I heard two different numbers the other day and started wondering if there’s a scientific method to determine exactly how many white supremacists there are in America. The first number was provided by a presumably white Internet associate (I wouldn’t go as far as calling him a friend) who I communicate with regularly on a purported legal blog which seems to attract quite a few white supremacists. He insists that the only people that qualify as white supremacists are card-carrying members of the Klan and nobody else. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimated in 2016 that there were 3,000 active members at that time. Therefore his number was 3,000.
A real-life black friend recalled hearing a speech given by the Rev. James M. Lawson who estimated the number at 50 million. For those who don’t know, Lawson played a pivotal role in organizing the Freedom Riders working with students primarily from Fisk University and Tennessee State including Diane Nash and Congressman John Lewis. Lawson was a serious activist during the civil rights era and has some credibility on the subject.
There’s quite a difference between 3,000 and 50 million so I wanted to consider ways to narrow the gap, assuming the true answer is somewhere in the middle. I considered that there are other organizations besides the Klan that would qualify as white supremacists. I went back to the SPLC and looked at their designated hate groups, this doesn’t make them white supremacists as these groups include al sorts of haters and all the groups are not mostly white.
I felt safe in including the American Freedom Party which “exists to represent the political interests of white Americans.” They also want to return America to, “White Rule.” I added the American Renaissance and the Aryan Brotherhood. The Brotherhood seems to be hard to enter and leave with their motto, “Blood in, blood out!” They’re mostly a prison gang but run gambling and prostitution rings. The “Brotherhood of Klans” (different than the Imperial Klans of America, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan) has gone international and claims to have about 250 Canadian members who I’m not including in my total. Looking at the various Klan organizations alone, I was starting to suspect my associate may have misled me with that 3,000 number. It could also have been an honest mistake.
Working backward alphabetically there was; White Revolution, White Lives Matter, Vinlanders Social Club, VDARE, United Constitutional Patriots… By the time I got to the League of the South (they want to politically dominate black people and other minorities. I was ready to accept that the number of white supremacists affiliated with groups in the United States exceeded 500,000 as estimated by one source. Then I read something that was truly disturbing which was that most white supremacists don’t affiliate with organizations. It’s probably because of the dues.
Most white supremacists do not belong to organized hate groups, but rather participate in the white supremacist movement as unaffiliated individuals. Thus the size of the white supremacist movement is considerably greater than just the members of hate groups. Among white supremacist groups, gangs are becoming increasingly important. -ADL
That made sense to me, the average white supremacist isn’t marching down the streets anymore in his/her robe and hood. It’s your co-worker, your pharmacist, the bagger at your local grocery store… your minister. White supremacists look just like your white neighbor, and maybe your neighbor is one?
Instead of working from the bottom number and adding up. I wanted to look at the 50 million number and see if I needed to reduce it. I said to myself, white supremacists would likely do white supremacists things; like vote in their self-interest. In the past Presidential election. A white supremacist would likely have viewed it would be in their self-interest to vote for Donald Trump as opposed to Hillary Clinton. How many people voted for Trump? Just under 63 million people.
Now I am not suggesting that everyone that voted for Trump is a white supremacist. A lot of wealthy people who wanted to get a lot richer with his tax cut might have voted for Trump. Desperate coal miners and their families thinking Trump would put them back to work. Blacks for Trump? No that was just a couple guys with signs at his rallies. The point is that no good information could be gleaned by looking at Trump voters.
I went back to my hypothesis that white supremacists do white supremacist things. I looked at states where people voted to legalize voter suppression. Who wanted to ban Muslims? How many people were Birthers? Who thought “both sides” were to blame in Charlottesville?
I never got close to establishing an exact number of white supremacists in America. I’m positive that 3,000 was a terribly low estimate. I wish I could have proved the 50 million number was wrong beyond all doubt, but I couldn’t. Assuming Trump hasn’t gotten himself Impeached and is still the Republican Nominee, he may get 63 million votes again and all of them won’t be white supremacists. It will be true they don’t mind mingling with them, however.
I read a lot of blog posts, some from people I don’t always (or ever) agree with. I saw a recent post from Jonathan Turley, a Constitutional Lawyer who often appears on MSNBC to discuss Constitutional Law issues. He posted about a white Georgia Police Sergeant who was fired from her small-town police force, allegedly for flying a Confederate Flag in her yard. The post itself wasn’t inflammatory, he concluded the woman likely had 1st Amendment grounds for a lawsuit. Then the comments began…
Only a few people had commented before I replied. Most were supportive of the woman and her rights. Dismissive of the “overly sensitive people” who filed the initial complaint and attacked the political correctness of the police department that fired her. The reason provided by their Internal Affairs department was that she “engaged in conduct that was unbecoming” and “brought discredit to the Roswell Police Department.”
I replied, “The flag does have negative connotations and does reflect poorly on the Department. Whether there is a sufficient legal basis to remove her may depend on her contract and whatever clauses exist and how vague they were. We are presuming the sole reason for her firing is flying the flag (which is legal) which may not be the case. There is a portion of the citizenry that would find her flying that flag offensive. I believe it is generally illegal to walk around naked in one’s home if visible to others with some constitutionally protected exceptions. Whether it should be offensive to others is debatable. That it is… is not.”
