Here’s another one of those “ain’t that America” moments that makes you proud. With the country poised to possibly elect a black man to the presidency, neo-Nazis and white supremacists hail this as the beginning of a resurgence of their cause.
Tom Prater, Florida spokesman for the white power group Euro and a member of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, says the Illinois senator’s success is a boon for his cause.
“I’ve gotten more calls in the last two months about interest in our organizations than I got in all the years in the past,” said Prater, who lives in Jacksonville.
August Kreis, national director of Aryan Nations, another white supremacist and anti-Semitic organization, agrees.
“Obama’s done my group a lot of good,” said Kreis, who lives in South Carolina and says he keeps a Nazi flag over his mantel. “He’s polarizing Americans, black and white. “Especially in Florida, affiliates have increased recently,” Kreis said, although he did not produce membership figures.
You can’t even laugh this one off because you know that those who feel threatened by this kind of change will find solace in white power organizations. Don Black, former national grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and the founder of Stormfront.org, brags about revived interest.
“I get nonstop e-mails and private messages from new people who are mad as hell about the possibility of Obama being elected,” Black said. “White people, for a long time, have thought of our government as being for us, and Obama is the best possible evidence that we’ve lost that. This is scaring a lot of people who maybe never considered themselves racists, and it’s bringing them over to our side.”
It’s hard to know how many people are willing to actively join one of these organizations, but it’s safe to say, with the anonymity of the Internet, that those who sympathize will find a more user-friendly outlet that is more palatable. Black has banned the use of terminology (including “nigger”) and obvious white power symbolism such as swastikas, lightning bolts and the number 88.
“This is not a change of philosophy on Black’s part,” [Mark Potok, an investigator for the Southern Poverty Law Center] said. “This is a public relations move to make the Web site seem less drastic, to try and draw more people in right now during the presidential campaign. His beliefs are still fundamentally neo-Nazi. If you listen to the content, you’ll hear it.”
Hat tip to Dave Neiwert, who said:
Of course, the main people doing the scaring are overt race-baiters like Black, as well as the only slightly more subtle smears spread by the likes of Floyd Brown and Co. and their anonymous army of e-mail forwarders. And no doubt they will all do their damnedest to stir up trouble intended to harm an Obama presidency should it happen.