Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Truth Will Out

As the Observer reports, a Republican candidate for the Charlotte City Council Doug Hanks was outed as a white supremacist this past week. Another local paper the Rhinoceros Times actually broke the story and published a handful of his 4000+ posts (separate article) on the notorious site (I don't want to link to them).

Here's one particularly charming post, as recently as February 25, 2005:
In response to a poll question “Which is worse, same sex marriage or interracial marriage?”

“I hate them both and voted that way, but if I had to pick one over the other, I would say that Zebras are worse because when the fags die, they’re gone. When the Zebras die, they leave non-White offspring to breathe more of my air, steal my tax dollars, and encroach on my land.”
I feel like I need to take a shower after copying that here. The local Republicans smartly washed their hands of him right away.

I bring this up for two reasons: A) Man, sadly, it's easy to forget guys like this exist. And it's easy to think they're all living up in the mountains in shacks or something and to forget that they may be your clean-cut neighbors. B) He was outed by the Internet. Somehow this guy didn't think those thousands of posts on the Stormfront site would ever catch up with him? Of course, he did execute a stunt where he climbed a flagpole at a local cemetary to replace the Confederate flag which had been ordered taken down, so maybe he was just reckless. Still.

Increasingly, our behavior on the internet is another facet of our lives which folks will rightfully be scrutinizing. Makes you wonder how it's all going to play out. How intense that scrutiny is going to get.

The Rhino article also discusses how extremist groups are trying to appear more palatable:
[A]ccording to information provided by the Anti-Defamation League: it’s not uncommon for white supremacist groups to try and assimilate extremist views into the mainstream using a strategy that combines old hatreds with new rhetoric.

Indeed, an entire Stormfront message board is dedicated to how white supremacists should go about infiltrating mainstream politics. Members were asked how they should portray themselves publicly: “Old Klan (more aggressive), New Klan (less aggressive), Professional, Non-professional, or National Alliance (basically Klan, but less secretive).”
Scary stuff.

Local blog The Pryhills also has a photo of Hanks at a protest over the removal of the Confederate flag from the cemetary--about a mile from my place.

Update: Hanks has rather weakly claimed that his 4000+ posts on the Stormfront site were merely research for a book he was working on. Good try, Mr. Hanks. The Rhino Times promptly published an interview they did with him shortly before the story blew up, and he pretty much admits to buying into Stormfront dogma. Here's a representative quote:
Some people might call them radical and racial. Like I said, I look at things from a heritage point of view. We have been conditioned, I think, over the years that being proud of who we are is wrong, that some people are allowed to have that and other people aren’t. You can have, let’s say, you know, Gay Pride or Black Pride or something like that, but when somebody says I’m proud of my German ancestry or something like that, then they automatically interpret that as being racist.
In the end he reaches for the classic white supremicist's cliche:
There’s a big difference between the word racist and racialist, and a lot of people don’t differentiate that.
Interestingly enough, in my humble opinion, the only people I've ever seen try to make such a distinction are, well, racists.

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