It might seem that memory and heritage have lost their power to excite political action and are no longer the medium through which white supremacy is asserted. Yet Lost Cause mythology has never gone away and maintains its firm grip on the thoughts and emotions of many white Americans.
The road to Charlottesville is a mighty traffic circle—at once our future and our past. It has a driveway into every home—an entryway into every American life. The goal of this issue is to map its ideological and physical expanse. In so doing, we hope to close some lanes or, at the very least, to make a few potholes.
American exclusion and criminalization of non-white people proffered a blueprint to Nazis, who engaged intimately with it in the hopes of carrying it out to its logical extent: an openly racist legal system that systematically drove out the so-called racially decrepit to foster a pure Aryan state.
White children who were taught history lessons including information about racism experienced by African Americans demonstrated less biased attitudes toward African Americans than their white counterparts who received otherwise identical lessons that omitted those ‘pessimistic, unpatriotic’ teachings.
While white supremacists seek confirmation of their personal racial inheritance, they are often confronted with what they regard as deeply discrediting information, such as mixed-race ancestry. This new type of genetic information creates what we call a genetic stigma—a significant gap between the person’s prior conception of themselves and the way others in the broader community perceive them.