Hitting the books: the racist foundations of incel ideology

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Hachette Books

Extract of Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy by Talia Lavin. Copyright © 2020. Available from Hachette Books, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.


Like any area of ​​American life, racism permeates the world of inceldom as well.

Race consciousness is ingrained in incel culture, which tends to fall prey to the same pseudoscience as racist communities online. It is a generally accepted maxim that white men have the most natural advantages in the game of sexual selection. The racial worldview expressed in the incel sphere is one in which whiteness is an innate advantage in patterns of sexual attractiveness; the whiteness remains at the top of the pyramid, somehow imbued with the pseudoscience of a botched, bastardized evolutionary psychology.

Incel communities differ from white supremacist spaces in that they contain significant non-white members; a survey conducted by Incels.co of members of its community indicated that the community was 60 percent white, 40 percent non-white. However, I have observed significant white supremacist activity on the incel bulletin boards; a pool of resentful, radicalized and hateful young men proved irresistible, although not all of them were white. Racist sentiment, including pseudoscientific rhetoric that attributes sexual attractiveness to arbitrary racial hierarchies, rubbed shoulders with the noblest of misogyny. Together they have mingled with a vile worldview that transforms humanity into ethnically distinct furrows of sexualized despair and rage. Different races of incels are labeled with different terminology – from “ricecel” for an East Asian incel to “currycel” for a South Asian incel. The figure of the sexually successful white “Chad” has analogues in other skin colors and cultures. Like all ideologies distorted by hatred, inceldom has only a superficial relationship to reality. Its logic is crude and corroded by irrational misogyny. In attempting to present a crude and hateful global theory of sociosexual interaction, inceldom in parallel recreates the white supremacist nature of Western societies.

Incels.co feels like it boasts a bar. The vibe is stunning but competitive – users intoxicated with the freedom of a space where they are free to express their prejudices as violently as they want. There is a feeling of overbidding that permeates the place, a desire to raise the extreme level of the speech, the graphic images rendered, the racism expressed. It is also a forum to encourage despair.

As in every incel space, the dual forces of despair and rage fight for space, but on this particular set, the atmosphere is heightened. A post was created by a user whose avatar was the face of Scott Beierle, the man who killed two women and himself to death at a yoga studio in Tallahassee. It was titled “The fate that awaits us all ”; its contents were a photo of a rotten, partially mummified body next to a table covered with thick dust. Her smooth, partially preserved face was staring upward, her mouth open. The accompanying text: “Die alone and unknown for years.” Responses ranged from the black comic – “The way the rent is here, I’d probably be discovered by 6pm on the 1st” – to the flippant nihilist: “not if you kill yourself in public.” Another suggested he might “go to the emergency room” – an incel term for committing a massacre, as Elliot Rodger did. Others posted photographs of darker and darker bodies: a swollen, drowned, gray-skinned, swollen corpse; a strangled face with its tongue hanging out, its eyeballs protruding, in a fuzzy and musty chiaroscuro.

This is just a sample; there are thousands of such messages. On May 25, 2018, I watched a sample of posts on Inceldom Discussion, the forum’s most popular channel. The messages ranged from the desire for suicide, to tips for appropriate animated films for masturbating, to doomsday fantasies (“Is creating an AI to destroy all of humanity really immoral?”). In public view, the conversation was extreme and saturated with racism. There was a long and heated discussion of whether Italians could be considered truly white, which included grim innuendo from a user called a “eugenicist” about whether the Italian Mafia had been than a facade for nefarious Jewish activity. Non-white incels have rarely opposed this type of hate trafficking; the idea of ​​a racial hierarchy was rooted in their ideology. In a poll conducted on Incels.co in March 2020, asking users: “Would you like to be white?” an overwhelming majority of non-white respondents voted yes – 31 to 7. There was some public reluctance about the number of white supremacists trying to recruit, however; some incels have argued that white supremacy is just another “face” – just another illusory attempt to cover up the dark truth of blackpill.

If that was what they were saying in public – so full of hate and misery – what the hell were they saying in private, where the keen eyes of journalists, researchers and an inquiring public couldn’t reach?

To enter Incels.co’s backroom – to post, reply or join the constantly pulsating chat room on the site – you need to register and, in the process, give your reasons for being an incel.

My initial response, as Tommy, was somewhat superficial: I wrote that I was a virgin at twenty-one, a “real” (genuinely single unintentionally), and wanted to join the community. My offer to join was rejected; the reason given was an invitation to “go into more detail about your situation”.

So I changed my username, from “blackpillbaby” to “Tommythemanlet” –manlet being an incel term for a short man, whose height is an obstacle to sexual success. This time I wrote.

My name is Tom. This is my second attempt to become a board member because I really want to be a part of this community.

I am 21 years old, I have never been kissed once. I see foids on the street and can’t wait to touch them and be touched but I think because of my ugly face, I will never be loved. I feel despair and rage. I’m so mad to see foids dating men who never care about them when I know I would cherish them and make them feel special, but they never look at me. I have cystic acne and weak wrists, I’m only 5’7 ” tall, and no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to have a successful conversation with a foid.

I’m angry with feminist bitches who treat men like we are disposable. I feel disposable but it’s unfair the way foids treat me and guys like me who just want to love and be loved. I want to hold the breasts with my hands at least once before I die. I think about suicide a lot but decided that the best revenge on foids was to find my own friends and community. that’s why i want to join – i’m a real one and i want to talk to others like me. I feel very lonely and very angry and want to talk to others. I’m fed up with Chads telling me to “just relax” and automatically I’ll swim in the pussy. I’m a little man with acne and an ugly face and it’s not something I can control.

I see foids walking down the street in short shorts and breasted shirts and I feel both rage and lust in a way so hard to control. It will only get worse with the arrival of summer. I want to be part of this community.

thank you,

To M

It worked. I was in it.

I clicked on the main forum. On one thread, users had selected a graduation photo of an interracial couple – the black man, the Asian woman – from Reddit and were discussing how unattractive their children would be, using racial slurs and suggesting a chemical castration for ugly women.

Stiffening myself, I walked over to the chat room.

A user calling himself “Adolf_Hitler” advocated the reconstruction of concentration camps. He was crafting a plan to create a far-right party, picking up where the more nebulous cultural movement of the alternative right had failed. He praised the leader of the Einsatzgruppen Helmut Oberlander for his jawbone and Joseph Goebbels’ service in the Third Reich, despite his inferior forehead shape.

No one was arguing, just pushing him.

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