President Trump did what he does best on Thursday night: regurgitating whatever drivel is airing on Fox News. This time, he tweeted in response to a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show about the moves South Africa is making to expropriate land from white farmers, which was originally stolen from black farmers during apartheid, as a form of reparations. These policies are obviously controversial, but they’ve been used specifically by white nationalists the world over to stir up fears about “white genocide.”
White nationalist Trump fans were quick to rejoice.
The government of South Africa, not so much.
The crisis over violence against farmers in South Africa is overblown, to say the least. The rate of attacks on farms in South Africa today is the lowest it has been in 20 years, a third of the rate that it was in 1998. Even in 2007, when the rate of attacks was higher, it accounted for only .6 percent of the national total of murders across the country.
Data shows that in 2001, when the rate of attacks was at its peak, 61 percent of victims were white, and 33 percent of victims were black. But whites, despite making up around eight percent of the population, own 73 percent of farming land in South Africa, meaning that they are actually underrepresented in attacks on farmers.
Despite all this data, farm attacks have been an immensely popular talking point for the global white nationalist movement.
Earlier this year, the Suidlanders, a group of South African white supremacist survivalists who believe in a coming race war, took credit for spreading the farmer panic and the wider concept of “white genocide” around the world. On a trip to the U.S., representatives of the group lobbied alt-right organizations and figures like former KKK grand wizard David Duke to support their cause. They described the trip to the Mail & Guardian as “very blessed.”
It seems the plans of the Suidlanders and other racist bottom feeders have worked. Their idea, that white people are in existential danger and must protect themselves from the non-white masses, has filtered up from the bowels of the internet into the mainstream discourse. Not long ago, Australian Liberal ghoul and potential Prime Minister Peter Dutton suggested fast-tracking visas for white South African farmers (a fairly appalling hypocrisy considering the horrific treatment of asylum-seekers in Australia). Now, the president of the United States is tweeting out barely altered versions of this propaganda, fed to him by his favorite news network. We are extremely fucked.