That’s when they came for me!
Olly: “There is a portion of the citizenry that would find her flying that flag offensive.”
“There is also a portion that are offended by the Rainbow flag. There are portions of our citizenry that are offended by any number of things for any number of reasons. Is there some objective standard that you can possibly think of that might protect you, me, your family, everyone from being arrested merely because someone took offense to an object they happen to have visible on their own property? Anything?”
Me: “She was under no threat of being arrested. She according to the article was dismissed because she reflected poorly on the department which I don’t doubt is true. I suspect she will ultimately win a lawsuit, be reinstated with back pay and continue to fly her flag. The “Heritage” she claims the flag stands for will win out. The offended will have no recourse as has almost always been true.”
Nancy: “So, true. She is the one offended and has no recourse against those with leukophobia. I firmly believe that bigotry is fear that grows out of ignorance. We have no hope of being other than a society of all kinds of bigots if we are offended by all things, try to remove any words and history associated with our fears, cease trying to understand the whys and wherefores of those with differing views. This is an America where freedom ceases and we are driven underground. It is why many left their countries in the past and now seek entry to America. What a sad state of affairs.”
Me: “I confess I had to look up “leukophobia,” because the fear of the color white never occurred to me as being an actual thing. Pray tell what is the effect of this fear gripping the nation? Has any minority truly achieved equal rights? Hasn’t gerrymandering, redistricting and voter suppression kept you in control despite changing demographics? The saddest thing I can imagine is a poor white person that has never experienced 10% of the affronts minorities have in the present let alone the past. You’re not driven underground. Redlining and restrictive covenants have ensured you got all the best places. Please elaborate on the suffering you have endured as a white person? Stop & Frisk? Hyper mass incarceration. Racial profiling? Lynching? Let me know when I get one right.”
Squeeky Fromme — Girl Reporter (who apparently idolizes the Manson family) wrote: “The “offended” will have the recourse that they have always had, which is, to “Get a life!” I am offended every time I hear somebody laud Trayvon Martin, but know what? I have a life sooo I get on with it.
If black people need something to get offended over, might I suggest the ridiculously high illegitimate birth rate among black women, and the way that black men have been made unnecessary in their own families by Democratic Party policies. That is something that blacks actually have some control over. Their own lives.”
If you know me, you know I actually enjoy engaging with idiot’s on-line. I picture them getting angrier while I get calmer and bombard them with information for which they have no logical argument.
Me: “There are many policies that have helped remove black men from their families. Kudos to you for recognizing that. We might disagree as to whether or not they are strictly Democrat Party Policies although many were. Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voter Rights Act in the 60’s. Republicans (many of them who migrated from the Democrat Party) have done more than their share. Lee Atwater and the Southern Strategy, Mass incarceration began during the Nixon Administration although every President since has contributed to it (including Clinton and Obama). I don’t know that Trayvon Martin was made out to be a hero. Just a representation that one ought to be able to walk home from a 7-Eleven.”
Paul: “enigmainblackcom — one should not be allowed to pound someone’s head into the sidewalk.”
Me: “I supposed we’ll never know exactly what happened as Trayvon was unable to tell his side of the story. One thing that’s certain is that the entire situation was of George Zimmerman’s creation, after he disobeyed the police dispatcher’s instructions not to continue to follow.”
Paul: “enignainblackcom — I cannot believe how many people think that the police dispatcher ordered him to not follow him, she only suggested. She has no power to order anyone.”
Me: “I didn’t say she ordered him not to follow or that it was illegal. I am saying that everything that happened after that point is a direct result of his actions. His behavior since the trial does nothing to improve his credibility.”
Squeeky: “Oh the heck with the “Southern Strategy” canard. More word salads. I assure you that Lakeesha of the Hood is not thinking about Lee Atwater when she is laid up in the sack doing some Willie Horton wannabe in the sack. Or the next thug baby daddy, or the next. Nope, she is thinking about “benefits.”
And the “mass incarceration” canard is another non-starter. My goodness, but the durn Mexicans can swim the Rio Grande and find work. They roof houses, or work in slaughterhouses, or restaurants. And most of them don’t even speak English. And the poor old black men who just can’t find nothing to do except sell drugs and rob stuff? Hogwash. they are criminals, and don’t give a hoot about the very black people they sell the drugs to. They can be in prison, or they can be in the neighborhood.
And Trayvon? Oh my, but silly-a$$ white people were putting on hoodies and trying to end the right of self-defense after Poor Old Trayvon. What a joke. The little thug was busting George’s head into the sidewalk, and got shot in the process. That was hardly just “walking home from the 7–11.” Good riddance to bad rubbish, IMHO.
But by all means, ignore what blacks do to themselves, and sit around whining about slavery and Rebel flags. Geeesh, but most parts of the country haven’t had slavery for over 200 years, and many places, never, and blacks are still blaming whitey for their woes.”
