Posted on May 14, 2021

‘Anti-White Watch’ Is the Racist Answer to Surging Hate Crimes

Mark Hay, Daily Beast, May 11, 2021

Violence against people of Asian descent is exploding in America. According to a recent analysis of police records, reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the largest U.S. cities shot up 169 percent in the first quarter of 2021 versus the same time last year. {snip}

But stark and grim as these trends are, a small yet vocal group falsely insists that they pale in comparison to another form of supposedly widespread, growing, and under-reported bigotry: hate crimes targeting white people.

White nationalists have launched a handful of initiatives over the last few years in flailing bids to prove this ludicrous point. But perhaps the most notable among them is something called Anti-White Watch, a platform “dedicated to documenting bias, policies, hate, and violence directed at ethnic-European people worldwide.” Its main web portal maintains a heat map and database of alleged anti-white incidents—focusing on accounts of brutal violence supposedly enacted by non-white perpetrators, pulled from across the web by admins and readers. It also catalogues numerous alleged hate-crime “hoaxes,” incidents that many on the right believe malicious actors—often assumed to be liberal elites—either inflate or fully fabricate in order to stoke racial tensions for their benefit, and to slander white people as racists.

“They try to both minimize the apparent threat from the far right,” Kurt Braddock, an expert on white-supremacist communication and radicalization strategies at American University, told The Daily Beast, “and to make it seem like the real threat to America is minorities.”


“The creation of a definitive database that has a veneer of legitimacy is particularly concerning,” Robin O’Luanaigh, a consultant with the anti-disinformation and anti-extremism solutions shop Moonshot, told The Daily Beast.


Even in the mainstream, right-wing provocateurs and outlets still craft lists of crimes committed by non-white people against white victims, usually projecting motives of racial grievance onto assailants without any clear basis for doing so. There are entire (actual) books cataloguing supposed instances of “the knockout game,” an alleged early 2010s fad in which young Black men supposedly socked random white people in the head for sport. Although rooted in a tiny seed of reality, coverage of the game quickly developed into a racial-moral panic, so these books are accordingly and predictably full of misrepresentations and false associations.


Anti-White Watch and its ilk, on the other hand, appear to be part of a recent trend among overt white nationalists to appeal to broad audiences by stripping away clear signs of racism and conspiratorial thinking. This crowd places a premium on sleek design, efforts to dispassionately convey seemingly innocuous information, and often attempts to co-opt the language of social-justice movements to convey a sense of high-minded morality.

“These new efforts seem to be modeling themselves on the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate incident monitoring system structures and aesthetics,” Braddock told The Daily Beast. Joanna Mendelson, associate director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, agrees with this assessment: Anti-White Watch’s name seems to directly reference the SPLC’s Hatewatch project, and it organizes its information using a system eerily similar to the ADL’s Hate, Extremism, Antisemitism, and Terrorism (HEAT) map and wider databases.


Anti-White Watch uses a mélange of social-justice buzzwords in its social-media posts, too: “We stand with #EthnicEuropean (White) students against the systemic racism, Replacism and bigotry deployed against them at every level of academia and media,” the project tweeted last month.


Violence motivated by anti-white sentiment is, in truth, not entirely fictional. The FBI’s crime tracking systems have monitored official reports of expressly anti-white violence for decades, and publish their stats regularly, in highly visible and accessible places, always to widespread media coverage.

Their figures are far from authoritative, thanks to inconsistent definitions of hate crimes across the U.S., enforcement of existing anti-hate statutes, and reporting from local officials to the feds—as well as citizens’ well-documented reticence to report many types of hate crimes to the authorities. But their data shows that anti-white hate crimes in general, and violence motivated by anti-white sentiments, are exceedingly rare compared to other forms of hate. Far-right voices attempt to twist this data, and its clear limitations, to insist explicitly racist violence against white people is far more common than it seems at face value. Yet analyses of anti-white hate crime reports have made compelling cases that these types of incidents are likely in fact over-reported.

The media does report on well-substantiated instances of expressly anti-white violence. It just does not dwell on them. {snip}

“Unfortunately, crime rates remain high in the United States overall,” explained Sophie Bjork-James, an expert on white nationalism and hate crimes at Vanderbilt University.


The Daily Beast was unable to reach the individuals behind Anti-White Watch and similar projects. But an administrator of a white nationalist resource hub that directs readers towards Anti-White Watch misleadingly defended the practice of scrambling to label incidents expressly anti-white crimes.

“It doesn’t take a great leap in logic to suspect anti-white hatred as a strong motivating factor for many, if not most interracial crime involving white victims and non-white perpetrators,” the administrator, who did not reveal their identity, told The Daily Beast. “When the roles are reversed—non-white victims and white perpetrators—racial hatred is almost always at the top of the list as the suspected criminal motive. Nobody has a problem believing white people are capable of racial hatred and acting on it. But suggest the same thing about non-whites, and brains begin to melt.”


But even if the cases reported to Anti-White Watch and similar sites are largely misrepresented in ways that do not accord with established criminological facts and trends, experts worry that the way these platforms present information could be highly effective gateways for radicalization.

Like other compilations of supposed anti-white hate incidents, they speak to a well-documented belief shared by many white Americans that they face as much discrimination as any non-white American community. (It should go without saying that they do not.) This belief stems at least in part from fears that minority groups will gradually replace white people, then turn around and attempt to punish them and destroy their culture—a baseless concern currently being amplified by the the Great Replacement conspiracy theory and its public promoters, like far-right blowhard Tucker Carlson. It predisposes them to think that they should see equivalent levels and types of hate crimes against them as they see documented in the news targeting Asian, Black, or other non-white groups. These platforms, like prior lists, also bombard people with brutal highlights from crimes, which create a visceral reaction—a sense of personal racial peril—that can override critical thought.

But unlike other compilations of alleged anti-white hate crimes, the apparent sterile formality of the data collection and presentation on these platforms may make them seem more credible. And the co-opted language of social justice may lend them a bogus sheen of the erudite and moral. {snip}


But even if Anti-White Watch probably won’t convince the average American that the country is suffering from a secret wave of anti-white hate and violence, it represents a growing sophistication in the way racist groups are making their cases. In more competent hands, and with more resources behind them, these tactics and future tweaks to them could have disturbing spillover effects, far beyond the weird world of white nationalism.