“Found the troll.”
A video from Fox News’ coverage of the Women’s March in New York Sunday appears to show a protester holding a sign calling for “White Genocide Now!”
One Twitter user seemed to have spotted the sign-holding protester in the march and even snapped a picture of him.
— yeslikethecar (@yeslikethecar1) January 19, 2019
The video — and screen grabs from it — went somewhat viral Tuesday, leading many online commenters to criticize the media for ignoring it.
It is unclear whether the protester, who kept his face concealed (but seemed to be white himself), was a genuine supporter of the march or an agitator aiming to stir discord.
Either way, the video is disconcerting for a number of reasons.
First, it’s an irking fact that such a vitriolic sign could have been prominently carried around the march without being publicly challenged by fellow marchers and, more crucially, news reporters (especially given the farcical amount of articles toadyingly enumerating the march’s “so many amazing” signs).
Second, the Women’s March is already mired in controversy due to its organizers’ radical approach to race. A series of articles by Tablet Magazine and The New York Times have shown how, in an attempt to diversify the movement’s leadership, the organizers have sidelined some of the white women who had co-founded the march. Moreover, the new leadership seems to be quite unfazed by accusations of prevalent anti-Semitism.
In fact, so important has “diversity” become for the current organizers that one of the California marches which had been planned for the weekend was cancelled due to concerns that attendance would be “overwhelmingly white.”
Thirdly, though the “white genocide” sign seems to be an anecdote in a sea of positive women’s empowerment, let’s not forget that over the same weekend the media was abuzz covering the equally anecdotal story of a group of MAGA hat-wearing teenagers allegedly teasing a Native American protester during the March for Life in Washington (a day before the Women’s March). In this case, reporters and outlets rushed to condemn the kids even before a full video of the incident — which, even The New York Times had to admit, colored the event with nuance — became public. The selective rush to judgment among mainstream outlets is no less dispiriting for being unsurprising.
And lastly, if the sign holder is indeed a troll (and there’s a good chance that that is the case), this, like the MAGA-teenagers fiasco, should serve as a warning about the ease with which misinformation and political agitation can spread online.
The term “white genocide” is often used by alt-right conspiracy theorists and white supremacists to reflect their anxiety about becoming a persecuted minority driven to extinction by other races (usually Jews or blacks). According to the Anti-Defamation League, white nationalists are often united by a fear that “the white race is ‘dying’ due to growing non-white populations and ‘forced assimilation.'”
President Donald Trump evoked these fears when he addressed the plan of the South African government to seize the lands of white farmers, condemning in a tweet what he (baselessly) called “the large scale killing of farmers.”
The term itself is rarely heard outside the realms of supremacist groups.