White nationalists, learning yesterday of activist Derek Black’s renouncing of the movement, reacted with disbelief, conspiracy theories and unbridled fury. But it was the fact that Black, son of the former Alabama Klan leader who now runs the largest racist Web forum in the world, made his comments to the Southern Poverty Law Center that seemed to be the single factor that most rankled the racist world.
The reaction that may have been the most noticed came from Don Black, who expressed his shock about his son’s comments on his Stormfront blog. “Derek was here all weekend, helping us build and replace old windows” at the family home in West Palm Beach, Fla., the elder Black wrote. “He’s made it annoyingly obvious over the past few months he was no longer interested in WN [white nationalist] activism, but he always said he was still WN. I knew the Jews at the Poverty Palace [SPLC] were working hard, since he would be such a big prize for them.
“But he didn’t give us a clue as to what he planned today.”
“I don’t want to talk to him, but his big sister called him, and he confirmed that he had written what the SPLC posted,” Black added. “He says he doesn’t understand why we’d feel betrayed just because he announced his ‘personal beliefs’ to our worst enemies. Oh well. Just when I thought I couldn’t lose anything else.”
On Vanguard News Network (VNN), another racist Web forum, one Leonard Rouse sounded similar. “He sent an email, meant for publication, to his worst enemy, repudiating everything he formerly stood for and that his father claimed and claims to stand for. …. I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, but Jesus.”
Others were far harsher. On the white nationalist Occidental Dissent website, “Maxfield Parrish” didn’t hold back. “He is a traitor, one without hope and one without redemption,” he said of Derek Black, 24. “Should WN’s ever seize power his name should figure prominently on the ‘Hunt Down List.’” Parrish went on to describe how the younger Black should be “softened up with brass knuckles to the face and groin, then water-boarded,” ultimately “reducing him to a quivering, gelatinous lump of obedient flesh,” before being exiled to Africa.
“He is now an open enemy of the survival of the race,” said a VNN posting from “N.B. Forrest” — a reference to Nathan Bedford Forrest, an antebellum owner of a major slaveyard, Confederate general and first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Others, less furiously, were shocked by what they saw as Black’s adoption of “politically correct” language — talking about “people of color,” “structural oppression,” the need for affirmative action and so on. Some were particularly incensed that he apologized for actions that had harmed minorities and “activists striving for opportunity and fairness for all.” Doubtless, that sounded suspiciously like SPLC staffers to many of those reacting angrily to Black’s statement.
“Black has not only rejected WNism, he appears to have embraced the hardest of hardcore anti-racism in the process, and with the zeal of a convert,” a poster who gave his name only as Lew complained on the Occidental Dissent thread. “He covered the bases in regurgitating every anti-white cliché I can think of.”
Numerous posters on racist websites theorized that Derek Black had taken up with a Jewish, liberal or non-white girlfriend; that he was secretly gay; that he was acting out of anger at his father; that he was being blackmailed by the SPLC with an unspecified secret; or that he was still a believer, but wanted a normal life.
There were a few who tried to look at their own movement for answers. On Occidental Dissent, “Pro White Joe,” who is actually well-known Montana neo-Nazi April Gaede, said the problem with the white nationalist movement was its “overwhelming Negativity.” “The problem I see with WN and Nationalist websites in general, is you go to them expecting WN to be about ‘identity, preservation and self determination for Whites’ — Yet almost all of the discussion is rants about ‘niggers, jews and nazis’ and everyone is angry and paranoid.” Gaede is the mother of two daughters who once formed a racist band, Prussian Blue, but who have since renounced white nationalism like Derek Black.
And then there were those who acknowledged the most obvious conclusion — that it’s an error to indoctrinate young children and then expect them to hold to those beliefs as they become adults. “It’s a mistake to involve kids in the Movement, as we have learned the hard way,” “Kievasky” wrote on the Occidental Dissent thread. “Teach your kids right and wrong but don’t use them as spokesmen or public faces for anything. Religions do that too — they force children to publicly announce beliefs when they are too young to even have formed beliefs. You got to let kids be kids. White nationalism is like booze, guns and fast cars — for adults only.”