Multiculturalism and the Racialization of Politics in the United States

Kevin MacDonald
Occidental Observer
November 6, 2013

The West is burning.
The West is burning.

This is a recent talk which was intended as a  general overview and designed to appeal to the unconverted.

My background is in evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychologists study how the human mind has been shaped by the needs of survival and reproduction over long expanses of evolutionary time. When we look at how the human mind actually evolved, there are troubling implications for multiculturalism.

Social Identity Processes

There are several systems that are relevant for how people respond to others from different groups, but I think the most important one stems from social identity theory. An early form of social identity theory was stated by 19th-century anthropologist William Graham Sumner, who concluded:

Loyalty to the group, sacrifice for it, hatred and contempt for outsiders, brotherhood within, warlikeness without—all grow together, common products of the same situation. It is sanctified by connection with religion. Men of an others-group are outsiders with whose ancestors the ancestors of the we-group waged war. . . . Each group nourishes its own pride and vanity, boasts itself superior, exalts its own divinities, and looks with contempt on outsiders. Each group thinks its own folkways the only right ones, and if it observes that other groups have other folkways, these excite its scorn.

This essentially states that for humans, identifying as a member of an ingroup is a source of conflict with other groups. We are all aware that around the world there are many countries that are engulfed in conflict stemming from religious and ethnic differences—from different social identities. Right now the civil war in Syria is a good example, pitting Sunnis against Shiites, and within these larger groupings there are particular ethnic groups, such as Alewites, Arabs, Kurds, Druze, and Assyrians. Azerbaijan is no stranger to ethnic conflict, as in the war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

In Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan, American military interventions were justified to the American people and to the world in moral terms — as promoting democracy and human rights. However, the results have done nothing to reduce the ethnic and religious divisions within these societies, and there is no end in sight for armed conflict and terrorism. After 10 years of occupation by American forces, we read about daily bombings in Iraq in which dozens of people die.

Nevertheless, the ideology that multiculturalism is a superior form of social organization is dominant among American elites and throughout the West with the result that these societies are actively seeking to have increasing ethnic diversity. Those of us who oppose this policy are labeled as “racists” and “haters,” but the belief that increasing diversity is linked to greater conflict is well established by scientific research.

There has been a substantial amount of psychological research related to groups. A study by Sherif et al. is classic. They found that when randomly chosen groups of boys engaged in between-group competition, group membership became an important aspect of personal identity. The groups developed negative stereotypes of each other and were transformed into groups of “wicked, disturbed, and vicious” children.

Remember, these groups were randomly chosen and therefore much less emotionally compelling than naturally occurring ethnic or religious groups where people are born into them and have a long history of being socialized within the group. It’s clear from this study that fear and dislike of outgroups are easily developed.

Social identity research shows that people are highly prone to identifying themselves with groups. There is a tendency to conceptualize both ingroups and especially outgroups as more homogeneous than they really are. That is, we ignore differences among outgroup members and we exaggerate their negative qualities. The stereotypic behavior and attitudes of the ingroup are positively valued, while outgroup behavior and attitudes are negatively valued.

The result of these categorization processes is discrimination in favor of the ingroup; beliefs in the superiority of the ingroup and inferiority of the outgroup; and positive emotional preference for the ingroup and negative feelings directed toward the outgroup. We see these things even in randomly constructed groups, but these tendencies toward ingroup cohesiveness and devaluation of the outgroup are exacerbated by real conflicts of interest between naturally occurring groups.

These studies attest to the power of “groupness” in the human mind—the tendency for even the most randomly constructed groups to elicit discrimination against outgroups. The implication is that ethnic- and religious-based groups, which are not at all randomly constructed, have much stronger tendencies toward negative attitudes toward outgroups.

As an evolutionary psychologist, I have described several sources of evidence that social identity processes are a universal feature of the human mind.

Social identity processes also are exacerbated in times of resource competition or other perceived sources of threat. This has grave implications for ethnically and religiously divided societies. Relations between groups may be fine when economic prospects are good for everyone, but in times of crisis there is competition between groups for resources. Anthropological research on pre-state societies has found that “hard times” and expanding populations are often associated with warfare. On the other hand, external threats tend to reduce internal divisions and maximize perceptions of common interest among ingroup members.

