The goal of white nationalism is to appeal to a larger audience. Most are nonviolent groups working for separatism. However, some white nationalists argue for mass genocide of those deemed to be "non-white."
Supporters see themselves defending the legitimate civil rights of white people against society's alleged racial double standards. Jared Taylor, another key writer in the movement, claims similar racial views were held by many mainstream American leaders before the 1950s. Opponents accuse them of hatred, racial bigotry and destructive identity politics.
According to Samuel P. Huntington, the modern movement is increasingly cultured, intellectual and academically trained. Rather than espouse violence, they use statistics and social science data to argue for a self-conscious white identity. They say a natural hierarchy should triumph over the "false promise of egalitarianism and that the downfall of white dominance spells doom for representative government, the rule of law and freedom of speech.
Supporters say they stand for racial self-preservation and claim culture itself is a product of race. As a result, according to Huntington, they say the demographic shift in the US towards non-whites brings a new culture that is intellectually and morally inferior. With it comes affirmative action, immigrant ghettos and declining educational standards. By challenging established policy on immigration, civil rights and racial integration, they seek to build bridges with moderately conservative white citizens.
White separatism and supremacism are two smaller subgroups within white nationalism. The former seek a separate white nation-state, while the latter add ideas from social Darwinism and Nazism to their ideology. Some white nationalists deny they are in either category. Both schools of thought generally avoid the term "supremacy", saying it has negative connotations.
In the 19th and early 20th century racial definitions of the American nation were common, resulting in race-specific immigration restrictions, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. The 1915 film Birth of a Nation is an example of an allegorical invocation of white nationalism during this time.
The White Australia ideal was semi-official policy in Australia for many decades, while in South Africa, white nationalism was championed by the New National Party starting in 1948, as the struggle over apartheid heated up. In recent years, the Internet has provided an expansion of audiences for white nationalism.
White nationalism in the US combines elements of American racial nationalism and race-based identity politics. Starting in the 1960s, it grew as the conservative movement developed in mainstream society. Samuel Huntington argues that it developed as a reaction to a perceived decline in the essence of American identity as European, Anglo-Protestant and English-speaking. Some American white nationalists, for example, say immigration should be restricted to selected people of European ancestry.
White nationalists say every nationality feels a natural affection for its own kind. Thus they believe in a common identity, common interests, and common political action for white people. This identity is valid for the entire white population, but not an obligation for others.
Most supporters say 'white nationalism' refers to political activities within an existing country. They have not necessarily rejected their existing national identity and allegiance, nor that they seek to destroy existing states. They see themselves as patriotic preservers of European history and culture. In other words, their racial identity coincides with this patriotism: For them, everything that is good about their homeland is white.
The present form of American white nationalism, inclusive of Caucasian immigrant groups, is relatively recent. Conversely, "white nationalism" in Europe normally indicates a racial variant of an existing ethnic nationalism. For example, the British National Party opposes large-scale immigration of Russians and Poles, even though they are white.
Their mission statement states that The British National Party exists to secure a future for the indigenous peoples of these islands in the North Atlantic which have been our homeland for millennia. We use the term indigenous to describe the people whose ancestors were the earliest settlers here after the last great Ice Age and which have been complemented by the historic migrations from mainland Europe.The migrations of the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Norse and closely related kindred peoples have been, over the past few thousands years, instrumental in defining the character of our family of nations. uire migration of whites to a remote and thinly populated location. However, some other forms of white separatism proposed by white nationalists take the form of far-reaching racial segregation within an existing nation-state. —
There is no corresponding 'European' ethnicity in Europe itself. In fact, some opponents of the European Union question its legitimacy, precisely because there is no corresponding ethnic or cultural group. Despite their self-definition as 'European', many American white nationalists would not regard all descendants of European immigrants as "white". For an acceptable definition, white nationalists draw primarily on 19th-century racial taxonomy, which neither reached a consensus on racial categories nor is accepted by geneticists. (For example, geneticist Neil Risch classifies racial groups in a way that few white nationalists would accept; Jews, Germans and Pakistanis are all Caucasoid.)
Different variants of racial-origin theories, such as Nordicism and Germanism, define different groups as 'white', both excluding some Southern and Eastern Europeans because of perceived racial taint Pan Aryanism — itself originally a component of Nazi race theories — defines most Europeans as Aryan-origin whites. Some white nationalists use the term 'Pan-Europeanism' for a definition including all European ethnic groups.
Other white nationalists hope that population genetics will provide clear criteria for 'white'. Some have adopted a definition based on the Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b. This marker is prevalent in most Western European populations, possibly reflecting the re-expansion into Europe of a smaller human population in Southern Europe, after the last ice age.
White nationalists respond that they are simply organizing in ways similar to organizations such as the NAACP and other groups that are generally not seen as controversial, and that to accuse white-nationalist groups of racism while approving of, or tolerating, other racially oriented groups is hypocritical and racist towards white people. Kofi Buenor Hadjor responds by stating that black nationalism is rather the response to white nationalism, while white nationalism is the expression of white supremacy. Some white nationalists respond to the accusation of white supremacism by saying that they are white separatists, and that separation precludes domination of one group by another.
Critics point out that while posturing as civil rights groups advocating the interests of their ethnic or racial group, white nationalist groups frequently draw on the nativist traditions of the American Ku Klux Klan and the British National Front.
In Europe, nationalist parties such as France's Front National, Germany's National Democratic Party and Belgium's Vlaams Belang promote nationalism and oppose immigration (especially non-white immigration), but do not describe themselves as "white nationalist". In most European nation-states, the nation is traditionally defined by ancestry and long-term association of a single ethnic group with the national homeland. If that ethnic group is already 'white' - as for instance with the Germans in Germany - then additional definition as 'white' is superfluous. It is when this redefinition is disputed, that ethnic or racial limits on the composition of the nation become a political issue.