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Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities

Chapter 1 The Century of Whiteshift

Minorities’ spectacles give them a clear sense of where their ethno-symbols end and national ones begin. White majorities don’t, because many of the national symbols they think about, like Thanksgiving in the US or Joan of Arc in France, double as white ones.

On the other hand, today’s young people are growing up with greater diversity, so begin with more polyglot memories. With some exceptions, such as Austria or France, they are less likely to support anti-immigration politics. If the rate of ethnic change slackens, the difference between the ethnic composition of ‘golden age’ memories and current reality will narrow, which could weaken support for right-wing populism

When the majority sees itself as having a largely mixed-race future, it may become more open to immigration. Until that day arrives, proponents can make the economic and humanitarian case for immigration, but politicians should set levels that respect the cultural comfort zone of the median voter.

Positive liberalism consists of promoting particular goals, such as autonomy or diversity, as the proper aim of human individuals and societies.33 Tolerating difference is critical for negative liberalism. Celebrating it is not.

Chapter 2 Prequel to Whiteshift: From WASP to White in American History

In this sense, many Founders considered Americans a distinct ethnic group, especially as compared to the Norman-descended British elite.

In my view it would be far healthier to permit the airing of ethno-cultural concerns rather than suppressing these, which leads to often spurious claims about immigrants

Notice how the rationale for clerical pro-immigration views changed from ‘God’s Will’ prior to 1890 to secular cosmopolitanism and pacifism after 1910. In between, many had endorsed restriction because they believed this helped workers and would ameliorate the social problems of the cities

Cosmopolitanism must manage the contradiction between its ethos of transcending ethnicity and its need for cultural diversity, which requires ethnic attachment

This chapter underscores several aspects of American ethnic history that are relevant today. First, that the US, like most European nations, has had an ethnic majority since Independence. Second, that the Anglo-Protestant majority underwent a Whiteshift in the mid-twentieth century which permitted it to absorb Catholics and Jews, members of groups once viewed as outsiders. Finally, certain ethnic groups – notably Anglo-Protestants and African-Americans – have become symbolically intertwined with American nationhood. Two thirds of Americans are not members of these groups, yet many recognize them as ethno-traditional: part of what makes the nation distinct. On the right, an ethno-traditional nationalism focused on protecting the white Anglo heritage is emerging as an important force in American politics.

Chapter 3 The Rise of Trump: Ethno-Traditional Nationalism in an Age of Immigration

If blacks left the coastal south in large numbers, conservative whites might lament a decline in the historic black presence there whereas authoritarian whites would welcome it. However, immigrant-led ethnic change galvanizes both conservatives – who dislike change – and authoritarians, with their distaste for diversity.11 Importantly, this means conservatives will be most sensitive to increases in minority share but should become less worried as the rate of change subsides.

I found that both ethnic change and raw minority levels counted at the national level – though minority change was a somewhat stronger predictor of white hostility than minority share

Social research tells us that cues from politicians and the media are often required to increase the importance of an issue for voters.30 You can be in favour of reducing immigration, but if the issue is rarely raised in the media or by politicians, it tends to remain latent in your consciousness. Only if you are living in a rapidly changing neighbourhood will the issue strike you between the eyes

Francis Fukuyama

Periodic spikes in immigration salience correspond to high levels of media reporting about illegal immigration.

Researchers find that the salience of immigration rises and falls with the number of immigration-related news stories

This reflected wealthy suburban Republicans’ predilection for low-cost, hard-working immigrants and white working-class Democrats’ opposition to it. But between 2008 and 2012 Democratic voters became 3.5 points more liberal while Republicans grew 3.5 points more restrictive. By 2016, 69 per cent of white Republicans wanted less immigration compared to only 21 per cent of white Democrats, a yawning chasm

An influential study showed that towns which received cable – which came bundled with the right-wing Fox News channel – produced a small bump in Republican vote share and a major increase of as much as 28 per cent in turnout among registered Republicans.100 The study design neatly ruled out the possibility that right-wing voters were selecting into Fox or lobbying for it because the cable was laid in an entirely random manner

Like Billy Beane in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball, we are better off ignoring gut feel and looking at the individual-level data. It’s much harder for us to digest the fact that the psychological differences between two Appalachian miners matter more for the Trump vote than the social distance between Youngstown, Ohio, and the northern Virginia suburbs.