It is one thing to encourage multiculturalism in a society with a large and stable ethnic majority. I am all for treating minorities equitably and without discrimination. There is no question that legal prohibitions and mass media messages can have the effect of blunting the most extreme forms of intergroup conflict and hostility.

However, it is quite another thing to encourage multiculturalism as an ideology of mass immigration that will make the former majority into a minority. Under these circumstances, the majority will be rightly concerned about loss of sovereignty and fear of domination by other groups.

This bears emphasis. Throughout many parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East, there are multiethnic societies. In many cases these groups have lived together for hundreds of years, not always harmoniously but far more commonly in relationships of dominance and subordination. In the contemporary world, we see some of the governments of such societies loudly proclaiming their commitment to multiculturalism and their historical diversity. For example, Azerbaijan speaks proudly of its commitment to peaceful tolerance of non-Azeri ethnic groups. But no Azeri would advocate an immigration policy that would admit other peoples so that the Azeri majority would become a minority. Recently, Azerbaijan has announced that it will pursue any and all means to regain the Nagorno-Karabakh region taken by Armenia 20 years ago. One million Azerbaijanis left the area rather than be ruled by the Armenians. For their part, the Armenians have destroyed historical monuments and other cultural remnants of the Azeri presence in the area. These Azeris  have implicitly rejected a multicultural solution in which they would be a majority dominated by an Armenian minority—for good reason.

Historically, there are many such multicultural situations that have led to one ethnic group dominating others. It is certainly understandable that ethnic groups would fear being dominated by other groups which would result if there were a change in the ethnic status quo. In many parts of the world, there are bitter memories and a long history where one group dominated another. Right now Syria is dominated by a Shiite Alawite minority that was persecuted for centuries by a Sunni majority. This creates an unstable situation where ethnic/religious conflict is likely to emerge, with horrific consequences for the side that loses.

Given this situation, no one should be surprised that there is a civil war raging in Syria or that the Alewites will fight to the end to hang onto power because they know the consequences of becoming an ethnic minority dominated by other ethno-religious groups that have already announced their hatred for them. Indeed, it has been widely reported that a slogan among the rebels is “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave.” In the background of such conflicts looms the possibility of expulsion and genocide.

The West Opts for the Multiculturalism of Displacement of Traditional People and Culture

Despite the long history of ethnic and religious conflict between groups, the West has embarked on a path of officially promoting a new type of multiculturalism resulting from high levels of immigration of ethnic groups from around the world. Population projections in many Western countries, including the United States, show that as a direct result of these policies, the traditional peoples of these areas will be minorities in societies dominated by their ancestors, in the case of Europe, for thousands of years. Such a situation is unprecedented in human history—the voluntary ceding of ethnic and cultural dominance to other groups, many with historical hatreds against them.

This revolution has been a top-down revolution: the impetus for the shift toward displacement-level immigration and for multiculturalism has come from hostile elites centered in the media, academia, and politics. This has been true throughout the West. For example, in America polls of European-derived peoples, who formed approximately 90% of the population 50 years ago, have consistently opposed non-White immigration. The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 which opened the door to non-European immigration, was specifically advertised as having no effect on the ethnic balance of the country. However, immigration policy was formulated by political elites and strongly favored by the media, non-White ethnic lobbies, the academic world, and some business interests. Individuals who oppose these policies are labeled “racists” and “extremists” and they are depicted as psychiatrically impaired and immoral.

Those who oppose these policies are also in danger of losing their jobs or even going to prison. Throughout the West, there are strong sanctions against people who violate the norms of “political correctness.” People who publicly disagree with multiculturalism and displacement-level immigration or criticize non-White ethnic groups or call attention to the power of certain ethnic groups have lost their jobs or had major setbacks in their careers. In many Western countries but not the United States, there are laws against publicly expressing such attitudes, resulting in fines or prison sentences for those who violate these norms.

The sanctions against violating the norms of political correctness have resulted in a gap between people’s explicit, conscious attitudes on race and their implicit, unconscious attitudes—implicit Whiteness. These implicit attitudes may be unconscious, but they do affect behavior. Whites in America are coalescing into groups and activities with other White people, but these actions are not explicitly labeled as White because to do so would violate the norms of political correctness. In the face of overwhelming sanctions on White racial identity in the post-World War II Western world, Whites have adopted a variety of explicit identities which serve as the basis of White association and community. All of these identities exist under the radar of the political correctness enforced by elites in academia, politics, and the media.

