 50 000 years, but actually you only know that there has been Celtic people in UK for 50 000 years. I would be very surprised if you had any proof that those Celtic weren't black, or asian, or anything else for their first 30 000 years in UK. The culture they transmitted remains, not their skin colour.

  • I think this is a good answer overall.
    – Charlie
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 22:07
  • Arabic is not a race: It's a language and a culture. There are people of various races who also happen to be Arabs. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 15:37
  • @SolomonSlow Arabs are the people with ancestry in Arabia, as distinct from their neighbors the Turks, the Persians and the Egyptians. Cf. Arab in Wikipedia. Like everything, the boundaries are weak, but the extremes are clear. I'd be interesting in seeing evidence that someone with all recent Northern European or Japanese or sub-Saharan African ancestry might be considered an Arab.
    – prosfilaes
    Commented Jul 22, 2023 at 20:37
  • @prosfilaes, I'd like to believe that I was parroting some actual authority on the subject when I wrote those words. But that was six years ago. I don't remember, and I am no authority on Arab culture. I like to believe that since then, I've learned to give credit to those people whose ideas I repeat. Commented Jul 23, 2023 at 13:15

I am going to try to do this from a political theory perspective and attempt to cut the generalizing of a group as much as possible i.e. No "It's bad because Nazi's did it" it's true and a sore point but not a contemporary argument nor is blaming a concept for who is practicing it. What is important is the impact and results, which personally tend to be gross disenfranchisement and dehumanization which can lead to great atrocities if pushed too far WW2 and The Middle East are great examples. This goes for all forms of ethnocentric nationalism, even Africa has had it's share of genocides over this

Albeit generalizing political theory tends to get more criticism than just individual bias so yeah I'll make a chat and place it below for arguments and amend my answer after debate or arguments if you are unhappy with the categorization.

Now having braced myself for the coming storm


White Nationalism in Western Culture is the people in power saying they want to stay in power over those with less power. As such it can be seen that the bourgeoisie is stating that they do not want to let go of power and implies potential harm for those not White in the White Nation. Where as other ethnocentric forms of nationalism are then seen as Equalist movements to balance the roles of power and revolting against the oppressors, see Malcom X for instance. Marx himself did not particularly care about Nationalism in general though just so that Inter-Nationalism could bring down Captialism as such a perspective on class struggles should be able to better explain this point

Libertarian L1, a bit complicated

Left leaning Libertarians tend to feel that nationalism is a bi-product of groups however ethnocentric nationalism may imply potential harm placing undo stress unto the other groups though that would be further left Libertarians with the more center left would just say it is fine so long as it is not violating Nonaggression principle

Right leaning Libertarians may argue that nationalism has no place in a free society as all have the right of movement, but would ignore it should it arise as again Nonaggression principle


Centrist would see that social equality is balanced and to such extent would find White Nationalism unappealing and wrong as it puts one man on top of another due to simple birth factors.

Fascist - Tends to be called Extreme Nationalism

Government mandated law on what it considers worthwhile people in the government. What constitutes "worthwhile" is up to the ruling party, as such could be viewed as good could be viewed as gulag worthy. At it's roots though it is bred from the concept of Nationalism.


Socialistic tend to share a Marxist PoV just with less of an oomph and more economic freedom for the individual. Though a gross over simplification like most things here all I can say is... see Marxism

Please note in many ideologies all forms of ethnocentric nationalism are looked down upon. Just because a media organization is saying something does not make it the primary standpoint of an ideology. Media loves ratings and shocking concepts generate ratings

  • chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/63883/…
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:36
  • This is all fine, but not sure how it answers the question. (Unless we're talking about nationalism in general...but I think we're talking specifically about US-based 'white nationalism' which is a rather specific thing)
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:55
  • @blip The reasons these ideologies are opposed tends to be the influencing nature of why people reject these kind of concepts. The base philosophy drives moral standard/ethics after all IMO. Two people could be against the same thing but for different reasons/rational and these attempt to explain that rational and as such can be viewed as the root of this disposition.
    – SCFi
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:58
  • Hmm...OK. That makes sense. An interesting addition to the answers.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 21:01

The Wikipedia definition of the term 'white nationalist'

also states...

White separatism and white supremacy are subgroups of white nationalism. Separatists seek a white-only state; supremacists believe that white people are superior to nonwhites,[4] taking ideas from social Darwinism and Nazism.[7]

A lot of people do not like Social Darwinism proponents, White Supremacists, Racists and Nazis. Hence the controversy regarding groups like this.

  • 1
    "White nationalism is a term that originated among white supremacists as a euphemism for white supremacy." (Tim's answer.) Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 17:47

The most recent Philip Defranco Show, of August 14 2017, summarize a central viewpoint as to why white nationalism is permanently associated with White Supremacy, Nazi's, KKK, etc. It is possible that there is a subset that hold white nationalist view points that don't adhere to the ideals of white supremacy. Even in that eventuality, they're doomed by the overriding cultural understanding.

White nationalists are impugned by the people standing next to them; from the recent activities in Charlottesville, preceding the vehicular homicide, there was the "Unite the Right" pre-rally march on the University of Virginia Campus. Among the white nationalists were white supremacists and Nazi's chanting Zieg Heil and throwing out Nazi Salutes.

The concept of a passive, "we just want to help ourselves," white nationalism is forever tainted by its associations with white supremacy, much like the passive ends of the Black Lives Matter movement and their more violent ends, or progressive protestors and Anti-Fa.

On the last, AntiFa and White Nationalists only differ in those they wish to extol; past that, there are more similarities than either group would admit. Ben Shapiro does well to highlight the violence between AntiFa and the White Supremicists in Charlottesville and the mob rule that occurred. The Alt Right/White Supremicists are bad for the US republic. AntiFa is bad for the US republic.

You are ruined by the worst among you.

  • 7
    An honest sincere answer but we need to stop equating Nazis with those against Nazis. You are correct that the worst of any group often taint the whole. But White Nationalists are the worst of the group. They are simply white supremacists using a different name. They didn't invite the worst...they are a part of the worst. The best white supremacist is still a far below the worst anti-nazi.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:45
  • 5
    Perspective: AntiFa is but one small subset of those opposing unite-the-right groups. To imply everyone against Nazis are AntiFa is the disingenuous part of the logic. It's a form of victim blaming.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:53
  • 3
    I do believe that may not be your intention. However, that absolutely is the intention of a lot of current white nationalist sympathizers. They are trying as hard as they can to make their false equivalency sound legitimate (that anyone against nazis are just as bad as nazis). As for there being a slim non-racist segment of white nationalist...that's just wouldn't make sense. If one isn't racist, then hopefully one isn't joining a racist group.
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:58
  • 6
    @DrunkCynic but we're not talking about the broad right. We're talking about this very specific fringe subset of unite-the-right. They are the fringe (well, I hope they are...I'd hate for them to become the core of the right).
    – user1530
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 16:08
  • 7
    @DrunkCynic The goal of white nationalists is a racially pure country - either by subjugating, expelling, or murdering Jews, black people, and all others they deem racially inferior. The goal of the antifa is to stop fascists. I don't see how those goals are similar.
    – tim
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 16:10

Well, for starters, I can see lots of reasons why anybody who believes there is such a thing as a "white race" would at least be considered to be out of touch with medical science. And since just about every definition of White Nationalism includes the believe in the existence of a "white race", it seems one of their main premises is as flawed as believing in a flat earth.

The concept of race as a biological phenomenon has run its course since there is absolutely no scientific evidence to sustain such a notion.

One can argue for the use of race as a social construct, but in that case, skin colour has as much to do with it as shoe size.

References are easy to find, but here are some examples of articles trying to explain why biological race is nonsense:

A Scientific American article

Science would favor Du Bois. Today, the mainstream belief among scientists is that race is a social construct without biological meaning.

A paper by Alan R. Templeton on NCBI

Using the two most commonly used biological concepts of race, chimpanzees are indeed subdivided into races but humans are not.

An AAPA statement that was published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology,

There is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogenous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past.

  • That point where categorical differentiation of individuals based on particular attributes or characteristics is marginalized because it doesn't match the biological methodologies. Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 19:54
  • 1
    I am very glad that there was a genetic bottleneck in Africa before the Homo sapiens sapiens dispora. Could you imagine the racism in our civilisation we'd have to overcome if we weren't all genetically compatible? Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 5:49
  • @DrunkCynic Your comment is a sentence fragment. What are you trying to say?
    – Era
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 19:34
  • Doesn't white as being discussed relate more to culture than skin color or race? Black also isn't about skin color as much as culture. We've with malice aforethought become a cultural salad bowl of a nation. The white portion of the salad doesn't appear to appreciate this in that they view their culture as being disrespected.
    – TomO
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 22:20
  • @TomO The concept of white race comes from the definitions given for White Nationalism. If they don't mean race they should use another word...
    – oerkelens
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 22:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .