Whenever the NYT is worried that a particular meme/ideology is gaining some traction, they will then feature an opinion column by someone who used to be in the said movement, but who now rejects it.
Today, we have “Why I Left White Nationalism” by R. Derek Black, who is the son of Don Black, founder of Stormfront.
The piece even features a nifty piece of expressionist art depicting a ‘whitelash’.
I could easily have spent the night of Nov. 8 elated, surrounded by friends and family, thinking: “We did it. We rejected a multicultural and globalist society. We defied the elites, rejected political correctness, and made a statement millions of Americans have wanted to shout for decades.”
I’d be planning with other white nationalists what comes next, and assessing just how much influence our ideology would have on this administration. That’s who I was a few years ago…
It surprises me now how often Mr. Trump and my 19-year-old self would have agreed on our platforms: tariffs to bring back factory jobs, increased policing of black communities, deporting illegal workers and the belief that American culture was threatened. I looked at my white friends and family who felt dispossessed, at the untapped political support for anyone — even a kid like me — who wasn’t afraid to talk about threats to our people from outsiders, and I knew not only that white nationalism was right, but that it could win.
Ahh… that favored, old trick: conflate what are mainstream, albeit un-PC, opinions (e.g., better trade arrangements; putting limited police resources into high crime areas; enforcing existing immigration laws) with… ‘white nationalism’.
What saved Mr. Black from the abyss? Why, going to a liberal college!
Several years ago, I began attending a liberal college where my presence prompted huge controversy. Through many talks with devoted and diverse people there — people who chose to invite me into their dorms and conversations rather than ostracize me — I began to realize the damage I had done. Ever since, I have been trying to make up for it.
The Left’s martyr complex is revealed when Black writes this howler:
People have approached me looking for a way to change the minds of Trump voters, but I can’t offer any magic technique. That kind of persuasion happens in person-to-person interactions and it requires a lot of honest listening on both sides…
Black then goes into full-blown histrionics mode:
The wave of violence and vile language that has risen since the election is only one immediate piece of evidence that this campaign’s reckless assertion of white identity comes at a huge cost. More and more people are being forced to recognize now what I learned early: Our country is susceptible to some of our worst instincts when the message is packaged correctly.
No checks and balances can redeem what we’ve unleashed. The reality is that half of the voters chose white supremacy, though saying that makes me a hypocrite. I was a much more extreme partisan than a vast majority of Trump voters and I never would have recognized that label.
Inadvertently, Black admits how easily common-sense identity-politics by whites can dovetail with that dastardly phenomenon known as white nationalism:
Mr. Trump’s comments during the campaign echoed how I also tapped into less-than-explicit white nationalist ideology to reach relatively moderate white Americans. I went door-to-door in 2008 talking about how Hispanic immigration was overwhelming “American” culture, how black neighborhoods were hotbeds of crime, and how P.C. culture didn’t let us talk about any of it. I won that small election with 60 percent of the vote…
If I had not changed, I would have been jubilant after this election and more certain than ever that anxiety from a shrinking white majority would result in the election of more people who tap into this simple narrative.
A lot can change, Mr. Black, but right now I am more certain than ever.