There are quite a few such implicitly White identities in America, including Tea Party Republican political affiliation, NRA member, NASCAR racing enthusiast, evan­gelical Christian, and country music fan. Each of these identities allow White people to associate with other Whites and even to form a White political base without any explicit acknowledgement that race plays a role. If asked about their motivation for being part of these implicit White communities, Whites would say that it has nothing to do with race—that they are simply attracted to neighborhoods with better schools or to the Republican political ideology of small government.

Implicit White communities have become an increasingly important part of the American landscape. An important implicit White commu­nity results from residential segregation resulting from “White flight”—the phenomenon where White people have moved away from neighborhoods as Blacks or other groups moved in. As sociologist Kevin Kruse notes about White flight, “at the dawn of the twenty-first century, America found itself dominated by suburbs and those suburbs dominated by the politics of White flight and urban secession.”

Part of this phenomenon stems from Whites’ diminished willingness to contribute to public goods, because the beneficiaries are dispro­portionately non-White minorities. Race is never part of the explicit rhetoric of White flight, which tends to be expressed as opposition to the federal government, the welfare state, taxation, and the desire for better schools, or even perceived moral issues like abortion and homosexuality. But at the implicit level, the desire for White communities and the aversion to contributing to public goods for non-Whites are the overriding motivations. The recent US government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act was widely perceived as motivated by Whites concerned that poor non-Whites would disproportionately benefit from the law, while it would increase taxes on Whites.

White flight is part of the fragmented future that lies in store for the U.S. and other Western countries with high levels of non-European immigration. It is a well-established finding that the more ethnically mixed a population becomes, the greater is its resistance to redistributive policies, as demonstrated by Frank Salter and others. For example, a study of donations to the United Way of America charity found that White Americans give less when their communities are more than 10 per cent non-White. Sociologist Robert D. Putnam has showed that the greater the racial diversity of a community, the greater the loss of trust. People living in homogeneous areas like New Hampshire or Montana are more involved with friends, the community, and politics than people in more diverse areas.

An important trend resulting from multiculturalism is that Western societies are now becoming organized more on the basis of race. In the past, political parties formed on the basis of class (e.g., in the U.S., working class Whites tended to vote Democrat, while business and professional classes tended toward the Republicans). Political affiliation is now much more determined by racial identity. In the United States, the Republican Party has become the party of White Christians. In 2004 and 2006, White evangelical or born-again Christians made up a quarter of the electorate, and 78 percent of them voted Republican despite the fact that most were lower middle class.

The mirror image of this is that other ethnic groups are coalescing into a non-White voting bloc centered in the Democratic Party to an even greater extent than Whites are gravitating to the Republican Party.

In 2012, 80% of non-Whites voted Democrat and around 65% of the European-descended Americans voting Republican. These patterns were apparent in both sexes and all age categories, although less extreme among White women and young Whites. This means that very large numbers of working class and middle class Whites are voting Republican even though the Republican Party has historically been the party of the business and professional classes and has done nothing for its White working class voters of recent decades. In general, the percentage of Whites voting Republican has increased by 1.5% every 4-year election cycle.

These increases have come even as the economic status of Whites has deteriorated. These Whites are not voting Republican for economic reasons. Indeed, the policies pursued by elites in the Republican Party are often opposed to their economic interests. Rather, they vote this way because of their implicit racial identity. They do not consider themselves part of the “rainbow coalition” that has formed in the Democratic Party.

Politics has become racialized in other Western countries as well as a result of immigration, where parties of the left have favored immigration, at least partly because immigrants vote for them. That is, racial and cultural identity become more important for voting behavior, with the result that political parties become increasingly identified along racial lines.

In France, 93% of Muslim immigrants voted for the Socialist Party, providing the difference in the recent election that brought François Hollande to power. In the U.K., immigrants tend to vote for the Labour Party, and the Labour Party was responsible for a surge in immigration when Tony Blair was Prime Minister. Research into voting patterns conducted for the Electoral Commission after the 2005 general election found that 80 per cent of Caribbean and African voters had voted Labour, while only about 3 per cent had voted Conservative and roughly 8 per cent for the Liberal Democrats. The Asian vote was split about 50 per cent for Labour, 10 per cent Conservatives and 15 per cent Liberal Democrats. As one commenter noted, “Labour’s great gift to the British people is the poisonous legacy of tribal politics.”

These enormous shifts in the political structure were consciously pursued by elites but not discussed publicly because they were aware that working class White voters would reject them.

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”. … “But ministers wouldn’t talk about it. In part they probably realised the conservatism of their core voters: while ministers might have been passionately in favour of a more diverse society, it wasn’t necessarily a debate they wanted to have in working men’s clubs in Sheffield or Sunderland.” (see here)

Notice here that the Labour Party did not publicly announce their motives because they did not want to offend their White working class voters. Indeed, “Even the Labour government’s own survey last February showed that 77 per cent of the public wanted immigration reduced, including 54 per cent of the ethnic communities, while 50 per cent of the public wanted it reduced ‘by a lot’.” As throughout the West, immigration and multiculturalism are top-down phenomena that are opposed by the great majority of native Whites. As a result, deception and lack of information have been critical to the success of these policies. In addition, there has been constant propaganda from the media and laws that penalize ideas and behavior in opposition to immigration and multiculturalism.

Here is another example of the gap between elites and the rest of society, David Goodhart, a liberal journalist, critiquing massive immigration into the UK:

There has been a huge gap between our ruling elite’s views and those of ordinary people on the street. This was brought home to me when dining at an Oxford college and the eminent person next to me, a very senior civil servant, said: ‘When I was at the Treasury, I argued for the most open door possible to immigration [because] I saw it as my job to maximise global welfare not national welfare.’ I was even more surprised when the notion was endorsed by another guest, one of the most powerful television executives in the country. He, too, felt global welfare was paramount and that he had a greater obligation to someone in Burundi than to someone in Birmingham. … [The political class] failed to control the inflow more overtly in the interests of existing citizens.

Such high-mindedness is an attempt to fit into a moral community as defined by their peers among the elites of British society. Standing up for the interests of the native British would have made him a moral pariah, with likely effects on his career prospects. An evolutionist can only marvel at the completely unhinged altruism on display here, assuming the speakers  are native White Brits. Countries whose policies ignore the good of their own people are surely headed for disaster. Such altruism is nothing but a recipe for evolutionary extinction.

The Inculcation of Guilt among Whites

I have noted that multiculturalism and the ideology of massive non-White immigration are well-entrenched in the media. One aspect of this is that the media produce a drumbeat of messages that encourage Whites to feel guilt about their past and for opposing immigration and multiculturalism. The media is replete with depictions of Whites as inflicting harm on non-Whites historically and in the contemporary world. The history of slavery and segregation of African Americans is a particular focus of the media. Another focus is the persecution of Jews during World War II. Even though America did not perpetrate the Holocaust, there is the implication that National Socialism was a product of Western civilization, so that Western civilization itself has no moral legitimacy and therefore cannot be defended.

The result has been that White Americans have been made to feel guilt about their culture. Any objection to non-White immigration and the moral superiority of multiculturalism is then regarded as morally debased—as supremely wicked. As a result, opposition to these trends has been muted and almost non-existent in the mainstream media and among mainstream politicians and academics.

Not only are anti-White messages prestigious, they are also badges of moral rectitude. Displacement-level non-White immigration has become a moral imperative. To dissent from such policies is to place oneself outside the moral universe of the contemporary West.


Western societies have embarked on an entirely novel program of combatting the interests and attitudes of the majorities of their native populations. This has been accomplished by constant propaganda inculcating guilt in those who diverge from the elite consensus and by penalties such as job loss and even prison for those who disagree publicly. At the same time, native White populations are coalescing in organizations that are implicitly White, so that Western societies are becoming increasingly racialized.

My view is that in the long run these race-based coalitions are unstable and that there will be high levels of conflict in these societies, with unpredictable consequences. The history of ethnic and racial conflict has often been bloody, and the history of projects rationalized with a high level of moral idealism, such as the present policies of immigration and multiculturalism, have quite often led to disaster for peoples not having power. This is surely the lesson of communism—rationalized with high moral idealism, but resulting in the murders of tens of millions of people.