Education is the best census indicator because it reflects people’s subjective worldview, not just their material circumstances. Researchers find that teenagers with more open and exploratory psychological orientations self-select into university

This is especially the case among authoritarian or low-openness whites, those who would be categorized as Settlers by Pat Dade. Older and southern whites also have stronger white identities, but, critically, identification as white is not related to antipathy to outgroups. This suggests that the common view that white identity leads to a dislike of minorities is misplaced

A positive feeling towards whites, much more than negative feelings towards minorities, predicts whether a white person voted for Trump or wants less immigration

Chapter 4: Britain: The Erosion of English Reserve

When the Soviet Union styles itself the vanguard of socialism, America the leader of the free world, France the ‘Eldest Daughter’ of the Catholic Church or Saudi Arabia the guiding light of Islam, these countries are engaging in what scholars term ‘missionary nationalism’.16

Some economists estimate that leaving the EU could ultimately cost Britain up to 5 per cent of its GDP. Thus I asked people about their willingness to pay to reduce EU immigration, from paying nothing and having the numbers of EU immigrants remain at the current level to paying 5 per cent of their income to cut numbers to zero. Among Leavers, 70 per cent said they were willing to pay at least some of their income to reduce EU immigration whereas only 19 per cent of Remainers were. Furthermore, 35 per cent of Leavers gave the maximum answer: they were prepared to sacrifice 5 per cent of their income to cut EU numbers to zero.104

avant la lettre

Despite the furore and public support for Powell, immigration was not a pressing issue for most. This highlights the crucial distinction between immigration attitudes and immigration salience

Once again, cultural arguments are recast in economic terms in order to comply with anti-racism norms which place boundaries on what can be expressed. These red lines shift over time, altering public opinion on immigration and support for populist-right parties. Should we push for maximal or minimal anti-racism norms? When anti-racism norms retreat, opposition to immigration or backing for populist-right parties may rise because voting for such parties or holding anti-immigration sentiments is viewed as more acceptable. On the other hand, suppressing the expression of majority ethnic sentiment is a risky strategy: if the anti-racist consensus begins to fray, memories of past suppression of grievances turns into a force multiplier for the radical right. Meanwhile, those forced to sublimate ethnic concerns have to construct secondary arguments about pressure on public services which leads to policy distortions such as denying services to immigrants. This damages the lives of immigrants without addressing majority grievances. Permitting freer expression of the majority group’s sense of cultural loss – as distinct from racist comments such as Poppy’s comments on smells – is, in the long run, probably less dangerous than repressing them.

When anti-racism norms reach beyond the bounds of what people view as fair, this can produce a backlash. ‘Racism is … a “mute button” pressed on someone while they are still crying out about a sense of loss – from a position of historic privilege, frequently in terms they have difficulty articulating,’ Gest writes. ‘Therefore, the preface “I’m not racist” is not a disclaimer, but an exhortation to listen and not dismiss the claims of a purportedly new minority

For the most part, attitudes are shaped by people’s response to perceived changes to their imagined national community, not to their locale. Our security and identity is arguably more dependent on the nation than the neighbourhood. Nations inculcate an emotional attachment to myths and symbols much more than locales do

Thus support for the populist right is the outcome of a tension between the attractiveness of the anti-immigration message and the disquiet people feel about transgressing the anti-racist taboo

As mentioned earlier, my point here is that the openness of a society to immigration is the outcome of a cross-pressuring between majority ethnic and nationalist ‘voice’ and anti-racist ‘repression’ of that voice

By compelling the media, politicians and voters to express immigration concerns in an anti-EU idiom, the anti-racism norm inadvertently contributed to a climate in which the EU became a punching bag. This helped nudge the country towards Brexit.

The increasing prominence of immigration and the rise of UKIP form the backstory to the Brexit vote

Once respondents saw that high numbers would bring faster ethnic change, opposition swiftly returned to the present 75–25 split. In other words, skill mix matters, but is overridden by concerns about cultural change.109 Given this climate of opinion, British parties are unlikely to opt for a Canadian-style system based on skills and high numbers.

Chapter 5: The Rise and Rise of the Populist Right in Europe

Reminding people of their national identity triggered an anti-immigration response showing that cultural-psychological factors like identity matter greatly for explaining immigration attitudes.22

Money, not need, largely determines who comes to the West. Poor countries send few migrants because they can’t afford to migrate. As they grow better off, more of them move. Middle-income countries send the most immigrants, but as countries pass an inflection point of $7,000–8,000 income per head, they send fewer immigrants.49

Therefore it is ethno-demographic shifts which are rotating European societies away from a dominant left–right economic orientation to a globalist–nationalist cultural axis. The West is becoming less like homogeneous South Korea, where foreign policy and economic divisions dominate, and more like South Africa, where ethnicity is the main political division.89

The Swiss case reveals that local ethnic conflicts don’t scale up to become a national problem until they are connected with the larger ideological frames which structure national politics.

