White Supremacy Was Her World. And Then She Left. – The New York Times

Posted By on July 17, 2020

None of that seemed so bad to her. Black people could celebrate their roots, Hispanic ones too. It stood to reason, Ms. Olsen thought, that white people should be able to do the same. Stormfront users presented this as if it were a mathematical proof, not a notion freighted with racist, violent history.

Ms. Olsen wrote a post introducing herself and asking, Is there something wrong with being a white supremacist? I dont outwardly profess hatred for other races; I have to work with them and also serve clients of other races in my industry, and I am very good at what I do. I dont advocate violence toward other races. She continued, What is wrong with seeing our race as superior to that of the blacks? Dont we all?

The responses were plentiful and affirming. There is nothing wrong with having a personal opinion, one read. A commenter with the handle Thoughtful Patriot wrote, Lets face reality: People self-segregate by race. Race, the person added, is an intrinsic part of who we are.

To Ms. Olsen, these people seemed smart. Just as important, she told me, they seemed immensely interested in me and my life, and they wanted to be my friend. To someone who grew up without friends, that was very appealing. It made me feel like I must be doing something right.

She wasnt always sure that she believed what she said when she echoed her new friends views, but what mattered was that they wanted to keep talking to her; all she had to do was log in and start typing. If playing a part graduated to instinct, maybe they would like her even more.

The most basic definition of hate is personal animus, but there is a more useful, and frightening, description: Hate is a social bond a shared currency and it abhors a vacuum.

Kathleen Blee, a sociologist and expert in racist activism, writes that social camaraderie, a desire for simple answers to complex political problems, or even the opportunity to take action against formidable social forces can coexist with, even substitute for, hatred as the reason for participation in organized racist activities.

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White Supremacy Was Her World. And Then She Left. - The New York Times

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