Sweeper: Race as the New Religion

During the class discussion we turned to the question of why the medieval era is held as the epitome of the white nationalist sentiment. We proposed the answer that the medieval era appealed to notions of purity for some white supremacists. A perceived pseudo-history, where Europe is ethnically homogeneous, appeals to the white nationalist sentiment. Globalism has been portrayed as the enemy of white racial purity, as the harbinger of immigration and diversity, and the medieval age to them, represents a time before it.

It was interesting to explore the notion that race and the idea of having race did not really exist prior to colonization. In the medieval era, religion served to be the great divider – people did not identify strictly with race, but they did have a conception of being Christian. The idea of Christian vs. Jewish and Muslim has very close ties to the racial rivalry dynamics today. In some sense we have seen social division evolve from being predominantly religious based, to now include racial divisions. The white nationalist fantasy of a homogeneous medieval age is unfounded when one considers the immense territory of the Christian world.

We asked why the white nationalists chose to epitomize Medieval Europe and not for example the classical age and Rome. One theory could be the immense diversity within the Roman world – its inclusion of Persia, Libya, and Egypt, for example. These facts fly in the face of the white supremacist sentiment.

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