On Christmas Eve, George Ciccariello-Maher, a political theorist and professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, tweeted, “All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide.” The tweet was subsequently deleted, but not before Breitbart News picked up on it, triggering hordes of racist trolls. “The professor’s Twitter feed is filled with hateful, obnoxious messages, anti-Americanism, slams of President Donald Trump, attacks on Jews, as well as pro-Black Lives Matter and pro-communist sloganeering,” Breitbart informed its readers. “He also tweeted a picture of a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat set on fire.” Ciccariello has since received hundreds of death threats.
The threat of ‘white genocide’ is a conspiracy theory, promoted by elements of the so-called alt-right and fueled by anxiety over fertility and immigration trends, that was popularized by South Carolina segregationist Bob Whitaker. In 2006, according to The Atlantic, Whitaker posted a rant on his website warning that “the third world pour[ing] into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.” (Whitaker ran for president this year before endorsing Trump.) A billboard, paid for by the White Genocide Project, appeared outside a town in Alabama last year. “Diversity Means Chasing Down The Last White Person,” it proclaimed. The idea also comes up in the writings of Dylann Roof, who murdered nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston.