by Ashley Jardina
Reviewed by Marc Schulman
White Identity Politics is an ambitious book. Its goal largely achieved is to look at the recent political development in the United States through the lens of white identity. The primary thesis of the book is that to a large number of voters their identity as white is the driving force of their voting. The author presents compelling evidence that a large number of voters are concerned that whites are losing their power in the United States. Many whites feel that they are already or about to become the new American minority.
This, of course, is not new, it was the elections of African Americans to office in the south is what provoked White violence against African Americans. The fear of losing power to the other has been a strong theme of aspects of American power. The fight against immigration in 1924 was a fight to keep America white in a way defined then not too many Jews or Italians. According to the book on April 9, 1924, Senator Ellison DuRant “Cotton Ed” Smith (D- South Carolina) stood before members of the US Congress and said:
“Thank God we have in America perhaps the largest percentage of any country in the world of the pure, unadulterated Anglo- Saxon stock; certainly the greatest of any nation in the Nordic breed. It is for the preservation of that splendid stock that has characterized us that I would make this not an asylum for the oppressed of all countries, but a country to assimilate and perfect that splendid type of manhood that has made America the foremost Nation in her progress and in her power.”
The last chapter of the book is devoted to the impact of the election of President Barak Obama. According to Jardina the election which initially was hailed as a significant landmark in American history, the willingness of American to elect an African American as President, in fact, had the opposite effect. Jardina quotes Rush Limbaugh the day after the reelection of Obama “I went to bed last night thinking we’re outnumbered. I went to bed last night thinking all this discussion we’d had about this election being the election that will tell us whether or not we’ve lost the country. I went to bed last night thinking we’ve lost the country. I don’t know how else you look at this.”
The book addresses the rise of the Tea Party and claims that it was mainly an attempt to bring back the America of the passes one that was dominated by whites, and one that people who were not heterosexual remained in the closet.
Finally, the book turns to the rise of President Trump. The author writes “If the election of Obama represented a challenge to the racial hierarchy, then we might expect that some whites wanted to see a return to order.” This is what the author credits with the unexpected support for Trump.
The book breaks new ground in understanding American voters. It is also willing to present well-researched facts that are not politically correct for a journalist to write all the while conforming to empirical evidence one would expect from a book from Cambridge University Press.
The book is not for the casual reader- but if you are willing to put effort into reading it, you will be well rewarded.