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Activist Son of Key Racist Leader Renounces White Nationalism

By Mark Potok on July 17, 2013 - 10:15 am, Posted in Extremist Propaganda, White Nationalism

Derek Black, son of the former Alabama Klan leader who now runs the largest racist Web forum in the world, has renounced white nationalism, saying that he has been through “a gradual awakening process” and apologizing for his past activism.

In an E-mail (pdf) to the editor of this blog earlier this week, Black, 24, wrote that he had come to see the arguments of white nationalism as “principally flawed,” adding that he had realized that American society is marked by an “overwhelming disparity between white power and that of everyone else” and that white nationalism was really about “an entrenched desire to preserve white power at the expense of others.”

“Advocating for white nationalism means that we are opposed to minority attempts to elevate themselves to a position equal to our own,” wrote Black, who recently finished his third year at the elite New College of Florida. “It is an advocacy that I cannot support, having grown past my bubble, talked to the people I affected, read more widely, and realized the necessary impact my actions had on people I never wanted to harm.”

It was a remarkable statement for Black, whose father, Don Black, once served time in prison for plotting a racist invasion of a small Caribbean nation and founded and still runs Stormfront, a white supremacist Web forum. The younger Black was raised in the racist movement, had by age 12 created a racist children’s page on his father’s website, and until recently hosted a radio show featuring racist guests.

But it was also the latest step in a fairly clear evolution.

Already, at the tender age of 9, Derek Black was attending racist events like this Nov. 7, 1998, gathering in Jackson, Miss., of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” He is pictured here with then-Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice, one of few politicians who was then still willing to be seen at CCC events.

Last November, Derek Black posted a statement on a students-only forum at his college in which he explicitly said he was not a white supremacist, a neo-Nazi or a Klansman, and revealing that he had some unexpected views, such as support for same-sex marriage, environmental regulation, and legal abortion. But he also said in the statement, which was made public on this blog in December, that he was not renouncing white nationalism and did not see it as incompatible with his other views.

In his E-mail this week, Black said that he was already moving away from white nationalism at the time, but that “I was not prepared to risk driving any wedge” into his relationship with his family, “whom I respect greatly, particularly my father.” But, he added, “After a great deal of thought since then, I have resolved that it is in the best interests of everyone involved, directly or indirectly, to be honest about my slow but steady disaffiliation from white nationalism.” He described himself as having spent “the past few years … disentangling myself from white nationalism,” and added that he had closed down his radio show permanently this January. He said that he had not posted at all on Stormfront this year, and only once in 2012. He said he did attend a Stormfront conference in 2012, but would not do so again this year.

Black also directly confronted some of the main arguments of white nationalism, such as the idea that whites are being victimized by non-white immigration, mixed-race marriages and affirmative action — what amounts, in the arguments of white nationalists, to “genocide” aimed at destroying the white race. He also ridiculed many white nationalists’ “particularly bizarre” hatred of Jews.

“I now consider this belief system principally flawed,” he said. “Most arguments that racial equity programs disadvantage whites who would otherwise be hired or accepted to academic programs mask underlying anxieties about the growth of non-white social status. It is impossible to argue rationally that in our society, with its overwhelming disparity between white power and that of everyone else, racial equity programs intended to affect the deep-rooted situation represent oppression of whites.” Indeed, Black added, “The advancement of minorities in the US is not insignificant, but has not ended (let alone reversed) their circumstances.”

Black was explicitly apologetic. “I acknowledge that things I have said as well as my actions have been harmful to people of color, people of Jewish descent, activists striving for opportunity and fairness for all, and others affected.”

“I can’t support a movement that tells me I can’t be a friend to whomever I wish or that other people’s races requires me to think about them in a certain way or be suspicious of their advancements,” Black wrote toward the end of his four-page statement. “Minorities must have the ability to rise to positions of power, and many supposed ‘race’ issues are in fact issues of structural oppression, poor educational prospects, and limited opportunity. The differences I thought I observed didn’t go nearly as deeply as I imagined. I believe we can move beyond the sort of mind-boggling emphasis white nationalism puts on maintaining an oppressive, exclusive sense of identity — oppressive for others and stifling for our society.”

  • Jose

    Well, this “conversion” will give more impetus for those advocating racism to keep their children in a veil of ignorance by keeping them out of the “liberal” unversities where they may risk enlightenment. Yes, these universities that “corrupt” “pure” white children by exposing them to the leftist ideology that there is justice in equality. White supremacist will argue to keep their kids out of universities.

  • Reynardine

    Kiwi: Do not omit instant mashed potatoes from your list. They are obligatory.

  • Reynardine

    Well, I am reminded of an old joke.

    How do you tell a WASP rainbow from all the other rainbows?

    It only has three colors in it: blue, gray, and beige.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Well, Awi, I have a simple answer to your whining about “white culture,” so listen closely and pay attention…like a “superior white person.”

    “White culture.”

    What is it? Can you define it? Can you show it to me? Some examples? I’ve heard of English culture, German culture, French, culture, Spanish culture, Danish culture, Dutch culture, Norwegian culture, and even Swiss culture.

    What is “white culture?” Is it a form of cooking? White bread and mayonaisse, perhaps? Is it a form of art? Music? Writing? Show me a “white” artist, composer, or writer.

    “White culture,” as defined by its practitioners, seems to be heavily tattooed guys with lengthy criminal records, dysfunctional families, shaved heads, low education, and thick necks gathering together on farms in the Pacific Northwest or occasional demonstrations, wearing bits and pieces of Nazi uniforms, shouting “Sieg Heil” for the TV cameras, drinking American domestic beer while giving obscene gestures to the private cameras, or stomping each other into insensibility in a “mosh pit,” a drunken rage, or a spat over who actually owned the CD.

    Can you show me a history of “White culture?” University-accredited classes on the subject? A pantheon of leading lights of “white culture?”

    Where can we find this “White Culture?” On the Stormfront website, with people hurling vitriolic insults and paranoia at each other? At a Nazi rally, where the leader demands death to all white people who don’t share his neck size? At the right tables in a federal prison cafeteria, where the all-white meth dealers gather to control the drug and prostitution trade in the cell blocks?

    Please define “white culture” for us. Fill this web page with examples of “white culture.”

    I’ll be waiting.

  • Aron

    Avi,

    Here’s the problem with your theory: there’s no such culture as ‘white people!’ Advocating for white nationalism is inherently racist. There’s no such thing as ‘European.’ There’s no such thing as ‘African.’ There’s no such thing as ‘Asian.’ There’s no such thing as Australian. Nor are there ‘North American’ and ‘South American.’

    Hell, there probably isn’t even such thing as ‘Antarctican,’ though there hasn’t been enough penguin anthropological studies to be certain that there are different cultures.

    Do you catch my drift? Race is an invention. Culture is not.

  • Cathy Cotton

    PROUD OF YOU DEREK!

    Don’t worry. Deep breath. You are inspired and inspiring.

    One fall, over 15 years ago, I took a Communications course, at the end of which the Instructor handed each of us a cut out piece of holiday wrapping paper with a message written on the back:
    “Good luck in your search for justice”

    That was a clarifying moment in my life – I guess we all seek justice – but that just lit something up in me. So I say to you, good luck in your search for justice.

    And thank you for sharing your enlightenment.

    Peace.