Alexandra Minna Stern (Eugenic Nation) meets the rising wave of white nationalism head-on in her important and timely work, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination.
Stern, American Culture and History professor at the University of Michigan, dispenses with any pretense of neutrality in her reportage, instead referring to herself as a "scholar-activist." She sets out to understand the intellectual underpinnings of the so-called alt-right movement so that it may be better confronted and dismantled. What she finds in this detailed and telling work is a group of disaffected white men desperate to re-establish white male power, epitomized by the idea of a segregated white homeland, or "ethnostate." She follows these men's interactions in online chat rooms and popular media, both in the U.S. and Europe, and discovers what unites them: antipathy toward multiculturalism, feminism and immigration. She finds a movement once confined to the shadows and associated with neo-Nazism now seeking mainstream approval for its racist and xenophobic ideas.
Stern uncovers so many disturbing things about the alt-right movement that it's hard to focus on one. For example, white nationalists have appropriated left-wing environmentalist ideas like green sustainability and bio-community for their white utopian dreams. Some even back reparations for African-Americans, envisioning a separate black homeland in the South. Stern analyzes these different threads of supremacy and separatism, all based on what she deems "racial nationalism." The most disturbing aspect of Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate is the validation the alt-right has received from President Donald Trump. Stern makes a strong case that the president's rhetoric and policies on immigration stem from the same racial nationalism.
Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate is an important volume for anyone interested in the future of liberal democracy. Stern has fashioned an invaluable guide with which to unmask a new breed of racism. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset