White supremacists continue to use the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and to promote their racist agenda and hateful worldview. Within days of the destruction, white supremacists communicating to each other on the Internet had incorporated Hurricane Katrina into their standard racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews are controlling and manipulating the government to use African-Americans to destroy the white race.
In addition, many white supremacists expressed outrage at the "contamination" of their white communities. Some white supremacists argued that communities should impose limits on the numbers of evacuees accepted. Many took satisfaction at the number of African-American deaths, or wished that there had been more minority deaths. At least one racist took matters into his own hands. His solution was to go to evacuee shelters wearing a white supremacist shirt to get the attention of white evacuees so he could help them.
After the hurricane hit, a number of white supremacist groups rushed to offer help to whites, or, in many cases, to solicit donations that would allegedly be used to help white victims. One prominent racist proposed a "Cartridges for Katrina" program that would provide ammunition to whites who chose not to evacuate the affected region. His group claims to have established a "Whites only" tent city for survivors.
The following is a summary and compilation of quotations that appeared on white supremacist Web sites and bulletin boards on September 3 - 8, 2005.
Conspiracy theorists jumped to incorporate Katrina into their anti-Semitic theories of Jewish manipulation.
Some blamed Hurricane Katrina itself on Jews. "I have been informed that Hurricane Katrina was an event caused in order to create devastation…" wrote one person on the Aryan Nations Web site. "The reason behind this, is that Israel plans to use the port of New Orleans in order to ship in weapons of mass destruction to use against the American citizens, namely the Gentiles….I have no doubt that Israel and world-Jewry have been attempting to establish what they call Talmudic rule in this country."
Others focused not on the hurricane itself, but on its aftermath:
White supremacists have expressed derision and hatred toward African-American evacuees from New Orleans.
Eric Adams, a white supremacist from Denham Springs, 50 miles north of New Orleans, wrote on the Aryan Nations Web site, "Anyhow, it's a freaking nightmare here. We are a predominately [sic] all white area and they have bussed in over 10,000 n-----s from N.O. right here into our backyard." His solution was to go to evacuee shelters wearing white supremacist shirts to get the attention of white evacuees so he could help them; according to his own account, he was issued two tickets by police for attempting to incite a riot.
White supremacists from other parts of the country were equally unreserved in their invective against the refugees:
Many white supremacists expressed outrage at the "contamination" of their white communities. When evacuees began arriving in West Virginia, one racist wrote that the state was "95% White and enjoyed one of the lowest crime rates in the nation. Expect that to skyrocket, along with crimes against Whites in the area. Whoever picked to send them to West Virginia did it for a purpose and I think it's clear what that purpose is."
Anti-evacuee statements ranged from pseudo-scientific to extremely crude:
Some white supremacists argued that communities should impose limits on the numbers of evacuees they would take on. "In reality," wrote one Baltimore white supremacist, "it should be based on how many Blacks can be absorbed without altering the essential culture."
Many white supremacists urged that white people should protest the evacuees or simply reject them. "This is a good opportunity for some action," wrote one Pennsylvania white supremacist, "and white people should be gathering en mass wherever these busses show up…They should let the busses full of blacks know, in no uncertain terms, that they can keep right on going til they find a ghetto that isn't under water."
Other white supremacists concentrated their efforts not on evacuees but on playing their own form of the "blame game," blaming the tragedy that occurred in New Orleans on the fact that the city's population was mostly African-American. Kevin Strom of the neo-Nazi National Vanguard put it this way: "New Orleans hasn't just been sinking physically for years. It's been sinking biologically, too, down toward the level of Haiti…it is all utterly hopeless there, too, as we all know but most are afraid to say out loud because of the racial implications." He labeled it the "Black Tsunami."
Jared Taylor, publisher of the racist American Renaissance magazine, had similar views, writing that "the story of Hurricane Katrina does have a moral for anyone not deliberately blind. The races are different. Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western Civilization—any kind of civilization—disappears. And in a crisis, civilization disappears overnight."
