Last week, during our last session of my White Backlash graduate course, my students asked me if I thought the U.S. would descend into a civil war during the next decade. I replied that the current situation is much more bleak than that. Here's why:
1) Nearly a year later, the state has still failed to meaningfully punish those who carried out the deadly 1/6 assault on the Capitol, much less punish its organizers in Trump, Bannon, Guiliani, Christopher Miller, Josh Hawley, etc.
Why does this matter? White backlash mvmnts rely on a collaboration btwn vigilantes & the state. We see this most clearly in the local nature of coup attempts during Reconstruction & Jim Crow. Lawmakers encouraged supremacist violence & legitimized participants.
From the “Liberty Place” & Wilmington coups in the 19th century to the and St. Louis, Tulsa, Orangeburg, and Greensboro massacres & suppressionist violence of the 20c, white vigilantes & state actors worked hand-in-hand.
This pattern defined the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, during which cops & vigilantes worked together to beat the shit out of protesters, since legitimized in the Rittenhouse verdict. Rather than interrupt this alliance, Dems allowed it to metastasize.
2) Republicans have further rigged an already antidemocratic system to cement white power indefinitely, passing state-level voting restrictions & redistricting following the Wisconsin model of minoritarian rule.
Why does this matter? The ethnonationalism & white supremacy of the GOP are unpopular, & Dems have reasonably relied on that unpopularity to win office & keep the very worst bad actors from winning power.
After finding that the piecemeal suppressionist efforts & institutional means of overturning the 2020 election insufficient, Republicans have expanded both.
Republicans passed voter restrictions in 19 states like Georgia & Texas making it harder to vote white pursuing “reforms” in making it easier to toss out results in which Dms win. apnews.com/article/donald…
At the very same time, Republicans passed bills in 36 states making it easier to arrest & run over protesters, which would be Dems only recourse following GOP suppression & election rigging. icnl.org/usprotestlawtr…
Finally, Republicans are in the midst of an “anti-CRT” campaign making it illegal to criticize white supremacist structures, even historically, in classroom & state agencies, again leaving Dems w/o recourse after GOP sabotage.
In short, the system they created is incredibly thorough, designed to prevent fallout from suppression. It MIRRORIS PRECISELY the tactics white supremacists used to create & affirm via SCOTUS an apartheid state from the 1890s through the 1960s in the U.S.
This means that unless Dems pass & implement federal legislation (like yesterday, tbh) addressing this 3-pronged attack on democracy, 2022 or 2024 will likely bring the final death of multiracial democracy.
3) Finally, mainstream reporting & public discourse continue to treat the GOP as a legitimate party & “bipartisanship” as a legitimate end.
Why does this matter? The “bipartisan” descriptions of the GOP assault on democracy as, for ex, “polarization,” hide the ways that the GOP has radicalized over the last 40 (& esp 10) yrs.
Refusing to acknowledge GOP radicalization (not to mention the proliferation of online right wing misinformation) makes it difficult for most Americans to understand the causes of our current crisis.
Historically, the most violent white supremacist backlashes occurred in response to multiracial organizing like we saw in 2020 that led “mainstream” & “centrist” forces to align with white reactionaries in the name of “civility.”
We see that most clearly during Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Red Summer, & Massive Resistance, during which white vigilante & state forces meted out mass violence while white elites found new ways to rig the system.
This white "moderatism" seeks power in preserving or reestablishing a white consensus politics by undermining critique of the "bipartisan" white consensus as inherently illegitimate.
A much longer thread on that dynamic here, but the nutshell is that from legacy to social media, our information networks are owned & operated by those literally invested in the white consensus.
Perhaps Dems & legacy media simply haven't learned the "lessons of the last 4 yrs" or whatever. Maybe. But the behavior fits a specific pattern of historic white backlashes that put those outside the "white consensus" in mortal danger.
Civil wars are miserable & horribly deadly, but they usually carry the potential for a better, more equitable future. Unless we change course dramatically & right away, the current white backlash leaves little room for that hope. /end
One last thing: If you're looking for a useful & accessible resource on white backlashes in the U.S., Carol Anderson's White Rage is the first text on my syllabus for exactly that reason. Highly recommend! bloomsbury.com/us/white-rage-…
Well it looks like the baddies are maddie that I used the term white backlash & are, well, white backlashing. Let's have a good laugh 🤣 at their expense for illustrating exactly the problem we face. Please do report them & I'll post a few blanket replies to their lies below.
First, I'm not going to lock the account despite the baddies bc the whole point is that the situation we face is extremely fucking dire. People need to know that. I'll be OK, but again, plz do report the baddest little baddies.
And on to their Very Serious Critiques.
1) No, the existence of an optional course at a university you choose to attend for grad school is not "indoctrination," nor is reading abt things that happened & discussing them—which is what the course actually consists of.
What is *actual* indoctrination is demanding that courses like this, which do raise serious questions abt existing systems of power, be banned. But thanks for this trip into the Upside Down!
2) Threatening someone for using the term "white backlash" makes you look like a 🤡 by, as noted above, actually illustrating a key suppressionist element of historical & ongoing white backlashes. Nice work!
3) No, the existence of Black, Latinx, or other white backlashers of color doesn't mean it's not a white backlash. In fact, every white backlash in U.S. history involved either a realignment of "whiteness" or a collaboration w/Black & other racialized elites.
Did Confederate Cherokees support, idk, "inclusion?" No, they supported proximity to power--to the white supremacist state & its regime of slave-capital. lsupress.org/books/detail/c…
Did Black enslavers support equality? Well, no. Although the tightening grip of racist legislation diminished this group by the 1850s, every enslaving state boasted a free Black population that asserted their own rights at the expense of enslaved. blackpast.org/african-americ…
The same might be said for Irish, Italian, Jewish, & countless other immigrant groups of the 19th & 20th centuries deemed initially nonwhite, only to relocate under the aegis of whiteness by aligning against Black Americans & newer generations of migrants. Not new.
And in fact, today's your lucky day, bc the last book on my syllabus, Daniel Martinez HoSang & Joseph E. Lowndes, Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity, analyzes this phenomenon re Trumpism.
Also, lol at you 🤡s again for telling on yourselves with "but Hispanics voted for Trump" bc a) white Hispanics exist & consider themselves white, but b) YOU don't consider them white & we all know why.
Not to mention that groundswell of rightwing misinformation targeting Spanish speakers in the U.S., which has been *widely reported on* over the last few months. vogue.com/article/spanis…
Again, this "but poc support Trump so our racism isn't racist" argument is itself racist bc it fails to treat the voters that YOU baddies racialize as humans with a desire for stability & access to power. Booo!👎
One way it's obvious that this baddie "but poc" argument is in VERY BAD FAITH, also from the syllabus, is in the right wing fearmongering around immigration that increases GOP id of white by 7%. Not an accident, kids.
4) Claiming that I'm promoting violence by *observing* white supremacist violence is literal enslaver rhetoric invented by proslavery apologists to attack abolitionists. Good job!
I think that's everything worth mentioning. Everyone knows I put my pronouns in the bio; I know this too bc I did it on purpose. Became a professor on purpose too. Not exactly breaking news! Now plz do everyone a favor & stop being racist reactionary little turdlets.
Sorry, one more. Saying “civil wars are bad but we are poised for something worse,” as I have done, is obviously not the same as saying “civil wars are great, whee” as you claim. I assume you baddies know that you’re lying, but plz know that you’re fooling exactly 0 ppl. 👍

