The Son Of Stormfront’s Right-Wing Apology Tour
Derek Black, cherubic Aryan-in-exile and Stormfront’s prodigal son, is not likely to return home and assume the mantle of fascism’s IT admin-in-chief any time soon.
But after his recent round of hand-wringing in the New York Times over an ascendant Trump administration — one that he had an active hand in laying the groundwork for, by the way — one can’t help but wonder if he still keeps an Iron Eagle close to his heart.
In “Why I Left White Nationalism,” Black simultaneously accuses his former tribe of being profoundly influential in Donald Trump’s rise to power while appearing clueless as to how white people have become so hateful.
It’s almost as if Trump’s ability to tap into a “less-than-explicit white nationalist ideology to reach relatively moderate white Americans” wasn’t something he pioneered back in 2008 to win elections in Florida, right after Obama was elected.
Despite his watered-down pleas to better empathize with the darkness that lurks in the hearts of angry white men, Black managed to strike enough sympathetic and conciliatory chords that his piece seemed to go largely unnoticed, despite the relatively high profile of its author. All the more reason to dredge it up now, if only to set the record straight.
First, there was his appeal to respectability politics, as seen through the recent confrontation by the cast of Hamilton of VP-Elect Mike Pence after a recent show:
“I think the “Hamilton” cast modeled well one way to make that same connection when they appealed to Vice President-elect Mike Pence from the stage: “We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.” Afterward, the actor Brandon Victor Dixon explained, “I hope he thinks of us every time he has to deal with an issue or talk about a bill or present anything.” I’m sure Mr. Pence believes his policies are just. But now he has heard from individuals who are worried about those policies. That might open him to new conversations.”
People of color are welcome to ask the Orange Reich for clemency, as long as they remain appropriately servile in doing so. In Tea Party regalia. After shucking and jiving for a few hours to earn their place at the negotiating table. Do that, and we’ll consider considering your request.
Somehow, I doubt Black would have the same glowing commentary for something like, say, blocking a major freeway at risk of arrest or worse, or ten thousand protesters occupying sacred Indian land to defend it from oil barons, even though both happen to be considerably more effective in actually getting things done.
Clearly, Black also missed the Vice Presidential debate, where Pence lied to the moderators’ face so many times in such a short period that a bank of computers at PolitiFact HQ caught fire. The only thing Mike Pence believes in is Mike Pence, and his ability to hide like Anne Frank in the baggage compartment on the Trump train until it’s safe to come out and run against the man in 2020 or 2024.
Speaking of shielding the truth, Black wants you to know that #notallwhitepeople are fascists or ex-fascists like him, and that Trump supporters didn’t take him any more seriously than his opposition did.
“The motivations that led to this choice are more complex. I have no doubt many of his supporters voted thinking he’d soften his rhetoric, that his words didn’t really matter. The words were not disqualifying for them because they don’t see, or refuse to see, what the message of hate will reap.”
You don’t look a fascist presidential candidate dead in the eye day after day, for eighteen straight months, and still pull the lever for him because you can’t or won’t see the damage that electing him might inflict. You do it precisely because you can see it, and you either want it to happen or don’t give a shit if it does.
Literally millions of Americans voted for Trump because, even if they didn’t believe he’d build a wall and make Mexico pay for it or kick out all the Muslims or grab China by the pussy, they’d totally be cool with it if he did.
But, but…they didn’t mean it! Really, they didn’t! They just want to help!
“Most of Mr. Trump’s supporters did not intend to attack our most vulnerable citizens…Even those on the furthest extreme of the white nationalist spectrum don’t recognize themselves doing harm — I know that because it was easy for me, too, to deny it.”
Come. The fuck. ON. You can’t sit here and tell me that the dude who founded motherfucking STORMFRONT, the nation’s oldest and largest neo-Nazi Internet stronghold, doesn’t recognize the harm he’s doing to people of color in this country, or isn’t doing the goose-step jig over it on the daily.
The only thing he and every other flavor of bigot that voted for Trump don’t seem to realize is that every harm they do to black and brown people in America is visited back upon them through the very same people and policies they support, because those same people and policies only give a fuck about them so far as they can continue to cull an angry, hate-filled mob for votes.
Look, I’m sure Derek Black means well, and I’m sure he’s genuinely appalled that the monster he helped create is now running loose and destroying everything in sight. But any indictment of the racist body politic that says “forgive them, for they know not what they do” only makes sense if you, too are trying to hide like Anne Frank in the baggage compartment on the Trump train until it’s safe to come out and run against the man in 2020 or 2024.
“Why I Left White Nationalism,” is the socially liberal equivalent of a white supremacy apology tour, one that is all the more dangerous for its very real note of contrition. As long as Derek Black doesn’t have to make his “choice of embracing or rejecting our own people” before the court of public opinion, the New York Times can continue to leave a light on for bigots on the Beltway. They just need to come in through the back.
This article originally appeared on Pink Elephants on December 7th, 2016. For more Pink Elephants, click here.