Many white supremacists took satisfaction at the number of African-American deaths, or wished that there had been more minority deaths:
The virulently homophobic Westboro Baptist Church claimed that "It is a sin NOT to rejoice when God executes His wrath and vengeance upon America…Pray for more dead bodies floating on the fag-semen-rancid waters of New Orleans." Idaho white supremacist attorney Edgar Steele had secular but similar opinions: "Too bad Hurricane Katrina didn't wait a week to strike, when it could have caught over 125,000 drunken homosexuals…gathered for their annual 'Southern Decadence' festival."
After the hurricane hit, a number of white supremacist groups rushed to offer help to whites, or, in many cases, to solicit donations that would allegedly be used to help white victims. The Texas-based White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klux Klan offered assistance to people who were "White Christian, White Nationalist, or White Racialist." In Florida, the tiny European American Heritage Foundation claimed to be ready to provide food, jobs, and homes for "any white family that needs it." It too began soliciting donations for its alleged efforts.
The neo-Nazi National Vanguard announced that it had established a "staging area" in Mobile, Alabama (location unspecified), where supplies were being sent to assist "struggling White families." John Gerhardt, the Ohio white supremacist (convicted in 1979 for plotting to blow up a desegregated school in Columbus), urged others to help "our pro-white kinsmen," and announced that his group, Liberty Rights Advocates, had established a "Kinfolk Survival Fund" specifically "for those who are pro-White."
Bigots around the country offered to help Katrina victims—but only white victims. White supremacist Internet forums were filled with such offers:
Leading the call for white-only aid has been Billy Roper, leader of a small but vocal neo-Nazi group headquartered in Russellville, Arkansas. Roper, along with his associate Ben Vinyard, a former chess teacher, have used their Web site and other white supremacist sites to call for donations and assistance as part of their so-called "Kinsmen Rescue Project."
According to White Revolution, all of its other activities have been suspended, "so that 100% of our time and energies can be directed towards helping White hurricane evacuees in need." Roper has claimed that its volunteers have been working "day and night," and repeatedly urged fellow racists to send donations directly to his group. However, Roper has been slow to provide evidence that his group has helped people.
One of Roper's first actions was to announce a "Cartridges for Katrina" program for white people who chose not to evacuate. "For every black looter you shoot, and provide proof of a clean kill," Roper stated, "White Revolution will provide reimbursement of all expended ammunition, at no charge. That's our guarantee, to you."
Quickly, however, Roper turned to another project, announcing that White Revolution and the neo-Confederate group League of the South had joined together to set up a "Whites Only" tent city in Wiggins, Mississippi. Roper claimed that the tent city had room for 60 people; soon afterwards, he said that it had filled up and that they were trying to set up other "Whites Only" tent cities in other states.
According to its own announcements, White Revolution members were nothing less than heroic in establishing the city. "During their mission," an article on its Web site excitedly claimed, "their truck was swarmed by an angry black mob eager to loot their supplies. A dramatic showdown with guns repelled the crowd and allowed the White Revolution members to escape." Roper, in between calls for donations, claimed to be sending generators, truckloads of supplies, and other equipment to his whites-only refugee camps.
On September 8, Roper announced a setback, saying that the League of the South was withdrawing its support of White Revolution's efforts and claiming that the group was afraid of being labeled racist. The League of the South, for its part, claimed that it did not take part in or endorse any measures with White Revolution. However, on its own Web site, the League of the South has continued to post offers of assistance from its members, including "whites only" offers, such as one from Alabama offering a trailer to a "white family of three or four," and another from Tennessee announcing that he was willing to temporarily house a "White Christian family."
As offensive as the notion of whites-only tent cities is, the existence of such locations has not been independently confirmed. Aside from mentioning the town of Wiggins, Roper has not provided the location of any alleged tent city, nor provided directions. He has not announced the names of any evacuees staying in such a refuge, nor provided photographs. Even members of other white supremacist groups have not confirmed the existence of Roper's alleged whites-only tent city, despite some asking for photographs. Local law enforcement were unaware of any such tent city, and a journalist who visited Wiggins was similarly unable to locate it. A Wiggins resident whose property many had identified as the site of the tent city denied having heard of any such thing. Nevertheless, Roper and Vinyard continue to solicit donations for their alleged whites-only relief efforts.