"The Narrative" is weaker than you think. And its digital-linguistic hegemony can be manipulated and reforged for our purposes. The current spectacle of the “White Student Union” movement in America is illuminating. Here’s how we made our memes real.
The prevailing hypocrisy that permits non-Whites and sexual outsiders of all flavors to organize subsidized and authorized campus grievance groups, while denying the same to White or male students, is blatant and fragile. Arguments for a “White Student Union” to balance this system clearly hold the moral high ground through the logic of liberalism. Indeed, many mainstream conservatives and even liberals feel comfortable criticizing this obvious double standard—at least, in theory.
Yet in practice, these groups have not really existed, so this tension has remained dormant and unexploited. The anti-White Left implicitly understands the fragility of their narrative frame. They have spent decades priming college students to reflexively attack any spring of European identity that still manages to bubble up within their minds or among their classmates. And it works really well, even as Whites constitute dwindling proportions on campuses and endure increasing anti-White harassment from out-of-control minority antagonists.
Woe to the brave, naïve co-ed who dares to register a White identity group with the petty commissars of their student-affairs committees! No matter how inclusive, respectful, and reasonable his petition to his peers, this student will be doomed for life. He will be a pariah on campus and his career will be ruined before it starts. And all because he wanted to enjoy a little cultural identity and hope for the future with his friends!
No wonder smart White kids don’t touch this stuff. Then there’s the unfortunate selection effect: Because this pursuit has been debased, mostly the debased dare to pursue it. The psychosocial status incentives here are powerful and, until now, self-enforcing.
Someone needed to hack the system. If there is no identity to attack, the normal prohibitory methods break down. In today’s immersive virtual environments of negotiable identities, and algorithmic meme transmission, this fluidity can be used to our advantage.
What was needed was a believable and upright “everystudent” that earnestly believed that openly White associations should be allowed to exist on campus (and in general). They needed to be an amicable and principled mirror image of the minority student groups on campus. Their messaging game needed to be on point and have a loud megaphone. And they needed to have backup—social proof to show the many bewildered White students drinking in the toxic brew of the enraged comment sections that they were not the only ones feeling queasy. The synthetic spectacle then imparts a real impression on observers, some of whom move to join or create real organizations in protest. This is how you meme something into existence.
First, there was Illinois. A Facebook page called the “Illini White Student Union” appeared on November 18th to fight back against what the page called the “black terrorism” of the increasingly-bold #BlackLivesMatter movement, which had blessed the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus with a protest earlier that day.
The media reaction was immediate and shrill. SJWs quickly informed a student reporter, who dutifully clutched her pearls and clucked at the administration to tear down this page at once. Campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler wasted no time in contacting Facebook to have the page removed through whatever quirk of intellectual property would get the job done.
“Disturbing and cowardly,” she called it. It upset Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson as well, who was moved to email the entire campus to explain that, while the administration supports the right to free speech, they wouldn’t particularly like to see this exact expression. In other words, they Streisanded the whole thing. A silly Facebook page that took all of 10 minutes to create was morning news at the Washington Post by Friday. Clearly, this meme had wings.
The next wave of pages built on the concept’s natural intrigue by using words and numbers to their advantage. There were around 40 or so in all, allowing for some churn in the ban-recreation ratio, in schools spanning the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia, and were created some time after November 20th.
They culture-jammed SJW-speak using Apollonian sensibilities. They spoke of “unapologetically providing a safe space for students of European descent to air their true feelings about the future of our nation,” invoked statistics about the dwindling ethnic composition of Whites on their campus and in their country, and asked their allies of color not to invalidate their historical experience. They invited followers to share their favorite Kraftwerk tracks and adorned their backgrounds with collegiate J.C. Leyendecker prints. You can love all of humanity while looking to “restore the pioneering will and greatness of our unique and virtuous people,” they said. Shouldn’t we be allowed to exist, they asked?
The key was to present the mission as a harmless lamb—one that their hysterical aggressors couldn’t wait to slaughter. Over and over, the pages responded to baseless attacks and outright threats, strongly condemning hatred, discrimination, and violence of all kinds and calling for their attackers to join them to #EndRacism. By integrating the untouchables into the sphere of victimization, these pages disarmed the SJW zombie troops’ first linguistic line of defense.
This evoked many long tirades from commenters about the long history of abuses by European peoples against everyone else (“So you think students of European descent should not be proud of their heritage?”), confused yet emphatic screeds about the reality of White privilege (“So you don’t think White students deserve to feel safe on campus?”), and all-out celebrations of Whites’ imminent demographic decline (“How small of a minority must Whites be before they can organize for their interests?”). But mostly it launched a shit show, as angry POCs and righteous self-hating Whites swarmed the comments with their far too vicious bile. Which left all of the formerly unawakened White students observing these events to wonder: Just what exactly is so controversial about my interests, anyway?
The media was played like a fiddle to broadcast the intended messages. The operators who spoke to journalists spoke carefully, emphasizing the constant death threats they were receiving and their commitment to anti-racism. The same Illini cycle played out, with student papers notifying administrators, who would make some statement denouncing White interests—“The celebration of Whiteness as a race has a particular history of racial violence, and exclusion,” informs María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo of the NYU School of Social and Cultural Analysis—which might generate more coverage in the local news, or in the case of the apparently-well-connected NYU community, all of the major elite gossip rags. (The Gawker piece is a master troll—read it in full.) Clueless reporters often reproduced the entire boilerplate WSU mission statement, but almost all of them couldn’t resist sharing some of the juiciest bits. It was chaos, Leyendecker prints and calls to awaken the European spirit were everywhere, and that’s just how we wanted it.
The savvier media flacks eventually coalesced around the narrative that these were an elaborate troll started by neo-Nazis. Oh yeah? Well the good folks at Breitbart just happened to find some “allies of color” that are involved with the WSUs at UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of British Colombia. There are men at Harvard, too. They’ve all got proof. More will come forward as the brouhaha continues—last weeks’s very fair New York Times story will make sure of that. The establishment will soon need to deal with these ideas on their merits, and I, for one, can’t wait to see how they’re going to swing it.
It’s remarkable that this kind of ridiculous, postmodern lulz hunt is what finally moved the Overton Window towards a breeding ground for White resistance on college campuses, but then again we live in absurd times. Might as well adapt.
It doesn’t matter who started them or why, whether it was “real” or a satire, spontaneous or coordinated: A few dozen Facebook pages made the concept of White Student Unions real through manipulated tension and predictable media amplification. Worst-case scenario, this particular incident fizzles out and we learn a few new tricks. If we’re sensitive to opportunities and smart about it, it can be done again. It won’t be as simple as repeating this exact formula for a different issue, although many of the strategies learned here can be modified for other purposes. Be entrepreneurial, be bold, and troll smart. Let’s have some fun with this. Our future is now!