“White nationalism is the belief that national identity should be built around white ethnicity, and that white people should therefore maintain both a demographic majority and dominance of the nation’s culture and public life,” notes Eric Kaufmann, professor at the University of Birkbeck College in the University of London, in an analysis cited by Patricia Chavira in The New York Times.* In her text, the editor of the Spanish version of the U.S. newspaper also includes what the scholar who studies racial majorities considers to be the difference between the terms supremacy and nationalism: “White supremacy is based on a racist belief that white people are innately superior to people of other races; white nationalism is about maintaining political and economic dominance, not just a numerical majority or cultural hegemony.”* The manifesto associated with the perpetrator of the El Paso attack is considered one of white nationalist ideology.
“Make America Great Again” turned into gasoline for the nationalist movement in the United States. And now its adherents are more empowered than ever, with the inventor of that phrase making decisions in the White House and seeking reelection. Donald Trump has been the inspiration for those who rebuke Latinos in fast food restaurants, as well as those who call themselves enemies of immigrants and of those who go out with rifles in their hands to hunt them. In the same way, he was the gunpowder that emboldened people like Patrick Crusius, the young man who murdered 22 people in El Paso less than a month ago.
It is necessary, and urgent, that we call things what they are. Just as experts differentiate between nationalism and supremacy, so should we also call events like the one on Aug. 3 what they are. And, accordingly, they must be called terrorism.
Our country said it first, and the 35 members of the Organization of American States now support us. It was, and is, terrorism. What happened in that mall, a self-confessed attack on the Mexican community, is not an isolated event but instead the result of that rhetoric of hatred that adapts itself to the human environment of any region of the world. In this case, it is not a matter of a place in the Arab world blown up by grenades or by a suicidal member of an organization; it was more like the shots detonated in three New Zealand mosques, where more than 50 people died. That is what the El Paso shooting was. Pure terrorism. An attack against a group because someone acted upon the idea that only he and his have the right to be there, to be visible and all that that implies.
“Does anyone doubt that it would be called terrorism if Crusius had the last name Mohammed and his victims were Anglo-Saxons?” asked Daniel Millan in the newspaper Reforma. He also noted that between 2009 and 2018, more than twice the number of people died in the United States, all of them the prey of that rhetoric that, in the end, begins in the hatred of supremacists, than were killed by Islamic terrorists. We’ll have to wait for the statistics on this year.
It is a supremely important step, which the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs is advocating, that what happened in Texas be considered a terrorist act, because that involves a change in the understanding of the narrative, and only in that way can we embark on a path that allows us to address it.
*Editor’s note: This quote, accurately translated, could not be verified.