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‘My Name is Legion’: Sources and Forces of White Supremacy in the U.S.

 

Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he replied, “My name is Legion, because there are many of us inside this man” (Mark 5: 9)

In the wake of the murders of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME church in Charleston on June 17 by a self-proclaimed white supremacist, there was a burst of media interest in the scale and scope of white supremacist groups and networks within the U.S.

What stands out in this recent media coverage, and in scholarship bearing upon both contemporary and historical trajectories of white supremacist movements, has been the tendency to view white supremacy—the idea that white people are inherently superior to people of color—as a relatively marginal or “extremist” dimension of American socio-religious culture.

I argue instead that white supremacy is a much more central part of American socio-religious culture than generally acknowledged and that its investigation cannot be limited to “lone wolf” racists such as the 21 year-old in Charleston—nor confined merely to networks of explicit white supremacist organizations and activists. Rather, behind the individually embodied form of white supremacist evil in the Charleston atrocity lay a much broader malevolent network—analogous to the numerously possessed demoniac man in the Gospel of Mark.

Read On

Originally published here by Religion Dispatches

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