The problem with white culture is that there is no white culture.
Recently, posters have been plastered on Billings' two major higher-educational institutions and a variety of other places. Innocuous and even patriotic looking, these posters have the Identity Evropa movement behind it — a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti Defamation League call "extremist" and "white supremacist."
To that, I'd add horrible historians.
As the SPLC notes, Identity Evropa means to legitimize the group's racism by "intellectualizing white supremacist ideology." In other words, trade the hoods for neckties.
In the past couple of years, other groups have risen from the recesses of society and the internet, for example, Proud Boys, who describe themselves charmingly as "Western chauvinists."
Beyond white shirts and white skin, all of these groups rally around the notion that they're not racist, they just want to preserve "white culture."
"Unfortunately, the fetishization of diversity has resulted in a paradigm wherein 'less White people' – in academia, employment, and countries overall – is accepted as a moral imperative," Identity Evropa states.
"White people" is nothing more than a description of a lack of skin pigmentation. Groups like Evropa would argue that its mission is to preserve the cultures of Europe, but don't seem to recognize it's hard to know even how to draw the boundary lines of Europe. And, Europe probably doesn't need a bunch of young, white Americas saving its culture. No one really believes, say, Belgium, is under seige.
In addition to local leaders denouncing these kinder, gentler racist groups, it's also imperative that folks from different academic disciplines also debunk the horrible history they're trying to sell as truth.
There is no white culture. There isn't even a monolithic European culture. If that culture was so static and homogeneous then it's a safe bet that neither World War I or World War II would have ever started. Both of those were European bloodbaths, and conflicts of clashing cultures.
It’s ironic that in a time of ancestry.com and services like "23 and Me," we’re being tricked into believing there is something as monolithic and homogeneous as white culture.
Most folks in Montana have a heavy dose of European culture. Mine is no different. But thanks to the miracle of DNA testing — though I am 99.9 percent European — those component ancestries include Irish, Danish and German-Russian. And no one is making the case that Ireland is the same as Denmark is the same as Russia.
Those who participate in these groups would have you believe that their support of "white culture" is somehow no different than black pride or, as the Proud Boys suggested, "Navajo Power."
Except for one very important difference: No one has launched a sustained attack to destroy the cultural influence and heritage of European Americans. Meanwhile, institutionalized racism and slavery has nearly wiped entire cultural heritage of people from Africa or destroyed indigenous American people. Entire nation-tribes of American Indians were eradicated, so any rally for cultural recognition should be seen as a restoration and return of the a rich diversity which has given America such strength.
To make America great again isn't to return a bunch of scared white people to power, it's to restore the dream of our Founding Fathers and Mothers such that a diversity of people, religions and beliefs could not only co-exist, but thrive together instead of being culturally isolated as in Europe.
Identity Evropa believes that every group must have a homogeneous land to call home. Of course, the irony is that a group who is arguing for a perceived European culture and homeland doesn't want to go back across the Atlantic, and instead wants to set up shop here.
"Rather, we are ethno-pluralists: We believe that all ethnic and racial groups should have somewhere in the world to call home – a place wherein they can fully express themselves and enjoy self-determination," Evropa states.
I can't help but wonder if they desire European traditions, values and identity so much, what in the world are they doing here?
Go East, young men.
History, if it came to a close today, would have to look at America and judge it a success not because it transplanted a European culture, but that it broadened it to successfully include every other culture, taking the best of the world and concentrating it here.