How the heir apparent of white nationalism left the movement

Derek Black was royalty among U.S. white nationalists. His godfather, David Duke, is a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, and his father founded one of the first white supremacist online forums, Stormfront. According to a profile in The Washington Post, at age 10, Mr. Black built a children’s version of the popular hate site; in high school, he hosted a radio show to promote the idea that immigration was leading to a white genocide. In the parlance of this year’s presidential contest, Derek Black would have fit comfortably in what Hillary Clinton called “the basket of deplorables.”

But the wunderkind of white pride did not take a victory lap when, in a speech about the alt-right this summer, Mrs. Clinton said Donald Trump was “helping a radical fringe take over the Republican Party.” Six years ago, Mr. Black enrolled at a small liberal arts school. He kept his racist views to himself and made some friends, including an immigrant from Peru and the only Orthodox Jew at the school.


When his internet alter ego was revealed in 2011, classmates felt betrayed and disgusted. But Matthew Stevenson decided ostracizing his friend would accomplish nothing; instead, he invited Mr. Black to Shabbat dinner. Over Friday meals and a contentious email thread, the Shabbat crew questioned and challenged Mr. Black, who reconsidered the views he was brought up with and formally renounced white nationalism in 2013.

Hate-hardened hearts are rarely won over in Twitter wars. But what Mr. Stevenson understood, and what our Catholic faith tells us, is that while some ideas—anti-Semitism and racism chief among them—are irredeemable, no person is beyond redemption.


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J Cosgrove
11 months 4 weeks ago
This is a pretty desperate attempt to try to connect Donald Trump with racism just as he is pointing out what true racism has caused in the US. I believe the editors should look at those who have caused the dysfunctionality in the Black community and then receive their votes as the greatest example of racism we have in the United States. And by the way I do not support Donald Trump.
Anne Chapman
11 months 3 weeks ago
How does one distinguish between "racism" and "bigotry"? In our country, racism has been primarily directed towards African Americans. Trump's bigotry has been primarily directed towards Latinos and Muslims. Is this bigotry towards those of different ethnic and religious backgrounds not racism? If not, is it less evil than racism? There are reasons the white supremecist groups, and the American Nazi party, have so strongly backed Trump and are working very hard to get out the vote for him. They see him as enmbodying their "values" - that America is for those descended from white Europeans. He has not renounced their support. I'm glad to know that you don't support Trump. No christian should support him. Everything he stands for represents a betrayal of christian teaching, and American values.
J Cosgrove
11 months 3 weeks ago
A couple things:
How does one distinguish between "racism" and "bigotry"?
The word racism is a more emotionally charged concept so it is the term of preference by those trying to put down others. The editors use it here frequently and it is nearly always used in the context of bigotry towards blacks. The term bigotry is so vague that it could be used to explain a person's dislike for someone because of a religous or political position they take or maybe their accent or clothes choice. The article uses the KKK and David Duke and their association with anti-black movements. So racism is definitely used in this context. If you want to discuss unfettered immigration and Muslims, then that is a separate discussion.
Everything he stands for represents a betrayal of christian teaching, and American values.
Trump has taken many positions. One has to distinguish between those positions and the individual. He has espoused positions I support and positions I oppose. So to lop everything into a betrayal of Christian teaching is nonsense. Are you suggesting that Trump's position on the Democratic Party's policies of causing dysfunction in the black community as un Christian? I would think that the Democratic Party is a very un Christian organization and his opposition though maybe only political is very Christian. After all the Democratic party has done more harm to blacks in the United States then the KKK or David Duke could ever dream of. So does that make Hillary Clinton a supporter of un Christian teaching and values? I would think so. Communist groups support Hillary Clinton and communism has caused exponentially more harm in this world than the white supremacists so if one is going to point out white supremacist support for Trump, then one has to point out the communist support for Clinton in addition to support for her by those who have caused the extensive harm to blacks. By the way has Hillary Clinton denounced Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez and how their very public acts of lewd entertainment could affect young women negatively in the United States. If you want to see real bigotry look no further than US universities:
Carlos Orozco
11 months 4 weeks ago
What a sad hit piece this is. Donald Trump is made guilty by association. If you are going to write about the Alt-Right movement, then mention the enormously popular web sites INFOWARS, DRUDGEREPORT, BREITART, not some shady site nobody has heard of. If are want to discuss racism and the presidential candidates, be fair and disclose, just to start with, Hillary Clinton's relation with the deceased Senator and former Klansman Robert Byrd, whom she called "her mentor". America Magazine has a reputation to safeguard, regardless of who wins the November 8th election. Don't you agree? Unlike the mass corporate media, I think America Magazine is redeemable. Just be fair and don't insult the intelligence of your readers.

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