America exports a whole lot of its culture to the rest of the globe—music, movies, ways of dress, slang. This country’s addiction to white supremacy is also known across the world, but the U.S. isn’t the only nation to have embraced the hideous ideology throughout history or—more critically—to be driving it forward today.
That’s according to remarks made by Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres before the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday, which Reuters reported on.
“White supremacy and neo-Nazi movements are more than domestic terror threats. They are becoming a transnational threat,” Guterres said. “Today, these extremist movements represent the number one internal security threat in several countries.”
According to Reuters, rather than naming specific countries, Guterres said, “We need global coordinated action to defeat this grave and growing danger.”
The U.N. head did, however, make some pointed comments that could easily apply to what has been witnessed in our own corner of the globe.
“Far too often, these hate groups are cheered on by people in positions of responsibility in ways that were considered unimaginable not long ago,” Guterres said.
“At times, access to life-saving COVID-19 information has been concealed—while deadly misinformation has been amplified—including by those in power,” he added.
Apart from America’s national nightmare, where white supremacist extremism was steadily tolerated and spurred on by the 45th president until it recently culminated in a violent attack at the U.S. Capitol, countries in Europe are also increasingly showing evidence of active “ethno-nationalist and white supremacist groups,” says a report by the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit international policy organization that combats the threat of extremism.
According to the Counter Extremism Project, representatives of far-right groups like Alternative für Deutschland in Germany and Lega Nord in Italy have won support in national elections in recent years by pushing anti-immigrant rhetoric. Other groups in Hungary and France have used social media to peddle Nazi imagery and expand the reach of their white supremacist theory that “indigenous European people” are being replaced by non-white migrants. It’s a theory that was espoused by the white mass shooter who killed 51 worshippers at a mosque in New Zealand in 2019. In his manifesto, that shooter also highlighted then-U.S. President Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity.” Neo-Nazi groups in America, such as Atomwaffen Division, have also expanded their networks to countries in Europe with the help of the internet, Counter Extremism Project’s report found.
U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet will present a report on systemic racism against people of African descent to the U.N. Human Rights Council on March 18.
Meanwhile, here at home, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, Judge Merrick Garland (who was former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court) has his sights set on tackling white supremacy if confirmed as head of the Department of Justice.
In opening remarks ahead of his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, Garland specifically called out his plans to prosecute the “white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6,” reports CNN.