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More from @wihorne

Oct 5
The case before the Court in Merrill v. Milligan may well be the Williams v. Mississippi (1898) of the 20th century, stripping voting rights away from marginalized communities for generations.
In Williams v. Mississippi (1898), SCOTUS ruled that white conservatives could strip voting rights from their Black neighbors so long as they didn't use the word race. That, btw, is the crux of Alabama's argument before the Court today.
I give a brief rundown of Williams v. Mississippi here, through which white conservatives successfully undermined the 14th & 15th Amendments, eliminating voting rights for the majority of Black Americans for more than 60yrs. truthout.org/articles/fasci… Highlighted text: "Beg...
Read 12 tweets
Oct 2
Since it’s @NFL day or wherever, a reminder that they got people sitting in jail *right now* who committed crimes of survival bc Brett Farve stole state money from the literal poorest people in the U.S.
The super rich stealing state funds, by the way, is a key part in the @NFL’s profit model from stadium schemes to the Forever Wars Flyovers. money.cnn.com/2015/01/30/new…
Read 4 tweets
Aug 26
The *extreme* unwillingness to give aid directly to Black Americans is a defining feature of American aid programs going back to the first major aid packages after slavery, when the gov't gave aid $ to FORMER ENSLAVERS who had JUST MADE WAR ON THE U.S. rather than to Black folks.
Even this white- & ex-enslaver-administered aid was too much for white conservatives, who denounced the aid work of the Freedmen's Bureau as an attempt "to keep the Negro in idleness at the expense of the white man." A racist campaign poster used by white conservatives in 1866
It's a laughable claim if you know anything abt how the Bureau functioned since its whole existence was premised on forcing formerly enslaved ppl back to work on plantations. All while the gov't was giving out "homesteads" of stolen Indigenous land to white migrants.
Read 5 tweets
Aug 25
Debt & labor are primarily instruments of social control.
Making essential resources scarce while increasing surveillance, policing, & incarceration is a tactic of social control.
None of these things are *necessary* nor are they inevitable. Rather, they are systems created by the powerful to cement their power in perpetuity.
Read 4 tweets
Aug 23
I bring up the Haitian Revolution frequently bc it plays a major role in U.S. history, one long hidden by those in power. It also shows how targeting vulnerabilities in systems of oppression empowers exploited ppl to achieve liberation.
The relationship between that whitewashing effort & the potential for liberation is no accident. The revolution threatened white supremacist fantasies of racial hierarchy, something those in power could never accept. drwilliamhorne.substack.com/p/torchbearers…
Something that fascinates me abt the public memory of the Haitian Rev is that it's crucial for white nationalists, who are obsessed w/the 1804 massacre as an alleged example of Black violence. There's, um, some stuff they're leaving out.
Read 9 tweets
Jul 25
Perhaps the thing that frightens me most abt Republicans' racist education movement is its historical predecessor in the late 1800s & early 1900s corresponded with the advent of lynching & the codification of an apartheid state in Jim Crow.
Republicans can't actually keep people from learning things just like they can't actually keep people from getting abortions. But what they absolutely can do & ARE DOING RIGHT NOW is use the state to expand & cement racial oppression.
This is why it's so important that we understand what they're doing right now in our schools & how it connects to a larger system of power. @ProfesoraLMO's essay shows clearly what's at stake. 👇 drwilliamhorne.substack.com/p/words-matter…
Read 7 tweets

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