White Nationalism in American Legislation

White Nationalism in American Legislation


– Good morning, I’m Eugene Potts. The topic I did research on is White Nationalism in American Legislation. My mentor is Dr. Michael Hall, He’s a political science professor here at Wichita State University. Before I go into too
much detail about this, there are definitions and terms that I use throughout this project
that I want to define for everyone here. Nationalism is a political ideology that places the interest
of one’s home country above the rest of the world
and advocates for forgoing your own personal self-interest. In America, this presents
itself as white nationalism, given that America is a white country. Trump’s slogans, like
Make America Great Again, and his policies designed to
make, to put America first, are examples of white nationalism, which is a type of nationalism. White nationalism is a
belief that as a race, whites should seek to develop and maintain a white ethnic identity
within the state or nation. What white nationalism does
is it uses the mechanisms of political power to ensure outcomes that are favorable for whites politically. This puts minorities and others in a very, just, bad position. This type of nationalism is also the nationalism that you see that opposes any sort of aid
to the poor, aid to minority, or any other affirmative action programs. And this all ties together with
the white supremacy ideology which is very simple, it’s
the ideology that whites are superior to all other races. The relevance of this
research is important because, given the political tenor that
we have currently, right now, and also that we make laws
that affect people adversely, and we always don’t know how adversely we affect those people. Take example, the Welfare Act of 1996, which is the one that
appeases the legislation that I took a look at. That welfare act changed how
welfare was administered. It took it from a federal
government grant program to a program that where
states got the money, but they also got to determine who was able to receive
welfare and what the rules, limitations were.
(dripping effect) There was a sociologist at
Savannah State University three years ago that did a study
on this, and what she found is out of the eight states that have a African American population of 20 percent or larger, each one of those states had restrictions that were deemed harsh,
more harsh, or overly harsh. Now, the background for this are two grassroots political movements. Now, the Contract with America is a top-down grassroots movement
started by Newt Gingrich, who was a back-bencher
in the House in 1994. He felt that the Republicans in the House were not forceful enough in combating what he felt was an
overzealous Democratic agenda. So he came up along with Dick Armey, with a plan called a
Contract with America. The Contract with America
is a ten-point plan that basically lays out,
“These are the things that I am going to do
if I ever get power.” The House Republicans won that election, they turned the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and they also won eight
new seats in the Senate. Now, that coincides with the Tea Party because the Tea Party
is also a reactionary grassroots movement that
is a grassroots movement, it goes from the bottom up. The Tea Party really has no leaders, but it has this same tenets that you find with a Contract with America. The issue with both of
these grassroots movements is even though these tenets they proclaim, they sound benign, they look benign, they often produce legislation that adversely affects the minorities. Also part of the background
in this is rhetoric, White Nationalist Rhetoric. Well, now, White Nationalist rhetoric has been a part of American
politics since the Beginning. Since the Civil Rights Movement from about 1955 moving forward, you can no longer be
overt about your racism, you couldn’t be a politician and say blatantly racist things. The sinister-looking
gentleman chomping the cigar is the strategist by
the name of Lee Atwater. He is infamous for the Southern Strategy, and what he basically, he gave an interview in the early 2000s to a political scientist,
what he basically said is, “I can’t use these
particular words anymore, but I can use other words
like busing, states’ rights,” words that whites will hear
and say, “Okay, he’s not this, he’s somebody I can vote for.” And that’s how we have, that’s how we have seen a
shift from overt to covert. Now, the research purpose is to use two pieces of legislation
and to see if this, if, using the Welfare Act of 1996
and the Affordable Care Act, to see if there’s a rise
in White Nationalism between 1994 and 2010, using
those pieces of legislation. The way I did this was, I collected the data from the
open debate from both periods, this data is available from
the Congressional Record, And I entered it into NVIVO, NVIVO is a software that can
give me a frequency chart. And I identified White Nationalist words. There are words that,
there’s other research that has been done from the
Southern Poverty Law Center and others, and they helped
me identify states’ rights, law and order, minority,
government spending, welfare state, and deficit as
words that are commonly used in White Nationalistic literature. This is the results. This is the actual frequency chart, I’m going to talk about
this chart in moving. Pay attention to the length of the debate on both the Senate and House side. For the Affordable Care Act, the length of debate was
the longest open debate that the US Senate ever had. The result, the term, I had two terms that trended the way I had hypothesized. “Government spending” and “deficit” did trend the way I
expected them to trend. The word, “welfare state”
was used ten times more in the Welfare Act than
the Affordable Care Act. Also, “states’ rights” was
used significantly more. Part of that could be
because the Welfare Act changed how you fundamentally, how the federal government
fundamentally did welfare, and the same thing with deficits, so those terms might not
be as White Nationalistic as I had hoped them to be. There are limitations in this methodology, I did an exact word match,
so I didn’t use phrases, I didn’t use themes, I
looked at exact words. And doing exact words,
you’ll see “defraud” and “welfare queen,” if
you go back to the chart, there’s certain terms that did not show up as often as I thought
they would, but “defraud”, “cheat” did not show up at all,
but “defraud” actually did. “Welfare queen” was a word
that we decided not to use, but we ran it afterwards and found out it, we could have used “welfare queen” and they actually showed up
on both pieces of legislation. Going forward in future
research with this, instead of looking at
legislation beforehand, I could take a look at legislation and the effects that
legislation has on a population. So, instead of looking at how legislation affects particular groups of people. I can also look at themes, so instead of doing an exact word match, I could take a theme and
enter that theme into NVIVO and get a better result. Also, examining political
campaigns and rhetoric like TV ads, radio spots, and such, will give you a pretty good idea, or will give me a better idea of whether White Nationalism
is rising or falling or how it is in America right now. I got two slides of references,
if you’re that bored. Questions, comments, concerns? (applause) – [Woman In Audience] A
very good presentation. The big thing now is big data, and I know you’re a political scientist, but they’re saying to use Google as a way to do your word matches, and that’s going to be able to correlate or help you to answer
some of your questions, because you used legislation? So you could use Google to match your research with
trying to answer your questions about White Nationalism. – We, I used Google at
first, NVIVO was better, was a better for me–
– Well, that was a way to analyze your data. – No, NVIVO also does the
same thing that Google actually does.
– Okay, well, I’m just saying, a lot of public health scientists are now using Google to do that, and they can map it onto states, you can map it onto health behavior, and so that’s gonna give you a little bit, in terms of open science
and data analytics. – [Man In Audience] You know that you had a really good research study
too, kind of similar to your, if you go back to your table slide, and also your limitations, I think thematic analysis
is a very good idea, and you may also want to look
at comparing and contrasting different types of
repertoire they’re using, like if it’s in a debate,
or if it’s in newspapers, or if it’s magazines,
I think you can really, because, right now you’re saying, “words are equated to White Nationalism,” but these words may not just be in line with White Nationalism, so comparing different
venues might be very helpful as you go forward with
this future research. I think you have a very good pilot study to go forward with this, so excellent job. – [Woman In Audience] Thank
you, thank you, thank you, thank you for this
work, it was very brave, and it’s cutting edge, I appreciate it, I am just going to say shortly, this is what I do in the
job, you know, where I work, disparities and, you know,
impressions and things like this. I just want to say one thing. Words create pictures, and those pictures sometimes
become perceptions, and absolutely perceptions drive behavior, and so I commend you for
looking beneath the surface and researching it, and I’m very curious as to where you will
take your studies next, because I see you, thank you! (applause)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *