Expressions of American White Ethnonationalism in Support for “Blue Lives Matter”

Authors: David Kaplan*, Kent State University, Landon Hancock, Kent State University, Johanna Solomon, Kent State University
Topics: Political Geography
Keywords: national identity, diversity, policing, Black Lives Matter
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper will pose two related questions. What is white ethno-nationalism as it exists today within the United States and how is this sentiment expressed by ordinary people? We begin with the question of what ethno-nationalism signifies and its relation to other forms of nationalism. How is white ethno-nationalism constituted? Then we present a series of indicators that exemplify white ethno-nationalism as it exists today. To test these indicators in ordinary discourse, we show the results of a set of focus groups in a northeast Ohio county that switched from supporting Obama in 2008 and 2012 to supporting Trump in 2016. To avoid some confounding effects of gauging support for Trump, we instead base our focus groups discussions around the “Blue Lives Matter” movement which emerged as a reaction to Black Lives Matter. While this movement has framed itself as supportive of police rights, part of this has become a vehicle by which white ethno-nationalism can be expressed.

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