Across Western civilization, brown people continue to be used as the focus point for inflaming white population’s angst. Russia manipulating it to devastating effect.
By Matt Classen
A recent article by the Wall Street Journal gave more specific details of Facebook users being the unwitting target of Russian backed scheme to sow the seeds of angst and division within the US population.
Two accounts – “Blacktivist” and “Secured Borders” – each amassed over 500,000 followers within a mere two years with content that appear to be clearly designed to fester frustrations over hot button issues. Of course, most followers, even the most discerning and well informed, were unaware what or who was behind the owners of the pages, much less that it was likely backed by Russian operatives.
Some of the followers of these pages reported that the content appeared to be, “like something their peers would share”. “Blacktivist” purports to support causes within the black American community by publishing videos or other content of police brutality, made use of the hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter. “Secured Borders” on the other hand, published content that was hyper critical of illegal immigration and often posted photoshopped images.
The more clear trend here is not just that Russian operatives appear to be divisive content on social media that is clearly made to destabilize the fabric of American society, but that it maintains a common underlying thread: stoking the fears white people have of brown people. Yes, Blacktivist may claim to support black American causes like Black Lives Matter, but a very clear result of this is that the right wing media hucksters at Fox News or Sinclair Group would pick up on this and spin the content to elicit a very predictable response from their mostly white viewers: Fear of “the other”. On the other hand, Secured Borders is used as an example by left leaning media to illustrate the very clear racist tendencies with which we have yet to fully expose and come to terms. Both examples are designed to inflame both sides of the spectrum. Over time, and is more and more the case, you have the left and right sides of the spectrum literally hating each other. But the scapegoat in this game is the same: people of color.
The simple fact of the matter is that the white population in the US is shrinking. Or at least the population of brown people is growing to the point that the white population feels threatened. In tribalism, when a tribe feels threatened, the fight of flight response is triggered and rationalism is thrown out the window. People become fearful and get restless. When this happens, that fear can be further stoked to the point people begin making irrational decisions. When that happens, we feel we need a savior to pinpoint other tribes as the threat, and then mobilize against them, whether it be the Mexicans (“build that wall”), Muslims (travel ban) or black Americans (the denigration of Obama as a non US citizen; Colin Kapernick’s taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and having the right spin the issue into one of disrespecting the flag and the military), the brown people are the ones to fear. They are the ones perceived to be a threat to our identity. They are the ones who will take away from all we hold dear. They are, after all, a threat to our very existence and must be dealt with, violently if need be. And we need a leader who will give us permission to express these fears. The thing is, the one who appears ready and willing to do this is often the absolutely most despicable and ruthless among us, and will use the scenario to his/her advantage, no matter what the consequence. And as this rise in blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Muslims in the US increase, the issue for whites, and the exploitable opportunity for the most psychopathic amongst us, will become increasingly acute.
Back in April of this year, I wrote an article about this exact theme. I made clear that fear based in tribalistic fears of people who are different from you can be used to manipulate that fear with predictable outcomes. More specifically, it could be used by demagogues to inflame large parts of a restive electorate and then channel that anger into voting for a particular party, or candidate. This can be done, and is actively being done, on all sides of the political spectrum. What the Wall Street Journal article represents is further proof of this theme. It’s low hanging fruit, so if you’re in the business of destabilizing the societal fabric of your adversaries, this would be one of your first go-to strategies that deliver predictable results.
Finally, let’s not think that this phenomenon is confined to only the United States. This angst is currently being felt, inflamed and manipulated all across Western civilization, in Europe especially. While I was working in Oslo, Norway with the Oslo Times, I attended many events, large and small, where the diplomatic community of the city were present. Some were small events, other of significant size. I met and interviewed many ambassadors from around the world and covered political issues with regard to human rights. When Russia invaded Ukraine back in 2014, and began to tear that country asunder, I was present at a large gathering of the sovereign ambassadors. When it came to speech time, the Ambassador of Georgia got up and bluntly talked about the kinds of political turmoil that Russia was facilitating around the world. Georgia, being a former Soviet Republic, should be considered a credible source of information. The tone of the Georgian Ambassador was angry, direct and determined. This was a clear break from the typical collegial atmosphere of all the previous events I’d attended to that point. I looked around the room to see how the other ambassadors were reacting. What I saw spoke volumes. There was a very broad acceptance on the faces of everyone else there that this was indeed the case, and that the Georgian Ambassador was simply stating the broad consensus that everyone already agreed with. My contacts in Europe, as well as with organizations like the Oslo Freedom Forum with which I am affiliated, paint an increasingly grim picture of how Russia is only upping the ante in fostering tribalistic fears on countries around the world and exploiting the fear of “the other” with fantastic effect.
In the end, we need to be hyper vigilant of the underlying intent to destabilize and create political and societal chaos within the Western democratic countries that have been the guardians of peace and prosperity the world over. Yes, there are dents in the record of these countries (the US involvement in destabilizing a variety of countries around the globe). What is certain is that the mission of these countries is to ensure democratic process and the expansion of human rights the world over. When this is in danger, the fabric of global society is at mortal risk (remember the nuclear option). We need to make every effort to realize what’s in play, and how it’s being used against us. When you feel the need to react against an inflammatory post on social media, don’t. As much as you want to react against the propaganda machines that run these inflammatory narratives, don’t. As much as you feel the need to argue against another for having views from the other side of the spectrum, don’t. Instead, begin repeating the truth that our tribalistic fear of the other is being used against us by an outside force with a very clear and sinister intent. The more we inform ourselves of this simple truth, the more we can break free from the tightening yolk of tyranny and begin to write an entirely new narrative that will take us to the next stage of our collective human evolution.