Thirty years ago, white supremacy groups were a real, legitimate, dangerous thing.
Various groups – “Christian Identity”, “Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord” , the “Posse Comitatus” and of course the Klan – had, if not “power”, at least an effect on the world around them. I’ve run into it twice in my life; my interaction with the Gordon Kahl incident back in North Dakota in ’83, and the smattering of anti-semitic death threats I got when I was on the air at KSTP – simultaneously funny (I’m a Christian who is ethnically northern-european, with no Jewish ancestry whatsoever) and not so funny (it was about the time when neo-Nazis killed Denver talk show host Alan, er, Berg).
At the time, “skinheads” – remember them? – roamed the streets of the Twin Cities openly, attacking gays and people of color (I witnessed an attack by 3-4 skins on a rather dapper black man walking with a white woman in Uptown back in 1987, and briefly accelerated and swerved my car to try to run one of them down as he fled the scene before thinking better of it).
Remember when Geraldo Rivera came to Janesville Wisconsin to meet (and, eventually, “fight”) with Klansmen? Ask yourself – do you think the Klan is openly having meetings in Janesville today? (Actually, given that it was Geraldo Rivera, you might ask if it was even accurate back then – Rivera was doing “fake news” before it was cool).
Even twenty years ago, there was an active Neo-Nazi cell in Saint Cloud (where else?) and even a not-even-all-that-neo Nazi record label, Panzerfaust Records, operating openly in the Twin Cities.
When was the last time you saw an actual skinhead? Heard of the Posse Comitatus? Heard of anyone getting blown up or shot by neo-Nazis? It’s been decades, right?
“White Supremacy” has become a tinier, more lunatic fringe than it was; a shadow of itse former self. Which isn’t to say that groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center aren’t going to say so – the more boogeymen in pointy sheets they claim they find, the more money they get (which is one of the reasons they go around declaring utterly civil thinks tanks like the Taxpayers League of Minnesota are “hate groups”) There are bowling leagues with more members and clout than the Klan has these days.
One gets the impression that the mainstream, left-leaning media is dying to fix that. They’re giving whatever’s left of the Klan a whoooole lot of free advertising:
To say that the series’ arrival is timely would be an understatement. The racial divide and white nationalism emerged among the bigger themes of the recent election. David Duke, a former Klan leader and perhaps one of the most outspoken racists in America, was a vocal Donald Trump supporter and has called his presidential victory a win for “his people.”
I suspect and suggest that all the free advertising is happening precisely to create more white supremacists. Because narratives don’t further themselves.