In both cases, it logically cannot be the case that the immigration-driven portion of the problem of urban sprawl or pressure on council housing is more important than the problem itself. Thus what’s driving opposition to immigration must be something prior to these material concerns. Likewise, the large-sample, representative British Election Study shows that concerns over the cultural and economic effects of immigration are tightly correlated. This suggests opposition to immigration comes first (Jonathan Haidt’s unconscious ’elephant’ moves us to act) and various rationalizations like pressure on public services follow (Haidt’s conscious ‘rider’ telling us a story about why we acted as we did).17 But rationales matter. If a morally acceptable rationale is not there, this inhibits a party’s ability to articulate its underlying anti-immigration grievances. This is why restrictionists tend to don the cloak of economic rationalization.

In fact attitudes to homosexuality are a better predictor of views on immigration than education level.

Attitudes to immigration and the European Union, by contrast, have either remained static or gone in a more conservative direction since the 1960s. Thus questions pertaining to secular nationalism are following a different cohort trajectory from religion and social conservatism.

Populist-right parties must surmount people’s fears that they are thuggish extremists whose ultimate aim is to trample on the rights of minorities or threaten liberal democracy. They also struggle with how to ethically justify their opposition to immigration. Most conservative voters want less immigration but worry that this is viewed as a racist thing to do. Hence the recourse to policy arguments that focus on state priorities rather than ethnic majority grievances

The idea that the country has a traditional ethnic composition which people are attached to – what I term ethno-traditional nationalism – and which should not change too quickly, is viewed as beyond the limits of acceptable debate. This is a pity, because the ’legitimate’ arguments stigmatize minorities and are often racist in a way the ‘illegitimate’ arguments about wanting to slow cultural loss are not

This was an attempt to transform the narrative of German national identity from a ‘qualitative’ mode centred on history and culture to a ‘quantitative’ missionary nationalism based on being first among equals as the torchbearer for a universal humanitarian ideology

What keeps most from moving is the knowledge that they cannot enter a host country, as well as the hardship, cost and uncertainty of migrating. The refugees that make it to the West are a relatively wealthy, male, risk-taking subsample of the total pool of potential claimants.

Paradoxically, pressure to widen the rights of asylum seekers inside Europe makes it harder to fulfil the mission of getting people to safety. Why? Because if countries believe admitting refugees is the first step to granting permanent settlement, they will be more reluctant to allow them in

The West doesn’t have to practise what it preaches because money and geography prevent most of the world’s 60 million refugees from arriving. Paradoxically, tempering humanitarian idealism with realism so poor refugees could be evacuated would be far better for social justice than the current dispensation

Europe. The main reason Australia has to process refugee claims outside the country, where standards of care and protection fall short, is because if the claimants were processed in Australia, advocacy groups and judges would compel them to be settled. That is, they would urge authorities to grant asylum seekers access to appeals processes which would permit people to disappear into the underground economy. The same groups would then oppose deportation and support a path for the undocumented to obtain legal status. Again, tempering idealism with realism would lead to a better situation for claimants, but activists would prefer to agitate for maximalism even if this leaves refugees worse off. The focus on settling refugees who

If Western countries are the nearest countries to a conflict, they should accept an unlimited number of refugees. A precedent is the 250,000 Belgians who sheltered in Britain during the First World War then returned home in 1918. The refugee burden should be redistributed to camps further afield, with financial contributions from all rich countries. It should be made clear that there is no chance of permanent settlement outside regular immigration channels or the refugee lottery. This preserves the meaning of national citizenship while offering a safety valve to those unlucky enough to be persecuted or driven from their homes through war

Brubaker’s estimation, the anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant rhetoric in the East is more superficial and opportunistic than that in north-west Europe. Immigration is attacked because it represents an attempt at foreign interference over national sovereignty rather than due to its intrinsic threat to identity. Visegrád leaders also reference traditional mythic tropes about their countries serving as defenders of Christianity’s frontiers against the Islamic threat

Chapter 6 Canadian Exceptionalism: Right-Wing Populism in the Anglosphere

In view of Canada’s rapid ethnic change and high foreign-born population, how has it managed to avoid right-wing populism? First of all, Anglo-Canadians share the relatively pro-immigration outlook common to all Anglo settler societies, whereas Britons are more restrictionist. Second, there is the linguistic cleavage in Canadian politics. Joshua Gordon, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University, remarks that the English–French divide splits the anti-immigration constituency between Anglo-Canadians who vote for the Conservative Party and French-Canadians who vote for the separatist Bloc Québécois. This means the federal Conservatives can’t pool Anglo and French anti-immigration voters into a united voting bloc. They find it easier to bring right-wing whites and minorities together on a platform of social and fiscal conservatism.30 The Tories have cultivated close links with representatives of the country’s large Sikh and Chinese communities, for example.

