This post is not about politics.

It’s about my ethical discomfort that I can’t get beyond since the events in Charlottesville.

About a glimpse through Derek Black‘s story in this interview into the empowered white nationalist, neo-Nazi and white supremicist fringe groups–and my nausea that comes with internalizing the situation.

The story that Michael Barbaro of the New York Times The Daily eases out of Derek Black in this podcast is a critical glimpse into the normalization of white nationalists by the leaders of that movement. That for myself, before Charlottesville, was something marginal and easy to shirk off.

Hearing the story of the first family of white supremacy with candor and nuance, with the emotional complexities he went through as he came to grips with his own upbringing, has elevated my understanding and seriously challenged my superficially-held preconceptions.

I hesitate to say he has humanized this, but listening to the story lets me understand what it was to be raised from birth to embody the sickness of supremacy as nothing less than normal. As the core bond of family and the strings of love that drove respect for his father as a youth.

I understand more now, but my fears and loathing have escalated, not at all been quieted through understanding.

Derek was born into the elite of white nationalists. His father was an ex grand wizard of the KKK and founder of the website Stormfront. His godfather was David Duke.

He knew nothing other than this world and was a child supremicist celebrity to this nether world online through his dad’s website and presenter on the stage of neo-Nazi and white supremacy conventions from the age of 10-12 years old.

This is his story in his own words of leaving the enclave, going to a liberal arts college, realizing over a period of years that his father was wrong, publicly rejecting this creed and being named an outright traitor by his family.

This is him helping me understand that they were not so much emotional haters as sick, self-proclaimed patriots of a racist cause. They are quite smart, articulate and to my mind not simply the scum of the world but underworldly (for lack of a better term).

I was wrong.

Not about how distasteful or horrid they truly are but how much they are the fabric of our country in ways I was ignorant of.

And to finally understand that to this group, Jews like myself, were not ‘white’ in their eyes in the most racist, pejorative connotations that that ugly terminology is made to conjure up in their twisted-as-shit view of things.

And most chilling of all, to hear from Derek that Donald Trump’s words on Charlottesville were the precise talking points of the white supremacists that he was raised on.  That now, they as a group and the adjacent fringes of the neo-Nazis are empowered, encouraged and reenergized in a way unimaginable before.

They are as high today as they were low when Barack Obama was elected.

That Trump has used the pulpit of the presidency to tell this fringe that they are indeed good folks. That they have a right to breed this sick crap and perpetuate it. He is their spokesperson and hero to their thinking.

This story is beyond sobering, yet thought provoking and illuminating in a way that only the spoken word inside your head can truly accomplish.

I’ve shared this podcast with friends and family and now to you, my community here.

I am uncharacteristically inarticulate so I’ll leave this with slight introduction and an invite to give this a listen.

With a thank you to Michael Barbaro from the NY Times for doing such a great job letting Derek talk.

You might also care to read Derek’s op ed piece from 2016 as background, Why I Left White Nationalism  and if you are looking for a truly great movie that addresses these topics, I rewatched American History X.

This is not available on Soundcloud so you can listen at:

The Derek Black Interview in iTunes

The Derek Black Interview in Google Play

The most important ears that hear this are your own.