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“”Gas the bikes, race war now[!]
A race war is a large-scale conflict between different groups that perceive their divisions to be primarily racial.
The phrase is usually used to describe a hypothetical conflict between whites and minorities in a predominantly white area. This idea commonly forms a part of the ideology of racist groups, often taking on an apocalyptic element; the term sometimes used by these groups is "racial holy war", or "RaHoWa". These ideas usually take the form of conspiracy theories mostly revolving around a coming war between the races, in which any event involving race relations (or any event at all) is shoehorned into a narrative purporting that these events suggest growing racial tensions that will inevitably lead to all-out war.
Notable race war theories
A race war was predicted by Charles Manson, a scenario which he dubbed "Helter Skelter". Bolstered by his bizarre interpretations of Beatles lyrics, Manson claimed that black people would wipe out the rest of America's population - all except Manson and his Family, who would be hiding in the desert. The black victors, Manson felt, would realise that they were incapable of ruling and so the Family would be able to take over the nation.
Neo-Nazi Ben Klassen wrote frequently on a proposed race war, and collected some of his articles in the 1987 book RaHoWa! This Planet is All Ours. "When a people stoop so low as to abjectly bow to the traitorous power structure to 'honor' Martin Lucifer Koon as a hero above their own traditional White heroes, (Washington, Jefferson, etc.) then it is time to declare open war", he wrote. "We must now either wage a Jihad of our own or perish miserably in a worldwide flood of mud, just as surely as 22,500 people in Colombia perished in a local deluge".
In the USA, many racist conspiracy theories have revolved around the notion of a "black uprising," in which the entire African-American population will rise up to become the dominant race and/or kill off the whites. The common motivation alleged to be behind these secret plans is to take revenge for slavery. The details of this conspiracy have changed through history, but this common element remains.
Many slave owners living in The South before the Civil War were incredibly paranoid about potential slave revolts. These fears were driven by the actual occasional slave revolt or a slave who ran away or attempted to kill his master in some way, such as through poisoning his food, as well as larger-scale foreign slave revolts such as the 1804 Haitian Revolution in which the victorious slaves killed nearly all of the white population of Haiti. Slave owners often slept with their guns, formed militias, and built shelters in case of a revolt. Whites actually attempted to suppress conspiratorial rumors and reports of actual unrest by slaves in the press in the belief that the slaves would be encouraged by such reports. They believed that slavery was a "civilizing" institution and that, without it, the blacks would run amok and widespread acts of violence would follow. There was also a constant fear of Northern abolitionists secretly inciting slave rebellions.
During Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era, racial conspiracy theories were driven by the black brute mythos. Various theories circulated about black usurpation of all levels of government, the destruction of "white racial purity" through miscegenation, and imminent war between the races. Fabricated stories of black crime fueled racist paranoia and led to race riots, lynch mobs, and moral panics. The slave owners' militias gave way to paramilitary organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. Black culture was considered to be Satanic due to the proliferation of syncretic religions and practices like voodoo and various African traditions. In the early 20th century, the use of certain drugs among blacks, especially marijuana, led to calls for their criminalization. It was believed that blacks would corrupt the youth of the nation, bringing them under the influence of Satan himself, through their deadly reefer and nefarious music, blues and jazz!
Civil Rights era
While the various conspiratorial claims from earlier times survived into the post-World War II era, the new and improved racist conspiracy theories involved Civil Rights organizations being part of a secret communist plot. This played into the general McCarthyism of the era as well as the notion that blacks were susceptible to "outside influences" (just replace abolitionists with Reds). Red-baiting was a common tactic among segregationists. Rock 'n roll and R&B replaced jazz and blues as Satan's favored music of the day.
Riots in black ghettos in the mid-to-late-1960s lead to increased concern over race-based civil disorder, and the federal government took steps to prevent and mitigate future riots.
Many of the conspiracy theories circulating on the birther and hard wingnut circuit recycle many of the tropes from yesteryear. Besides denying Obama's citizenship, some conspiracy nuts have attached a variety of other theories to their birtherism. These generally revolve around the idea that Obama is a black supremacist intent on extracting reparations from the American public. Quotes from his books are often cherry-picked or fabricated to "prove" this. Red-baiting continues to be a common theme. "Obama as black radical" is also a popular trope, with the Jeremiah Wright incident being trumpeted and attempts to tie Obama in with the Black Panthers being made, such as the New Black Panther case, photoshopped images of Obama as a Black Panther, and rumors that he is secretly related to Malcolm X. The really cranky versions of this theory posit that Obama is attempting to implement a black police state. This conspiracy theory claims that he stole the 2008 election with the help of ACORN and recasts the FEMA concentration camps as prisons for white people that will inevitably be locked up by Obama's secret army. (Continuing with the music theme, rap and hip-hop have replaced rock and R&B as the current-day musical bogeyman, as demonstrated by the "Common incident.")
Race riots as a result of the Michael Brown shooting and the death of Eric Garner reignited fears of racial conflict inside the United States.
Extremist Black Racists
Fringe elements within the black community, such as some members of the New Black Panthers, periodically encourage wide-scale uprisings of blacks against whites (or members of other races, most especially Asians, though sometimes Hispanics as well). Most blacks are not interested in broad-scale societal upheaval.
Outside the US
Depending on one's definition of "race," the term "race war" could be used to describe several modern conflicts and genocides. For example:
- the Israel-Palestine conflict and the First and Second Intifadas
- the Rwandan Genocide
- the Darfur conflict in Sudan
- the repressive white government of Rhodesia, followed by the expulsion of white farmers from Zimbabwe after the fall of the regime
Certain ethnic nationalists in Europe have speculated on a future conflict between white European natives and foreigners, resulting in such
semi-coherent incoherent drivel as this being written:
“”us English are about 10million? adults and youth. how many are against us, mulsims, coco pops in general, lefties, those with splinters maybe? if our 10 million faught against the others, how many would survive? how many muslims would survive, their enemy is bigger for sure, but who's side would the splinters and lefties side with? we know from the euro 2004 election that 800,000 voted bnp, 2.6m voted ukip, so 3.4 million voted for independence. ok, 1 or more million conservative voters maybe on our side and some old labour movers if push come to shove, and not forgetting the people who don't vote, so 10 million might be accurate. will our 10mill beat of the rest? will the elite rulers support us in the thick of battle? i would think so, i can't imagine the Queen wanting a non white country to rule. our best tool is the forces, you'd think 90% would be on our side? 80% at least. but lets not forget, those very elitists encouraged the multicultural experiment and aren't doing much to stop it. 1 mill of us, 1 mill muslims, 1 mill of several other cultures keeps the population divided, easy to rule over.
|—Anglo-Saxon Foundation member "mistergoode"|
Race wars in fiction
A role-playing game entitled Racial Holy War was created by Rev. Kenneth Molyneaux, and revolved around white heroes battling "Repulsive Latrinos" [sic], "Retarded Niggers", "Camel-Riding Sand Niggers", "Asinine Gooks" and "Perverted Kikes". In addition to the vile subject matter, the "game" "rules" are so poorly designed as to render it unplayable. It is generally considered the second-worst RPG of all time. You seriously don't want to know what could be worse than Racial Holy War, as such knowledge is usually fatal.
On a similar note, the video game Ethnic Cleansing depicts a race war in an incredibly bizarre manner. The game follows a single white guy as he wanders about shooting at blacks, Mexicans and Jews, before eventually reaching the end boss, a bazooka-wielding Ariel Sharon.
- The Coming Race War, Feministe
- Entry for "slave revolts," excerpted from Conspiracy Theories in American History, ed. Peter Knight.
- The Texas Slave Insurrection Panic of 1860 and Secession, H-Net
- One example: Alwyn Barr. The Texas "Black Uprising" Scare of 1883. Phylon, Vol. 41, No. 2, 2nd Qtr., 1980
- Red- and Black-baiters Unite, H-Net
- Rush Limbaugh's "Reparations" Crowing Hits a New, Racist Low, Steve Benen
- Coil of Rage, Snopes
- Surprise Party, Snopes
- Is Obama the secret son of Malcolm X? Israel Insider
- The Obama Deception is commonly cited as "proof" of this.
- Tone Def Poetry Jam segment on The Daily Show
- But if you don't place much value on your sanity, it's this.