I’m about to use the term “big tent” a lot.
I don’t know if that’s a common term that people still use so I’ll explain it, please forgive the over explaining nature of this description. But everything I’m about to write depends on knowing what I mean by that praise.
The idea is that within a social or political movement you have to construct a space for movement.
The metaphor of the tent being that you’ve created a specific space under a tent.
The smaller your tent, the smaller and less diverse the group that fits under it.
A bigger tent just means you’ve created more room for your intended group, making it more diverse and potentially more influential as a result.
I see a lot of people talk about “White Supremacy” and I think we’re making a mistake to think that way.
A great into to the topic is the Proud Boys.
They self described as Western Chauvinists. This is actually a perfect way to understand how they are creating a bigger tent.
The general design of the ideology is nested. It starts with:
that then has other ideologies nested within it.
Next we find:
(Western (nationalism) Chauvinism)
Often then we move to:
(((Eurocentric) Christian) Nationalism)
In this case the “Euro” is about the specific cultural aspects of European society and history, including religion and colonialism and imperialism and so on.
This attracts many racist ideologies for sure:
((((White) Eurocentric) Christian) Nationalism)
But the movement in the US has been widening the tent to move past those racist ideologies. This is very notable in many Evangelical circles.
As a result you’ll find any number of variations nested within the movement of Western Chauvinism
In the minds of many Americans it doesn’t go much deeper than:
leaving behind the Eurocentrism for a much more generic western-centric ideology. Again, particularly attractive to Evangelicals of any ethnicity.
In many Evangelical circles the focus on Western or European culture is too broad and they have a much more specific:
(((USA-centric) Christian) Nationalism).
In both these cases the ancestral component is much weaker or less influential. This entices more people from every ethnicity.
The development of Evangelical ideologies that American exists in some kind of covenantal relationship with God similar to historical Israel are particularly strong and have made pervasive inroads into Latin, Asian, and African groups (both African immigrant communities and historical communities of the descendants of American slaves). In many cases those groups are the fastest demographics of the American Evangelicals.
But you’ll also find the same big tent outreach with the religious elements. In some cases you can replace the religious affiliation:
(((Eurocentric) Pagan) Nationalism)
(((Eurocentric) Areligious) Nationalism)
This attempt at big tent proselytizing has been quite successful for a number of reasons.
The result of the expansion of Evangelicalism across every ethnic demographic.
The result of appeals to some construct of traditional masculinity.
The result of red-scaring tactics in communities with pervasive issues trusting government institutions.
They’ve even started spreading the ideology outside the US in parts of Africa and Latin American.
“White Supremacy” is not the right term.
The tent is getting bigger.
You can find evidence here.
Ignoring the expansion of the tent is dangerous.
Barack Obama frequently gets criticized for his criticisms of those he generally tends to agree with.
I imagine that’s the general reaction I’ll get.
But he does it for the same reason I am.
Being precise with our language matters