Are ‘white nationalists’ really nationalists? This label is one that right-wing, white activists themselves have chosen, and as such, compels rigorous investigation to avoid simply adopting the preferred nomenclature of these activists and their ambitions. The nation and nationalism are concepts with rich scholarly histories, and this paper seeks to examine the discussion, activities and statements of so-called white nationalists in light of this literature. We argue through a three-fold concept of the nation—based on territoriality, population and symbolic and/or cultural content—that the vision of the political community and ambitions of these activists falls short of the standard of a nation and that their aspirations do not conform to what the literature lays out as nationalism. We argue, therefore, that using the language of ‘white nationalism’ to describe these groups obfuscates and sanitises their motives and lends undue legitimacy to their standing in public discourse.