The Functions of White Nationalism Online: A Content Analysis of White Nationalist Thematic Discourse Surrounding the Eve Carson Homicide
Extant literature on White Nationalism illustrate the myriad of social issues members of this racialist extremist group presently recognize as threatening the continuation of the white race and the preservation of white heritage (Swain 2002). One of these threats includes the high incidences of black-on-white violent crime within the United States. The March 2008 murder of UNC student body president Eve Carson, a 22 year-old white woman, by two young black males elicited heated discussion among White Nationalists. This paper analyzes, via content analysis, the thematic discourse surrounding Carson's homicide among White Nationalists on two popular White Nationalist websites. Functionalist theory guides this investigation in the attempt to illustrate how White Nationalists use scientific theories of criminality and government crime statistics as tools for justifying their racist beliefs. Also, this study intended to answer whether or not Carson's murder prompted an increase in online membership on the two websites used for the analysis. Moreover, this study sought to unearth thematic discourse which involved attacking whites who do not subscribe to White Nationalism; Eve Carson as either a sacred or profane symbol of whiteness; criticism of government policies, media, and the criminal justice system; evoking fear within the White Nationalist community; and calls for white solidarity and action. This analysis suggests that White Nationalists primarily used Carson's death as an opportunity to attack whites who do not subscribe to White Nationalist beliefs.