The one part of Canada where a politics of ethno-traditional nationalism is on the rise is Quebec. In this predominantly French-speaking province, attitudes to immigration and multiculturalism are similar to those in Europe

By contrast, Anglo-Canadian conservative nationalism knows the culture it opposes, but not what it wishes to promote. The weakness of Canadian cultural conservatism in relation to its US counterpart reflects the collapse of the country’s loyalist tradition in the 1960s

Had the US been able to select high-skilled immigrants, its immigration politics may be more similar to Canada’s – as was true until 2015. America’s populist turn is well in train, but a European-style mainstreaming of opposition to immigration and multiculturalism is evident only within the right-wing media and Republican Party. On the left, the media and the Democrats continue to champion multiculturalism and immigration in a more unvarnished way than any European centre-left party. Much of the American left implicitly welcomes illegal immigration, which makes it even more radical than leftist parties in Australia or Canada.

This will produce a kind of Toronto-writ-large: a dynamic, low-cohesion, future-oriented society with an attenuated connection to its British and European past. So long as ethnic and income divides continue to crosscut, this configuration shouldn’t challenge the welfare state or democracy, leaving society prosperous and stable.

Chapter 7: Left-Modernism: From Nineteenth-Century Bohemia to the Campus Wars

In a fascinating Freakonomics episode, Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt explore situations, such as hiring French waiters in a French restaurant or Indian cooks in an Indian one, where an argument in favour of ethnic discrimination can be sustained. This is a similar justification to Rihanna replacing a Hispanic musician with an African-American to create an all-black ’look’ on stage – which may be defended on artistic grounds.55

Majorities may resist newcomers, but as the previous three chapters have shown, majority ‘voice’ is in tension with a second response: to repress anxieties in the name of anti-racism, the cornerstone of a liberal-egalitarian belief system that dominates Western high culture

This said, the ethical foundations of taboos are often shaky. Expressing support for atheism in Pakistan today, homosexuality in Victorian England or communism in 1950s America activated taboos that lacked a sound ethical basis or a sense of proportion calibrated to the actual danger. What’s more, there should be a space – the university – where arguments are not forbidden and can be aired and discussed rationally.

If conservative societies have dubious taboos, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that liberal societies have unjustified norms

the uncorrupted people. Within their ranks, both establishments and upstarts enforce orthodoxy through shaming and excommunication.

When a regalizing order fails to make a charge of deviance stick, the norm begins to unwind, leading to a period of intense cultural contestation. Competing groups police norm boundaries and marginalize deviants who are seen to have violated their community’s sacred values. I maintain we are currently in such a period, in which hegemonic liberal norms known as ‘political correctness’ are being challenged by both populists and centrists, some of whom are trying to install new social norms, notably those defining Muslims and cosmopolitans as deviant.

Bad arguments should be refuted by showing they have nefarious effects on people and society. Attempts to smear bad arguments as ‘hate’ without engaging with them gives them plausibility and narrows the sphere of reason and liberty.

On questions of race, the ’left’ side of the left-modernism juggernaut prevailed whereas for gender the opposite was true. Transgenderism seems to have won its right to boundary-cross because trans individuals are perceived as more disadvantaged than women. They thus have the green light from left-modernism’s moral gatekeepers to transgress female boundaries. Transracials, by contrast, have not unseated people of colour in the disadvantage hierarchy so their attempt to surmount racial boundaries was construed as insensitive

All of which suggests attitude liberalization had an enormous impact in overturning national narratives and opening Western countries up to diverse new sources of immigration

the phrase ‘politically correct’ to come into common parlance. Political correctness refers to speech violations of left-modernist taboos. Such taboos, if well calibrated to harms, have a place – transgressions of well-justified norms should be verbally condemned. But what is a reasonable tradeoff between sensitivity and freedom of expression?

The right smears non-violent Islamist ideas as ’extremism’ while the left tries to prohibit ethno-traditional nationalism as ‘hate speech’. Both reflexes are illiberal

I define racism as (a) antipathy to racial or pan-ethnic outgroups, defined as communities of birth; (b) the quest for race purity; or (c) racial discrimination which results in a violation of citizens’ right to equal treatment before the law. Let’s deal with each aspect of racism in turn

Second, racial puritanism: attachment to one’s own ethnic group or race is not, in my view, racist. However, if this translates into a zeal for purity, it results in outgroups being viewed as ‘pollutants’, which leads to ill-treatment of minorities and carries an enhanced risk of genocide. Calling one’s country white or Christian explicitly excludes minorities. It makes them second-class citizens, opening the door to maltreatment. Following this logic, it’s racist to ban all immigration and want a hermetically sealed gene pool, but not to argue for a slower inflow in order to limit cultural disorientation and allow more time for voluntary assimilation.

It’s commendable that the left has brought attention to this, for a good society should seek to minimize sources of bias while recognizing that until ’normal’ is abolished (which is impossible because of bell-curve distributions of height, looks and other traits) society will always need to work against biases towards those in the tails of the distributions. The problem is that left-modernism has established racial inequality as an outrage rather than one dimension – and not generally the most important – of the problem of inequality. If racial inequality is one facet of inequality, it should be considered alongside other aspects such as income, health, weight or age. To focus the lion’s share of attention on race and gender disparities entrenches ‘inequality privilege’, wherein those who suffer from low-visibility disadvantages are treated less fairly than those who fit totemic left-modernist categories. A white male who is short, disabled, poor and unattractive will understandably resent the fact his disadvantage is downplayed while he is pilloried for his privilege

historicist causation occurs when the outputs of a system become its inputs, reproducing the system through time

The last is especially germane in that cognate terms such as white supremacy, racism, violence and refugee have been applied more broadly in order to make moral claims to marginalize competing arguments. Some even include patriotism and capitalism under the ‘racist’ rubric. There are two issues at work here. First, whether it makes empirical sense to engage in what Giovanni Sartori, a political scientist, calls ‘conceptual stretching’. Second, whether it makes ethical sense to apply a morally charged label such as racism to new sets of phenomena, expanding the scope of a taboo and collapsing the distance between serious and minimal harm.

When the available studies show that black officers are just as likely to shoot black suspects and more likely to arrest them than white officers, we need to question simplistic majority–minority interpretations

Whether whites express and maintain their ethnic identity is tangential to white privilege. Indeed, by antagonizing those who are attached to their white identity, high immigration justified in the name of anti-racism may make it harder to build the progressive coalition that can reduce inequality of all kinds, including race.

In ploughing ahead with positive liberalism – in the form of multiculturalism and political correctness – the West is handing the enemies of liberty and equality in the East the ammunition they need to reject reform.

Chapter 8: Left-Modernism versus the Populist Right

When politicians decide what to campaign on and voters think about how they’ll vote, they may suppress their desire for greater ethnic homogeneity to adhere to the anti-racism norm. In terms of evolutionary psychology, this pits whites’ tribal drive to protect the group, i.e. the white majority, against their religious instinct to adhere to a sacred anti-racist moral code. The result is what social psychologists term the ‘dual-process’ model, in which decisions are the product of a tension between tribal and moral motivations.13

Populist success can similarly draw shy supporters out of the woodwork. An experiment by Leonardo Bursztyn and his colleagues found that 54 per cent of Americans were prepared to donate to an anti-immigration organization associated with maintaining a white majority if their anonymity was assured. This dropped to 34 per cent among those told that researchers might contact them in a follow-up. Soon after Trump’s victory, however, the difference between the open and anonymous conditions fell away, suggesting Trump’s win had altered social norms, making it more respectable to express anti-immigration attitudes.34

The danger zone, however, lies in the middle, when repression falters, perhaps due to external factors like the American invasion of Iraq, which opened the door to secessionist groups like the Kurds. During periods of repression, rebels consolidate their networks and identity, and coalesce into organizations. When the opportunity arises, they are poised to act.36

The prevailing approach to the study of ethnocentrism, ingroup bias, and prejudice presumes that ingroup love and outgroup hate are reciprocally related. Findings from both cross-cultural research and laboratory experiments support the alternative view that ingroup identification is independent of negative attitudes toward outgroups.54

First, opposing immigration and voting for right-wing populists becomes less toxic, permitting more people to vote for these parties without incurring a guilt or shame penalty. This further erodes the anti-racist norm, reducing guilt even more, increasing support for such parties once again, in a self-fulfilling spiral. The rise of the populist right and unravelling of political correctness proceed hand in hand until the supply of psychological conservatives and authoritarians – which is finite – is exhausted. In some cases, like the United States, attempts to defend taboos may even backfire, further fuelling the populist right

This again indicates political correctness is a more pressing concern among American than British populist voters.

The belief that whites were discriminated against in relation to blacks was more strongly associated with an actual Trump vote than views on immigration – even though immigration mattered slightly more in predicting a person’s warmth towards Trump

So opposition to political correctness on race probably remains a second-tier concern for most Trump voters, even if rising in prominence. This indicates that left-modernism is generating a backlash, but this is still operating indirectly through concrete policy issues like immigration more than via direct anti-PC sentiment as per the model in figure 8.3.

