White nationalist scion leaves the cause


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/17/white-nationalist-scion-leaves.html


Synagogue vandalism suspect is accountant with a master's degree
#2

Adulthood lesson number one: If you aren’t comfortable saying what you believe ask yourself whether it’s really what you believe.


#3

Lesson two: them perfessers are gonna mess up your kids!


#4

Of course with Derek’s flowing red hair, I couldn’t but think of Rob when I read the article yesterday…


#5

The white flight of Derek Black.

That there is some fancy book word’un.


#6

And this, of course, is why integration is so damn important and why racist white people have fought it tooth and nail for the past 60 years, in neighbourhoods and in schools.

Because if your classmates are all the same race and class as you, if you never meet and befriend people who are unlike you, then of couse you will never learn to question the bullshit you got fed as a child.


#7

It was worth twenty minutes of my time, and more than twenty minutes. It’s worth reflecting on for hours, days, sharing with friends and families. This is how you defeat white nationalism, through respect and courtesy and understanding, not memes and slogans and throwing hate back at them. I feel… very small right now, and very moved by what I read.


#8

That was glorious, and I will admit that I cheered (and I feel distinct vicarious pride for the Orthodox Jew who raised a hand in welcome that made such changes). That is how you destroy hate–through acceptance, understanding, and love for the neighbor.


#9


#10

This really should be a story about Matthew Stevenson.


#11

It’s a good thing someone immediately broke his face the first time they heard he was a Nazi. That set him straight.


#12

“That is how you destroy hate”

I agree with this idea, but would venture that it is only ONE of the tools needed to combat hate. It’s a particularly comfortable position for a liberal white male like myself to say “hey friends of colour and jewish friends, you just need to be nice and invite racists/white nationalists to dinner.”

The fact that Derek’s conversion happened in a quiet gradual manner shouldn’t render illegitimate the very public anger and frustration felt by many people. At the end of the day many haters aren’t going to listen and learn, and that is when the state MUST step in to counteract systematic discrimination.


#13

I disagree.

No one can change another person’s mind, if that person does not want to change it.

I don’t want to minimize the fact that Stevenson provided Black with the opportunity to change his own mind, but Black was the one who, through a lot of self-reflection, actually managed to complete the change.

And the story needed to be told as it was: to show where the hatred starts, how it gets reinforced, and the pressures from each side. If the story focused on Stevenson, then the whole point would be, as @mallyboon says, “hey friends of colour and jewish friends, you just need to be nice and invite racists/white nationalists to dinner.”

By telling the story with Black as the main character, you get to see not that he changed, but how and why he changed, which is much more important.


#14

Agreed. I’m still going to get death threats from Derek’s father’s followers on a routine basis for being what I am, and I have no illusions that inviting them to dinner would end any other way than me getting stabbed. But, on a long-term basis, the only way that they can keep the hate going is by shuttering themselves away and wallowing in ignorance, and that will just make them more and more irrelevant.

But the state’s legislative power is still needed in the immediate future to contain the hate, that I will definitely agree on–at least until decency, kindness and maybe a bit of dinner can destroy that hate. And there’s still no question that Derek’s actions took integrity, honesty, conviction and courage, for which I salute him.

EDIT: Concise thought:
The State’s laws can restrain and suppress hate to minimize the damage the hate can do, but only kindness and acceptance can destroy hate.


#15

I agree, the purpose of memes, protest signs and other expressions of anger and frustration aren’t necessarily so much about winning hearts and minds in the opposition as much as it is about showing solidarity and helping vulnerable people feel safe, and less isolated. There was an enormous rally for (er, against) breast cancer in prospect park yesterday that did little actually cure any individual’s physical cancer, but it must have been amazingly uplifting for a survivor / combatant to see.

Also, I think it’s important to note that the Nazi in this story took the first step, and went undercover, and slipped into the mainstream with civility and a low profile. I don’t think “step one: have all the nazis go on a hate-rumspringa, step two: hug them 'till they see the light” is going to be an easily replicable strategy.

Not to say that honey won’t eventually be clinically proven to be more powerful than vinegar for this particular application, but rather that the vinegar is there for a reason, and the honey can prove more complicated to apply than the best-case scenario might suggest. mmmmm honey pickles.


#16

Okay, my brain is now trying to figure out how this would taste.

The closest it’s coming is “cucumber with vinaigrette,” which does sound pretty tasty, actually.


#17

One part I did agree with from his views. The white supremacists should have their have own nation. Then we can wall it off (make them pay for it!) and not have to deal with their stupid any longer.


#18

I keep thinking of this comic: http://zenpencils.com/comic/73-mark-twain-an-educational-journey/


#19

Does anyone else think Don and Stormfront managed to build themselves the perfect counterpoint and activist against their own ideals? If this kid decided to, he’d be the perfect anti-racism speaker.


#20

Absolutely.

I just worry that white people don’t like to hear someone yelling or getting in their face because it makes them uncomfortable. Many white people aren’t active white nationalists, but they support/oppose many of the same policies. And they use the fact that someone is yelling as a reason to disengage and retreat to their comfort zones. Then other liberal white people will do some quality concern trolling, and say “hey, if you want to be heard, stop asking to be heard”. As if rationality and emotion can’t co-exist.

As @Glaurung said, integration is key. The big enemy in that is not Stormfront though. It’s the people who oppose busing programs. It’s the people who think stop and frisk is warranted. No doubt some calm, friendly conversations are a part of that learning and acceptance process and changing peoples minds. But maybe that never happens unless there are some protests, riots and swear words used first?