A police armored car near the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin after a gunman with alleged ties to white nationalism shot 6 people dead. Police have classified it as domestic terrorism. (Photo/Tasos Katopodis/AFP/Getty Images)

Opinion: Why don’t we profile white nationalists?

Perhaps we need an internment camp for white folks.  Not all white folks.  I know a lot of white people. Some of my best friends are white, and they are overwhelmingly peace-loving people.

But we know who they are.  White males between the ages of 18 and 45 who subscribe to an ideology of white nationalism.  These people have similar physical markers and attire.  They generally like to shave their heads and they wear black or camouflage military garb, and many wear white hoods for ceremonial worship. They subscribe to an ideology with historical roots we can trace back to Southern slavery, and later, Nazi political thinking from World War II.

The South has a long history of anti-government activities.  It was white nationalists from South Carolina, afterall, who started the Civil War in an attempt to overthrow the government.  Folks like Wade Michael Page, JT Ready and Jared Loughner all have an overwhelming sense of entitlement.  Even liberal white males, folks like James Holmes, can be dangerous when they feel this sense of entitlement slip through their fingers.

We do not need to go very far to justify such a policy.  After the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, Michelle Malkin wrote a much celebrated defense for interning individuals who come from demographic groups we know have a potential for danger. Michelle Malkin’s book, In Defense of Internment, argued that given the stakes, racial profiling was an important tool that liberals were denying our security forces in the name of civil rights.  Those pesky civil rights.

It is not an entirely impractical proposition, and these white nationalists have infiltrated our government. Arizona had to recall their Senate President, Russell Pearce, who had a cozy relationship with white nationalists.  He even called JT Ready a “true patriot”.

Joe Arpaio, the so-called “toughest sheriff in America”, has built his reputation on catering to white nationalism, by instituting a system of racial profiling that has been a feeder program to the private prison industry.

Maybe the private prisons will take a look at the dollars and cents, and conclude it’s worth a shot, for the good of the country and their pockets. Latinos make up fully 30% of the Arizona population and the state government has managed to racially profile in a way that has been very specific and accommodating to the majority of the population.  Perhaps the same can be done for white nationalists.

Civil rights activists are always saying, “what does an illegal immigrant look like?” to imply that this has something to do with race.  And folks may say, “what does a white nationalist look like?” to imply that many white folks who are not white nationalists may get caught in the dragnet to root out these terrorists.

But the white folks I know are patriots.  They would be proud to be pulled over by police officers questioning their status based on what they look like.  What do they have to hide if they aren’t breaking the law?

As I said, the overwhelming majority of white folks are peace-loving people.  Many are very religious, and its true that white nationalists make up a small fraction of the total white population. But white nationalists are able to move about freely in their communities because of what they look like, and even though the vast majority of whites are not violent, its obvious that the signs of white extremism are being ignored by these communities and allowing them to operate under the radar until it is too late as a result.

How many more good Americans have to die before we take these white nationalists seriously?

Of course, before I am accused of being serious, I am not.  But given the arguments coming from conservatives over the last two decades over Islamic terrorists and immigrants, its curious that the same argument isn’t being applied to white nationalists. I wonder why.

Opinion: Why dont we profile white nationalists? stephennuno1 e13390789914671 news NBC Latino News

Stephen A. Nuño, Ph.D., NBC Latino contributor and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University. He is currently writing a book on Republican outreach into the Latino Community.


  1. Wilburn Williams says:

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, despite being chronically short of funds, does heroic work identifying and tracking extremists groups. The Wisconsin killer showed up on their radar 10 years ago. I am frequently amazed by how few of my liberal friends know of SPLC and its extraordinary contributions to social justice for all Americans.

  2. How about first we build one for the illegals who incite regular Americans to Jihad? You know who they are. Same clothes, tattoos and drugs in their pockets.Typically light Brown skinned and Hispanic speaking. Non law abiding, Non Taxpaying freeloader abusers in our schools and hospitals, you know who they are. Mostly busy committing assorted gang activities up to and including mass murder, you know who they are. Lets round them up first. After all, whos country is this any way? Not theirs amigo. If I said all that would I sound racist? Because you sure do.

    1. Alon says:

      You are an idiot … read it again … carefully.

    2. Irod says:

      Not only did you miss the point entirely but, the way those words and stereotypes so easily flowed from you show that you are in fact the racist one. Like Alon said, read it again…carefully.

  3. I was waiting for what you were doing with the piece and then at the end, BOOM. Very effective. Great piece.

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