White Nationalist Movement Grows, Yet Unfairly Compared To ISIS

By Savannah Smith, The Goldwater · 02-12-2017
Photo credit: Jason Hollinger | Flickr

The strength of white nationalists is said to be growing phenomenally, especially on the online platform. The group and their supporters' online presence has grown more than 600 per cent in the last four years using many indicators including number of followers and number of daily tweets and mentions.

The observation is based on a study conducted by researchers at George Washington University's Programme on Extension which analyzed 18 accounts belonging to major white nationalist groups and organizations including the American Nazi Party and the National Socialist Movement. Majority of the said groups are based in the U.S.

There was a noted increase in the number of followers of those accounts from about 3,500 in 2012 to 22,000 in 2016. The study also underscored the popularity of President Donald Trump as a favorite topic and mentions in the posts and hashtags used by supporters and followers of the group. It is not surprising as white nationalists whether individually or as a group have always been supportive of Trump as they approve of his strong stance on major issues like national security and immigration. White nationalists campaigned hard for Trump's victory, and it is no wonder that to this day they feel strongly invested in his presidency especially as he is facing challenges for his immigration policy.

The study reveals, however, that as much as Trump is undeniably popular with the white nationalist, he comes in only as second to top favorite topic of the group-white genocide. White genocide is said to be the belief that the influx of non-white cultures and rising diversity in the U.S. are fueling the extinction of the white race.

The said study, however, has a major problem. It compares the growth of white nationalists with the decline of the online influence of the ISIS. The mere comparison is already replete with injustice. The ISIS is, of course, a terrorist group that advocates violence supposedly in the name of radical Islam. It has caused much condemnable cruelty, violence, abuse and trouble all over the world, killing innocent lives and leaving trauma and fear wherever they wreaked havoc. It has been speculated but never conclusively proven that white nationalists truly advocate violence, nor have they been linked to such violent acts as ISIS to propagate their beliefs. At their core, white nationalists in fact uphold equality among races, and only deplore racism against the white people, or merely advocating protection for the white people that could be target of racism.

Twitter has been cracking down on ISIS and for good reason, as the terror group used the platform to recruit members and propagate hatred and violence. Calls for Twitter to do a similar crackdown on white nationalists is uncalled for as no conclusive link has yet to be fully established between their online activities and violence. Taking away their right to be in the online world through Twitter or any other social media or online platforms will be a violation of their inherent right to free speech, which every American enjoys as protected by the Constitution.

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