“If you live in a majority white nation it may be difficult for you to comprehend the plight of our white brothers and sisters around the world. Even in ‘white’ nations, we are soon to be the minority race…
“Whether you like it or not, people of non-white heritage have a real hatred for those of European ancestry (white people). White people make up less than 10 per cent of the world’s population. As our numbers continue to decline, and our borders become even more porous, where do you think that leaves white children?”
These words were not penned by the now infamous James Alex Fields Jr, who decided to drive his car into a group of counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
They were not written by one of the men who stood beside him, holding a tiki torch in his right hand, while chanting “White lives matter”.
They were not written by a young, white, neo-nazi man with a well-ironed collared shirt and an off-putting undercut.
Listen: Mia Freedman and Amelia Lester discuss white supremacy. (Post continues…)
They were written by a woman.
Rachel Pendergraft is a spokeswoman for The Knights Party, an organisation that describe themselves as “the premier voice of America’s white resistance”. Her words are taken from her personal blog, a small corner of the Internet I urge you not to visit.
In Charlottesville, Virgnia, just after 1pm on Saturday, a 31-year-old woman named Heather Heyes was killed when Fields’ Dodge Challenger drove into a crowd of people peacefully protesting in favour of civil rights.
The subsequent images that were splashed across our front pages and homepages, featured young neo-fascist men.
Images like this went viral:
This, we argued, was the face of neo-nazism in 2017. They were white. They were college educated. They were young. They don't dress like the KKK, and sometimes they even wear suits. Most importantly, they were all men.
But perhaps we should have looked a little more closely.
Laura Smith argued for The Cut, loud men "absorb nearly all the media glare on white nationalism, creating the impression that this is a single-sex movement, and as many have pointed out, the white supremacists who rallied on Saturday were mainly men."
But women, whether it was in Virginia on Saturday, or in Texas in the 1920s, have always been there.
On the Vanguard America Women's Division website (an offshoot of the white nationalist organisation, National Vanguard) a contributor writes, "We are willing to put the needs of our own race ahead of ourselves. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It is our duty to have many strong, intelligent, virtuous white children to keep our movement going strong. This will only be possible when women return to the home and take up their roles as wives and mothers, leave the men’s work to the men and support them in their hardships as they support us in ours."
Many white supremacist women seem to understand their role as fundamentally different to men's. In June of this year, Vanguard America tweeted, “The woman has her own battlefield. With every child that she brings into the world, she fights her battle for the nation. Strong nations grow from strong families.”
An alt-right woman who goes by the Twitter handle 'Wife With A Purpose', tweeted to her 32,000 followers on Saturday that she couldn't be with her husband at the rally, because she was at home looking after their children.
Some ppl seem confused. I'm here in the #Charlottesville area, I cannot attend the rally w/my husband bc we have 6 kids 1 of us has 2b with
— Wife With A Purpose (@apurposefulwife) August 12, 2017
She is, however, extremely vocal on Twitter, using her platform to support President Donald Trump, celebrate the primacy of white culture, and characterise Leftists as "terrorists".
'Wife With A Purpose' is the epitome of what Jamilah Lemiux meant when she tweeted over the weekend, "White women, don't think the Charlottesville photos let you off the hook for even a second. A lot of those men went home to cuddles and pie.”
But it would be inaccurate to place women just as the passive caregivers who are content behind the scenes.
Historically, women have been a driving force behind white supremacist movements. As Smith argues, in the 1920s "women composed the most influential arm of the KKK." In the last 15 years, Christine Greenwood rose as a white supremacist leader, affiliated specifically with a group known as Women for Aryan Unity. In 2002, Greenwood was charged with possession of bomb-making materials.
We would be wrong to dismiss these women as harmless.
We mustn't forget, more than half of white women voted for Donald Trump. These women are powerful.
Lana Lokteff, an alt-right woman, said shortly after Trump was elected, "Our enemies have become so arrogant that they count on our silence... When women get involved, a movement is a serious threat."
Even though we may not see them often in the foreground, and they were in the minority at the rally in Charlottesville, we must remember that white supremacy galvanises women as well as men.
White supremacy has many faces, each as deplorable as the next.