Social Distortion

How a Texas White Nationalist Group Draws Inspiration from Trump

They love upsetting people.
They love upsetting people. Screenshot/Twitter
A group of white nationalists that don't think they're white supremacists traipsed around the Rice University campus and placed at least four "recruitment" fliers on trees and traffic-light boxes as part of their mission to save white people from the genocide they see on the horizon.

According to Rice University police, students began reporting the fliers and chattering about them on Twitter. One flier, signed by the American Vanguard, said, "We have a right to exist" with a picture of white people's faces, and another said "Defending your people is a social duty, not an anti-social crime" with a picture of mom and child, according to Rice spokesman B.J. Almond. Others posted at Texas universities including Texas State and the University of Texas – Dallas drew inspiration from President Donald Trump.

"What Made America Great? Blood and soil. Keep it that way, join the Vanguard."

Rice University police removed the flyers because the American Vanguard never got permission to distribute them on campus, a university requirement.

The Vanguard started crawling out of the cracks (but still operates exclusively in basements, it appears) about a year ago. The purpose is to save a whole race from...well, look, they say they aren't racist, but they think the whole country should be white and that "white interests" should "come first" in a "white country." According to its manifesto, "While millions of our countrymen languish in poverty and our infrastructure crumbles, our jobs are shipped overseas and billions sent to Israel. ...The true enemy is within our walls, destroying our nation and opening our gates to the millions of outsiders who want to take all that our forefathers have created."

No, it wasn't written by Donald Trump, though we did ask the vice commander of the Vanguard, who is the leader of the Texas chapter, why so much of Donald Trump's campaign verbiage appears peppered throughout the Vanguard's recruitment materials, which are written in a fearful tone that would have you believing white people should be added to the federal list of endangered species.

(The vice commander said he couldn't give us his name because it's the policy of the Vanguard to be completely anonymous and not disclose involvement in the group for safety reasons. You know, it's really hard out there for those racists white nationalists, who lately are getting ridiculed in the media and punched in the face on street corners.)

The vice commander said that Vanguard members are not "Trump loyalists" — Trump supports Israel too much to get Kellyanne-Conway-like unwavering support from them, he said. But other than that, they like him pretty well: "We view him as a positive step in the right direction," he said.

"Trump is a representation of white America — whether he likes it or whether he knows it or not,"  he said. "I think what he's doing is... uh.. .he's kind of defending it. Not explicitly, but he's doing things that are helpful for it."

So what is white America? What is white culture?

When pressed, the vice commander could only come up with that it is rooted in Christianity and the principles of the founding fathers. (Except the freedom of religion part, apparently; the commander tells us that white Muslims aren't allowed in the Vanguard.)

Other than posting flyers on college campuses when no one is looking, it is unclear what it really means to be part of this whites-only club, other than what it really means. We asked the anonymous commander what he truly believes he will accomplish in his lifetime by being a part of this group. Especially since it is all so secret, and since the white genocide he fears is so, so far in the future.

He said, "I really don't know what exactly we might achieve in my lifetime. I probably would have given you a very different answer before the election."
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn