There's been some discussion lately on our corner of the internet about propositional nationalism in the United States, our historical and current white majority, immigration myths and related topics. A lot of us believe in some form of white nationalism—even if we are hesitant to call it that—or at the very least, the idea that a white American identity is or should be a positive thing. Over at my personal blog I started to organize my own thoughts about what defines us. In short, we're white, English-speaking, and have become native to North America. That must be the basis for our identity as a group. We are Anglo-Americans, not something esoteric but a people with a history on this continent. In the mainstream view of things, however, we are a people who only have an identity when we are needed as a bogeyman: privileged racist white male shitlord oppressors.
If you buy into a negative white identity, you might be on the wrong website. The biggest problem with undoing this narrative is that we have thus far failed to advocate for ourselves in the realm of identity politics, where we are in constant conflict with a coalition of rent-seekers. Pathological altruism in action. Our position will only worsen as our majority shrinks to a plurality and thereafter, perhaps a minority. Every vote counts, our share of those votes is shrinking, and we aren't voting for our interests.
Enter metapolitics. We need to compile and spread our ideas. Namely, that we exist, we ought to exist, and we must compete to exist. It's something so basic yet something we've on the whole forgotten. The Theodore Roosevelts and Lothrop Stoddards and Madison Grants of the world have passed and white racial consciousness itself has gone into a marked dormancy since the world wars. If we are going to accept white nationalism as the vehicle for white survival and flourishing, despite the fact that widespread support for it is no longer fait accompli, we need to ask ourselves how to get or get back there.
I think there's a lot to be learned from the 19th century, which might not sound immediately obvious or intuitive unless you're familiar with nationalism. In many ways, nationalism became a secular religion and was something that needed to be cultivated by writers, thinkers, composers, artists, clergy, statesmen, soldiers, and of course, blood and iron. Nationalism created the world we see today, and has manifested differently for each people. If religion exists in your nation, as Christianity does for so many white Americans, you can incorporate it and if not you must build an alternative. I do not think that Christianity alone can revitalize white America. We need a new narrative about an extant people. A purpose on earth and not in heaven. Explicit meaning where it was only implicit. Nationalism is about a people, their ancestors, and their future. Everything else is subordinate to that.
We exist and we've been around for a while. We might not think about it too often or too deeply in our world of endless entertainment and mass consumption and dank memes, but we came from somewhere. The term “Anglo-American” has been in use since at least the time of Tocqueville, who used it in his landmark work, Democracy in America, to refer to the majority of the American population, their society and culture. That was almost two hundred years ago, however, and terms of identity in the United States always seem to be in flux. We are indeed a nation of immigrants, predominately of Northern European origin, especially British, Irish and German. This group made up most of our foreign-born population from the earliest days of North American settlement through the nineteenth century, before declining relative to Southern and Eastern European, Jewish and other national origins in the early 20th century. After 1965, immigration was legally opened to the majority non-white world. Stoddard's inner dykes had been breached after decades of yielding the outer dykes through decolonization. As a result, the majority of today’s immigrants reflect the global population insofar as less than 10% are coming from Europe. Right now we're nationally at around 62% (non-Hispanic) white, down from almost 90%. The United States is projected to lose its white majority in a few decades. New York legislator Emanuel Celler (...ler ...ler) was the architect of that 1965 immigration law, but I digress.
What’s important is that America’s English-speaking or anglophone white majority was formed by immigration, became indigenized or native to this continent, and have a European origin rather than simply an English one. The founding peoples of the United States were white/European and mostly Protestants of British origins (English, Scottish, Scots-Irish, etc.), but even then there were other Europeans in the colonies, especially of German, Irish, Dutch, or French stock. Over time, an essentially new people were created in the United States, racially white like Europeans, but an ethnic mixture of those Europeans. Anglo-Americans are thus intra-racially mixed at the individual and national level. A salient example of that is the Roosevelt family, who rose to prominence in national politics centuries after the first Dutch patroons settled in New York and by that time were Dutch in surname only. They became Anglo-Americans.
The Evolution of Anglo-America
There was a time when indeed Anglo-American could be taken to just mean America’s British derived population, who were a majority at the time of independence. But immigration changed all that and today the plurality white ancestry is German. In the nineteenth century, spurred by famine and economic malaise, millions of Catholic Irish arrived in the United States, as well as millions of Germans and smaller numbers of Scandinavians for other reasons. Later they were joined by Italians, Poles and other Europeans. All in time would speak English and intermarry, and dimly remember their ancestral roots.
So how do we define Anglo-Americans in 2015? I define it as a people of white European descent who are from the United States (or Canada) and speak English both fluently and natively. Bonus points will be awarded for English or Scottish ancestry. Ultimately, one’s assorted European heritages are not critical in defining a white American identity, as we are no longer in Europe. What is useful is to have a term that is our own and reflects who we are, indigenized, intra-racially mixed white Europeans in North America who speak English.
Anglo-American reflects this identity in that it encompasses the origin of our language, our culture, our institutions, our legal system and many other things which we received from Britain/England and modified to suit our needs on this continent. Anglo-American is not a race but a white cultural group in the New World. Some would argue we’ve even exported it into Europe and the rest of the Anglosphere (especially Canada, Britain and Ireland).
Anglo-Americans, Non-Hispanic Whites, and European Americans
As a category, Anglo-American is a subset of white/European American, and thus a more accurate description than that or the peculiar “non-Hispanic white” when referring to the traditional people of the United States. The majority of white Americans aren’t of English descent—remember, a plurality have German ancestry—but the absolute and overwhelming majority are anglophones and follow a British/English derived culture in North America, hence Anglo-Americans. And why should we refer to ourselves as “non-Hispanic white?” That’s bizarre. Do the Japanese call themselves non-Chinese Orientals? Hispanic implies Spanish speaking or Latin American origin while Anglo implies an English-speaking or North American origin. What good is there in primarily identifying yourself as something you aren't? That's just giving in to the further deconstruction of our identity. The standard term for whites as we understand them is being funneled into "non-Hispanic white," especially in the worlds of politics and statistics. This is another example of how immigration is changing us rather than our society assimilating immigrants.
And since you can be racially white and technically Hispanic, like the current pope, it becomes even more convoluted. As I see it, to be white and to be Hispanic are seemingly contradictory things in the United States. Yet all Hispanics are white according to the FBI. There is no gringo or mestizo. But we know that isn't true. Whether one can be Hispanic and Anglo-American is a bit more challenging, but theoretically someone who is racially white, speaks English and whose ancestors are from Latin America would qualify as both.
Another reason why Anglo-American serves as a good demonym is the case of non-anglophone European immigrants to the United States and their immediate children. For example, suppose a Polish family immigrates to this country. Yes, they are European American and yes they are white. But they are from a foreign country and culture and most likely not as intra-racially mixed as Anglo-Americans. What makes us unique is that we are a European-derived group that lives in North America, not merely transplanted Europeans directly from the ancestral homeland. A white native speaker of English is thus both Anglo-American and European American. I’m sure the average Polish immigrant isn’t 1/8th Welsh, 1/4 Irish, 1/4 Italian and 1/2 German or something that doesn’t quite add up perfectly; they are likely to be mostly Polish with possible admixture from neighboring nations and not a native English speaker. Within a couple of generations they will be indistinguishable, however, from other Anglo-Americans.
Anglo-American is the term that best reflects who we are. We're white, English-speaking and native-born Americans. We've constituted the majority of this country's population since its founding. We're a product of European blood and North American soil. And we have the right to exist and advocate for our existence.