(Chanting) Whose streets? Our streets! (HATE) If you’ve seen footage from the Charlottesville protests, you might have noticed something a little strange: Chris Cantwell, who’s a white supremacist, has an Asian tattoo. The tattoo’s a little sloppy, but it’s supposed to be the Japanese character for “truth”. And it’s actually not that strange. White supremacists love Asia, especially Japan, and every well-known white supremacist in recent memory seems to have some kind of weird Asia fetish. Everyone from former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, to far right Norwegian extremist and mass murderer Anders Breivik, to Charleston shooter Dylann Roof have all raved about the virtues of East Asian countries, and praised Japan as a model to follow. So what gives? Why do racists like Japan so much? Well, the shorter answer is they view Japan as a mono-ethnic utopia, which is exactly what they wish the U.S. was. Here’s how Richard Spencer puts it. “It’s wonderful being in Japan; it is an ethno-state. Japan, whatever problems it might have, does not have the problem of diversity, and therefore Japan can truly be a homeland. It can be a home!” But it’s a little more complicated than that. It’s not just that White Supremacists love Japan; it’s that they have to love Japan. There’s a precedent for this– in Nazi Germany. By the early 1900s, Japan had become powerful enough to pose a military threat to some European countries, which, in turn, poses a threat to the idea that White people are inherently superior. So even though Adolf Hitler personally didn’t like Japan very much, publicly, he had to say that he respected the Japanese. Fast forward to today. The economic success of some Asian countries poses an intellectual quandary for even the most sophisticated Reddit troll. Even things like college acceptance rates for Asian Americans kinda throw a wrench in the whole “white superiority” idea. So some modern White Supremacists have gone even further than Hitler did and don’t just tolerate Asians; they actually idolize them. That’s why White Supremacist Jared Taylor told a Japanese news crew in fluent Japanese (because he grew up there) that Blacks and Latinos are inherently inferior to Whites. But he also said that Asians have higher IQs than White people. When he was asked for details, he just said “that’s biology.” (Japanese for Biology) Now, the quote-unquote “science” behind studies that support this sort of thing has been pretty roundly debunked, and there’s no evidence that homogeneity equals success, whether that’s in Japan or elsewhere. But White Supremacists keep blindly worshipping Asians because if they don’t account for them somehow, then the whole ideology starts to fall apart. It’s also pretty convenient, and pointing to successful Asian people allows you to argue that racism doesn’t exist and that any socioeconomic problems that Blacks and Latinos face are because their culture or their DNA is inferior. But really, it all comes down to what people do when the way they look at the world is challenged. Some people take a step back and say “Hey, maybe something else is going on here, like, maybe racism or structural inequality. And some people just get a Japanese tattoo.