In 1978, William Pierce (AKA Andrew Macdonald), published The Turner Diaries, a novel imagining a race war from the perspective of white nationalists. Pierce was a neo-Nazi and he imagined the race war as the dawn of a brighter day. His novel quickly became a favorite of other white nationalists, such as Timothy McVeigh, who was inspired to follow the plot of The Turner Diaries when he bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building in April 1995.
In the late 1960s, Chester Himes wrote Plan B, a novel imagining a race war from the perspective of black nationalists. Himes was not himself a racial nationalist and he imagined the race war going very badly.
So, at least in the minds of novelists, we have been here before.
The racial nationalists – on both sides – must be thrilled. The events of recent days are exactly what they have wished, hoped, and planned for. The Dallas sniper seems to have identified with a black racial nationalist group. White nationalist groups had no difficulty seeing the parallels to their beloved vision of the race war.
Will things degenerate to the point imagined by either Pierce or Himes? Probably not. But in the midst of such horrifying events, perhaps we can reflect on the extent to which racial identification, separation, and nationalism serve not to combat racism, but to feed and strengthen it.