So long as the preferences of minority groups and post-ethnics are accommodated, it’s hard to see a problem with whites placing their group self-interest on the table as one factor to consider in a rounded immigration policy debate.

muzzling relaxed versions of white identity sublimates it in a host of negative ways. For example, when whites are concerned about their decline but can’t express it, they may mask their concern as worry about the nation-state

So while there’s a gulf over whether defending white demographic interests is racist, the overwhelming majority of Trump voters agree that certain thoughts and behaviours are racist.

The bottom line is that white liberals overwhelmingly consider white attempts to reduce immigration to be racist. Their view changes considerably when minorities adopt the same strategy or if whites seek European immigration to boost their numbers. Conservatives and minorities are also biased, but the degree of inconsistency is lower. Consider these results:

In line with their left-modernist beliefs, white educated Clinton voters have an expansive definition of racism which perceives white racial self-interest to be racist. White Trump voters generally view this as non-racist while minority voters lie somewhere in the middle.

In essence, immigration is much more of a moral issue in the West than elsewhere: divergence on the remit of anti-racist social norms distinguishes pro- from anti-immigration opinion in the West more sharply than outside it. What this suggests is that when it comes to understanding the politics of immigration, it’s just as important to grasp people’s views on the morality of restriction as it is to explain what’s motivating them to seek reduced immigration

Chapter 9: Hunkering Down: The Geographic and Social Retreat of White Majorities

7 Minorities are clearly entering heavily white areas, suggesting discrimination is not the barrier it once was. However, whites are generally not moving to high-minority areas.

In a famous article, the economists William Easterly and Ross Levine show that between 25 and 40 per cent of the difference in economic growth between 1960 and 1990 between East Asia and Africa can be explained by the fact that East Asian nations are among the most ethnically homogeneous while Africa is the most diverse.65 And, within Africa, homogeneous Botswana is considerably more prosperous than diverse Liberia. Part of this relationship runs the other way: as societies develop and cities grow, ethnic diversity declines.66

This means minority upward mobility doesn’t automatically translate into integration. Mixing housing sizes in a development may just result in a blend of wealthy and poor people from the same ethnic background living in the area

But London’s growing attractiveness made little difference to white families. In the 2000s, 20 per cent more white Britons with children – a much larger group than twenty-somethings when you count their kids – left the city than moved in.23 The cyclical pattern of moving to London in your twenties then then leaving the city to start a family is much less apparent for minorities.

Generally speaking, the affluent are more likely to be able to select the social characteristics of the places they live

Think of how unusual this is: if people moved randomly, we should see the balls gravitate to the mean. Whiter places should lose the most white people while diverse areas should gain them. Instead, we find the opposite pattern. In addition, a curve based on the square of initial white share, not a straight line, best fits the data in both cases. As the curve reaches 85–90 per cent white in 2000–2001, it appears to kink upwards

This means the heavily white wards are both very white and ethnically stable. White residents are sensitive to both white levels and ethnic change when selecting a neighbourhood. In addition, they often overestimate minority share, so may opt to move to an area that is whiter than they would actually prefer.33 The net result is a steady white flow towards the whitest neighbourhoods, districts, communities and even states.

The showcard studies imply that intolerant whites select out of diverse neighbourhoods, leaving liberal whites behind. It’s a story which makes sense on the surface and emerges strongly in qualitative research, captured well by the controversial BBC documentary The Last Whites of the East End, which aired in May 2016

What people say and do seem almost totally disconnected. Brexit-voting, UKIP-voting or Conservative-voting whites who live in diverse wards (less than 60 per cent white) are more like to say they want to move than Remain, Liberal Democrat, Green or Labour voters, but are less likely to actually do so.

The discrepancy between the showcard studies – where attitudes to diversity matter – and actual moving behaviour, where attitudes don’t, could arise from the fact that white social networks tend to steer whites towards white neighbourhoods, regardless of attitudes to diversity.

Once again, when it comes to the ethnic composition of whites’ social networks, being white matters a lot more than being liberal or conservative. Whites and minorities differ a lot in which ethnic groups they invite to dinner, but white liberals and conservatives don’t – they both inhabit predominantly white worlds, even when they reside in diverse neighbourhoods

found that diversity was linked with lower neighbourhood trust in the majority of studies, even with controls for area deprivation.

local diversity reduces local trust and attachment among whites.

This seems true of the US, where figure 9.11 shows a 90 per cent correlation between the diversity of the American population as measured by foreign-born share (the line of squares), and polarization in the House of Representatives as represented by the dots

The mechanisms seem to be the same as with immigration opinion, and reflect general patterns in the politics of population change: namely, that local conflicts don’t scale up to national conflicts unless national media and politicians become interested in local demographic shifts

It’s also the case that local mistrust doesn’t automatically scale up to the national level

Chapter 10: Mixing or Moulding? Interracial Marriage in the West

I think there’s something in this approach, but these authors can’t disentangle life-cycle and generational-turnover effects because findings are based on snapshot surveys rather than longitudinal surveys that ask people the same questions over time. UK longitudinal data shows people become more conservative as they age.8 In Britain this seems to point to a shift of around 20 points over a lifetime.9

Do tough immigration laws increase the share of Muslims taking foreign brides or grooms? Possibly. On

years. Moreover, the longer a place contains a large and stable minority population, the lower the local white opposition to immigration and the weaker its support for the populist right. These local effects are not large, but they do tell us that whites get used to a minority presence

maintained a high intermarriage rate of 27 per cent despite its increasing size. This gives a clue about the main type of intermarriage in America, which involves a white person partnered with a Hispanic. White–Hispanic unions comprise nearly half of American mixed-marriages, with

In Europe, religion is the clearest example of what the leading British sociologist Ernest Gellner termed a ‘counter-entropic’ trait that allows a group to resist assimilation

Theories of secularization claim that where there is a religious difference with the mainstream of society, religion serves as an identity marker, with religion and ethnicity reinforcing each other to the advantage of both

Rather than a radical transformation, I think it’s more likely those of multiracial background will tend to identify, and be identified, with an established racial category based on their appearance and cultural cues

I would argue this is an emergent, bottom-up process, shaped by the same forces Dawkins mentioned for colour perception. The precise nature of the boundary between groups will vary, however, with socioeconomic status and dress ‘whitening’ how an individual is perceived

In 2008, the US elected its first ‘black’ president, Barack Obama. Why was Obama black rather than just another in an unbroken line – bar Kennedy – of presidents of WASP ancestry? Mainly because the US is a white-majority society. The country’s predominant cultural gaze tends to perceive those with some African features as black. The same is true in Canada and Britain, despite their very different histories, but in black-majority Jamaica Obama would be considered part of the 7 per cent light-skinned minority

The ‘beiging’ of America due to white–Hispanic intermarriage means that the share of Americans with European ancestry is not in decline. A

These ‘mixed-race’ Hispanics have a higher socioeconomic profile than other Hispanic Americans and a significant portion tend to ‘drop out’ of the Hispanic category on the census to identify as white – which makes Hispanics seem less upwardly mobile than they actually are

This suggests mixed-race households exert a powerful integrating force, preventing whites from leaving or avoiding superdiverse neighbourhoods

Chapter 11 The Future of White Majorities

Immigration’ affects only two things: (a) the speed with which the initial milk gives way to a mix; and (b) the time it takes for the coffee and milk to blend into a latte

I explore in the next chapter. But the big picture is that we are moving towards a mixed-race majority after 2100, with Whiteshift largely complete by the late 2100s. The multicultural millennium never arrives and the ‘majority-minority’ dream evaporates as diversity declines from the 2080s. This of course depends on how the mixed group identifies, and is identified, something I’ll address later.

When race no longer distinguishes all members of white majorities from other groups, it may be that cultural styles, speech, folkways or naming practices – whether first names or surnames – take over the marking role. A person who exceeds a critical mass of cultural markers is accepted as a member

Interracial mixing may therefore just as easily increase as reduce the power of white identity.

Chapter 12: Will ‘Unmixed’ Whites Go Extinct?

Mainstream elite opinion is that white clubs are unacceptable. This is justified on the grounds that ‘affirmation and uplift are more important to a group that has been oppressed and discriminated against than they are to the dominant majority’.11 This is flawed in two respects. First, it assumes clubs exist only for political or economic rather than cultural reasons. This materialistic view of the world is hopelessly outdated after the behavioural-economics and evolutionary-psychology revolutions; it is ignorant of the history of ethnic revival in the world, which is often led by romantic intellectuals in search of meaning and authenticity.12

There are no physical colours or races, but our colour perception and linguistic evolution mean we have a set of racial categories, centred on archetypes, that may prove as difficult to dislodge as the primary colours

There is little we can consciously do to alter these categories, except at the fuzzy boundaries. We might be able to think of purple as a shade of red or a kind of blue, but we’ll never convince ourselves that what we now think of as red is the same colour as blue. Likewise with race: an Arab or Mexican could be construed as white, but this is difficult to envision in the case of a Chinese person or Nigerian

White genocide sits at the extreme end of a belief system that has much wider currency. Few believe in the full-throated anti-Semitic conspiracy theory of white genocide

Successful ideologies begin with truthful observations which strike a chord, then build a superstructure of mistruths on top of them. The same holds for the theory of white genocide

