There was an interesting article in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago titled, “The white flight of Derek Black.” Black is the son of racist and white nationalist Don Black, the founder of Stormfront, the first and largest white nationalist website. Derek was raised as a racist by his parents. They homeschooled him in order for him to avoid mixing with other races, and also so that his parents could drill into him their racist dogma. Derek became one of the leading young spokesmen and leaders for white nationalists. Eventually, however, he began to doubt his ideology when he went to college, and has now renounced it.
The Post article leads off with the recounting of a white nationalist conference just after President Obama had been elected.
Their public conference had been interrupted by a demonstration march and a bomb threat, so the white nationalists decided to meet secretly instead. They slipped past police officers and protesters into a hotel in downtown Memphis. The country had elected its first black president just a few days earlier, and now in November 2008, dozens of the world’s most prominent racists wanted to strategize for the years ahead.
“The fight to restore White America begins now,” their agenda read.
The room was filled in part by former heads of the Ku Klux Klan and prominent neo-Nazis, but one of the keynote speeches had been reserved for a Florida community college student who had just turned 19. Derek Black was already hosting his own radio show. He had launched a white nationalist website for children and won a local political election in Florida. “The leading light of our movement,” was how the conference organizer introduced him, and then Derek stepped to the lectern.
“The way ahead is through politics,” he said. “We can infiltrate. We can take the country back.”
Years before Donald Trump launched a presidential campaign based in part on the politics of race and division, a group of avowed white nationalists was working to make his rise possible by pushing its ideology from the radical fringes ever closer to the far conservative right. Many attendees in Memphis had transformed over their careers from Klansmen to white supremacists to self-described “racial realists,” and Derek Black represented another step in that evolution. [My emphasis added.]
Eight years later, that future they envisioned in Memphis was finally being realized in the presidential election of 2016. Donald Trump was retweeting white supremacists. Hillary Clinton was making speeches about the rise of white hate and quoting David Duke, who had launched his own campaign for the U.S. Senate.
These people want you to think they are merely intellectuals who have discovered racial realism as a scientific theory, but their own backgrounds reveal their true intentions.
The Post article has some interesting insights into his father, Don Black, and how his overt racism has been toned down–that is, made more acceptable in polite circles–by calling it “racial realism.” There is a photo of Don, then a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, at a recruitment rally in 1982, with the caption, “Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Don Black, center, at the cross-burning climax of a Klan recruitment rally in 1982. Black would later leave the Klan and begin describing himself as a ‘white civil rights advocate’ or a ‘racial realist.'”
If you Google “‘don black’ racial realism” you’ll come up with hundreds, if not thousands of hits back to his website Stormfront. It’s kind of a one-stop shopping center for those who wish to promote racism in so-called scientific terms. Shortly after creating Storefront, Don said, “We want to take America back. We know a multicultural Yugoslav nation can’t hold up for too long. Whites won’t have any choice but to take military action. It’s our children whose interests we have to defend.” He started martinlutherking.org–a website purportedly about King, but is actually intended to malign him. It’s not unlike thereligionofpeace.com, which masquerades as an objective look at Islam.
After an estrangement, Derek faced his parents. They basically don’t get along at this point, but at least they are on speaking terms. Their last encounter was this summer.
Late this summer, for the first time in years, he traveled to Florida to see them. At a time of increasingly contentious rhetoric, he wanted to hear what his father had to say. They sat in the house and talked about graduate school and Don’s new German shepherd. But after a while, their conversation turned back to ideology, the topic they had always preferred.
Don, who usually didn’t vote, said he was going to support Trump.
Derek said he had taken an online political quiz, and his views aligned 97 percent with Hillary Clinton’s.
Don said immigration restrictions sounded like a good start.
Derek said he actually believed in more immigration, because he had been studying the social and economic benefits of diversity.
Don thought that would result in a white genocide.
Derek thought race was a false concept anyway.
They sat across from each other, searching for ways to bridge the divide. The bay was one block away. Just across from there was Mar-a-Lago, where Trump had lived and vacationed for so many years, once installing an 80-foot pole for a gigantic American flag.
“Who would have thought he’d be the one to take it mainstream?” Don said, and in a moment of so much division, it was the one point on which they agreed.
Taking racism mainstream. That’s really the point of dressing it up in pseudo-science.