cover image Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities

Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration, and the Future of White Majorities

Eric Kaufmann. Abrams, $35 (624p) ISBN 978-1-4683-1697-1

In this ambitious and provocative work, politics professor Kaufmann (The Rise and Fall of Anglo-America) delves into white anxiety about the demographic decline of white populations in Western nations. He argues that liberal immigration and refugee policies threaten whites’ “ethno-traditional nationalism”—their emotional attachment to a nation in which their ethnic identity predominates—which has fueled the growth of populist right-wing political movements. The author chastises “left-modernist” elites in academia and the media for curtailing frank discussion about immigration, popularizing a dangerously broad and “ethereal” definition of racism, and insisting on what he describes as an “asymmetrical multiculturalism” in which whites must celebrate other groups’ identities while rejecting their own. Although demographic trends predict mixed-race Western majorities in the coming decades, Kaufmann theorizes that Westerners will broaden their racial definition of whiteness, enfolding new populations into a white-identifying majority. He suggests that whites’ fears of cultural transformation can be ameliorated by restricting immigration and promoting a “multi-vocal” nationalism that legitimizes both conservatives’ ethnic identities and liberals’ cosmopolitan vision. Although it has a marked point of view, this is a data-driven work, informed by public opinion studies and theoretical insights from psychology, philosophy, and anthropology. This challenging book is likely to make a big splash and certain to appeal to quantitatively inclined centrists and conservatives longing for an academic defender. [em](Feb.) [/em]