So there is truth to the white nationalists’ transformationist charge, but much of the impetus for immigration comes from liberal humanitarianism and economic laissez-faire rather than modernist millenarianism

In my Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth (2010), I argue that religious fundamentalists who reject the modern world, grow through high birth rates and retain their offspring have hit upon the most consistently successful model for success in liberal societies. So long as they are tolerated, groups like the ultra-Orthodox Jews, Amish, Hutterites, traditionalist Mennonites, Laestadian Lutherans, Orthodox Calvinists, Quiverfull neo-Calvinists and Mormons will expand rapidly

to. Whereas a traditionally religious group like Somali Muslim immigrants will reduce their fertility over a generation or two as they become modern, closed religious sects are inoculated against modernity. They’ve been bathed in it for generations and have learned to resist its charms. As a result, they lose very few members to the wider society.

If virtual reality and genetic engineering are the stuff of science fiction, and white fundamentalism, if it endures, is two centuries from taking over, where does this leave the white majority in the interim? Arguably the most important way in which unmixed whiteness will endure is through the archetypes around which an ethnic majority orients itself.

When the growing mixed-race populations of the West no longer feel on the defensive against a clear white majority, the desire to protect a European or Euro-American legacy may grow more pronounced

While a white majority depends on this, nothing is certain – whites may be unable to detach themselves from their attachment to race as a boundary marker, opting instead to become a tight-knit minority as in Mauritius. In that event, only those who pass for white will be white while many of those from a mixed background distribute themselves among the more open groups like blacks and Hispanics, producing a multi-polar, multicultural society like the Caribbean ones we encountered in the previous chapter.

Chpater 13: Navigating Whiteshift: Inclusive Majorities in Inclusive Nations

Many progressives take a ‘blank slate’ view of the public, believing that anti-immigration messages create anti-immigration sentiment. Their solution is to re-establish broad anti-racism norms in the media and politics to choke off the supply of anti-immigration messaging

Much depends on whether right-wing populists can bundle ancillary issues to their core anti-immigration appeal to lure sufficient centrist voters to form a majority.

The waning of ideological conflict after the Cold War, and the near-absence of interstate war, means there are fewer forces mobilizing state nationalism

They shouldn’t be labelled racists for holding group preferences, and minorities shouldn’t be told to stop practising identity politics if they use representative data and scientific methods to highlight discrimination.

One way to move to a positive-sum outlook is for whites to adopt a Hawaiian/Creole strategy, opening up to those of mixed background who identify with their European roots

If the pool of applicants to Britain was 99 per cent African and European Christian, South Asian Muslims would benefit from a cultural points system. In other words, this is a form of symmetrical multiculturalism designed to slow – but not stop – cultural change. The point is to avoid officially defining Dutchness or Americanness and admitting potential immigrants against that standard – which is what European countries are increasingly doing

It strikes me that there are two general models for addressing the problem of illiberal minorities. One is to have an open immigration system that doesn’t take culture into account but interferes with the rights of illiberal minorities once they are in the country, targeting them through measures such as burqa bans and panicking over their growth. That is the situation we are currently in. A second option is to have a cultural points system of immigration along the lines noted above, but to live and let live once groups are in a country. Growth is contained by the selection process, which removes the imperative for illiberal integration policies and deflates moral panics

In practical terms, the sway of left-modernism within some left-wing parties permits conservatives to win elections more often, making it harder to advance goals such as reducing inequality or mitigating climate change.

At the same time, it’s vital not to permit cosmopolitanism to become coercive. Broadening one’s tastes and moral horizons is one version of the good life, not

The problem is that the metropolitan version of nationhood alienates conservatives who prefer stability and order-seekers who prefer higher cohesion, reducing their trust in society and politics. Instead, a healthy balance must be struck which allows competing preferences space to co-exist in a climate of mutual respect. They also energize each other.

My preferred alternative is multivocalism – an idea influenced by the anthropologist Victor Turner, who used ‘multivocality’ to refer to the many meanings people attach to a symbol like the Union Flag (‘Union Jack’), which has functioned as a symbol of the mod subculture, the British far right and the Ulster Unionists of Northern Ireland.27 Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ has been an anthem for humanists, Nazis, Soviets and the European Union. If we stop thinking about national identity as a hymn sheet everyone has to sing from and begin to see it as a set of resources people shape in different ways, this opens up new vistas. Instead of a single way of perceiving the nation (i.e. ‘British values’) that is handed down by the state, national identity today is more of a bottom-up, emergent phenomenon which people take an active part in constructing. The media, sports, everyday routines and peer-to-peer conversations shape the content of popular nationhood.

Citizens connect to the nation through the particular, not the universal.

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