On August 3rd, 2019, tragedy struck El Paso, Texas. With the shots of a semi-automatic rifle, 22 lives taken within mere minutes. The city, once tied by a vow to promote multiculturalism and diversity, is now torn by bigotry and hatred. But while the nation mourns, we must remind ourselves just how these situations come to fruition.
As has been a trend with many mass shooters in the past decade, the perpetrator left behind a manifesto clearly invoking white supremacist ideology. And as a white genocide conspiracy-peddler, the perpetrator stated that his sole intention was to eradicate America’s Mexican population- and that this was only the beginning. The act, which has since gained international attention, was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
In further analysis, similarities can be drawn between the manifesto of the El Paso shooter and that of the Christchurch shooter who murdered 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand. The same white supremacist rhetoric has been seen in violent mass murders. The same hatred and bigotry has been seen in the destructive behaviours that are tearing apart nations across the globe. The truth is, America is plagued by terrorism.
However, it is not the terrorism that the likes of Donald Trump have suggested. It is the kind that has culminated through centuries of American history. It is the effect of rampant nationalism, of the “America First” ideology. President Trump himself has echoed variations of the ideologies presented in the manifestos. In regard to Mexican immigrants, Trump claimed that “Mexico isn’t sending their best. They are sending criminals, rapists and drug dealers.” He also labeled the migrant caravan as an ‘invasion,’ ultimately dehumanizing immigrants.
Nationalism as a concept has proven to be detrimental in global perspectives. However, only now are people realizing how it affects the United States. Anti-Latinx rhetoric has been increasing in recent years. This is fitting, given that alt-right extremists are being given more prevalent platforms by means of social media. And in fact, the hatred doesn’t stop there- the nation’s very own leaders spout anti-Latinx rhetoric on a regular basis.
The El Paso massacre is characterized by the intense racial hate of the Latinx community. Period. While the alt-right is famed for their ability to find all sorts of euphemisms for the term ‘white supremacy’, it doesn’t change the fact of the matter. White nationalism is an issue and people need be on guard.
As a nation, we must do better. Immigrants make us a stronger nation. Ultimately, our country cannot progress until people acknowledge that this is an issue. Realizing that we have an issue with white nationalism is the first step towards progress. Realizing that our terrorism comes from within is the first step towards the reclaiming the the identities of foreigners and minorities.