Prior to attacking a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, Patrick Crusius posted a manifesto on the notorious 8chan website in which he justifies his attack as a self-defensive response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” While this manifesto certainly contains the irrationality necessary to justify mass murder, it also repeats and reinforces language and worldviews present in public discourse, especially in discourse from white nationalists. Analyzing the Crusius manifesto in context of this white nationalist public discourse reveals how language used and worldviews perpetuated by white nationalists ultimately construct an apocalyptic meta-narrative that transforms immigrants and refugees into dangerous invaders. By repeatedly telling stories that frame immigrants or refugees as criminals, invaders, and terrorists, white nationalists have constructed a meta-narrative that subsumes localized narratives, which means that any story about an immigrant seeking refuge in the United States becomes a story of an invader and criminal. Crusius repeats and reinforces this meta-narrative in his manifesto, drawing on the foundational white-nationalist French scholar Renaud Camus, whose “Great Replacement” theory claims that non-white populations are systematically replacing white populations, leading to a “white genocide.” Ultimately, the apocalypse in this meta-narrative is not a violent, devastating end to the United States, but rather the end of a structure dominated by whiteness and Western culture. It’s this perceived apocalypse that inspires Crusius’ violent response. Ultimately, this meta-narrative capitalizes on fear to transform genuine love of nation into a volatile xenophobia that can encourage a perceived need for violent self-defense. On the scholarly front, this research may reinforce the suggestion of scholar Dana Cloud, who claims that scholars and rhetors cannot challenge white nationalist irrationality with a rational approach, but rather with localized narratives that ground the experiences of immigrants and refugees in concrete details that foster empathy and understanding.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Walton, Michael Scott, "Defending White America: The Apocalyptic Meta-Narrative of White Nationalist Rhetoric" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 8491.
white nationalism, meta-narrative, apocalypse, Renaud Camus, Patrick Crusius