Me: That’s as comprehensive a collection of misconceptions as I’ve seen in one place in the history of ever. So much that I don’t want to try to address everything individually. I would say that your premise that because slavery ended over 200 years ago that it wasn’t replaced by other institutions that were highly effective in suppressing a people. Slavery didn’t end and then everything was okay. It was replaced by Jim Crow. Those that couldn’t document employment were interned and sentenced to labor camps in some areas and were literally still slaves. There was some immediate progress. Former slaves in some areas got to vote and during Reconstruction actually sent members to Congress. In 1876–7, after a disputed Presidential election, Democrats (they were the bad guys then) ceded the Presidency as part of a deal to have Federal Troops removed from the South. Reconstruction ended and Jim Crow began.
I won’t explain to you what Jim Crow was, you might consider it more word salad. When The Civil Rights Act and Voter Rights Act were passed in the 1960’s. Many angry Democrats (Dixiecrats) fled the party and became Republicans. Lyndon Johnson famously said that Democrats had, “lost the South for a generation.” He may have underestimated. Then came the Southern Strategy you so easily dismiss as if it weren’t a real thing. The widow Atwater was front and center at the Republican Convention, happy to see the resurgence of her late husband’s beliefs. The Republican Party has a coordinated and comprehensive pattern of Voter Suppression which goes far beyond Voter ID which I could agree with it there was no cost which would be an Unconstitutional Poll Tax. I know, more word salad.
I suspect you have no true concept of what systemic things are substantially responsible for the difference in economic achievement between blacks and whites in America. Even you might agree whites had a bit of a head start. You might research “Black Wall Street” where what was the most prosperous black neighborhood in the nation was shot up by whites and police and bombed from the air by the National Guard outside Tulsa, OK. You might research The Ocoee Massacre where all the residents of the town were either killed, burned out or allowed to leave after two black men tried to vote outside Orlando, FL. The city of Ocoee stayed all-white for over 40 years. This is in the same county as Orlando yet nothing is ever taught about this, even locally.
I submit we should have a White History Month where the parts of American History too inconvenient to talk about and never seen on Fox News or read on Breitbart can be taught. I submit you live in a bubble which you demonstrated quite eloquently.
Mespo: “At some point, you might want to stop blaming people who weren’t even born for other people’s troubles. You might even consider that some problems in the black community are its modern cultural acceptance of illegitimacy caused by the welfare state and a persistent refusal to cooperate with police in fighting crime. And then you might want to adopt the very American belief in self-reliance. Until then, you’ll be complaining to an ever shrinking audience. Every group has troubles; some learn to deal with them and others don’t. No one owes anybody anything in a capitalist democracy except what the law requires.”
Me: “If you read through the various posts responding to me. It is Black people who have been blamed for all manner of things. All the while dismissing any rationale which suggests a rigged system or unequal playing field. I believe heavily in self-reliance. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real barriers, purposely erected to slow our progress.”
Paul: “enigmainblackcom — the only thing standing in the way of blacks today is blacks themselves. They are their own worst enemies. BLM has done more damage to the race than anything since Birth of a Nation.”
Me: “What is it you think Black Lives Matter stands for?”
Paul: “enignainblackcom — it is not what BLM originally stood for, it is what it stands for now.”
Me: “That wasn’t an answer to my question. I’ll try again. What do you think Black Lives Matter stands for now? I submit the original purpose hasn’t changed. Just the onslaught of negative publicity allowing people to ignore their message.”
Mespo: “There are short cuts purposely set up to speed your progress as well like college preferences, hiring preferences, affirmative action and the like which mitigate the historical discrimination. That never gets talked about.”
Steve (an ally): “There are short cuts purposely set up to speed your progress as well like inheritance laws, life insurance to avoid probate, legacy preference, and the like which suggest a rigged system or unequal playing field and which mitigate what you see as reverse discrimination. That never gets talked about.”
Me: “What I like about having responded to this one post about the right of one Georgia police sergeant to fly the Confederate Flag in her yard is being called on to address a wide range of issues. I don’t know that I accept the term “short cuts” when what actually happened was providing limited access to education/jobs/business opportunities that were historically denied. I’ll start with the colleges. At the end of slavery, a combination of efforts by the Freedmen’s Bureau and the establishment of Land Grant Colleges gave some black people the opportunity to attend college. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBU’s) were initially almost the only school’s black people and they did a relatively good job of educating initially teachers. Later doctors and dentists with the majority matriculating from two Medical schools, Meharry in Nashville and Howard in Washington, DC. Land grant colleges were initially intended to educate Americans in science and agriculture. The first beneficiaries were schools like Kansas State, Texas A&M, Rutgers and Cornell. Their funding was based on the Morrill Act of 1863 (slavery was still in force). A second Morrill act was passed circa 1890 which created a number of state-owned schools for the education of black people. Some private schools like Fisk University founded in 1866 already existed. To be clear, the establishment of many black schools were a way to have an alternative to ending segregation and were the result not of a new special program but one that had existed for 27 years and benefitting white people only with tax dollars that black Americans contributed to.. When desegregation finally came to public Universities (being implemented with “all deliberate speed”) the pace was so slow and admissions so few that Affirmative Action programs for colleges and universities were established to get those schools to do what they were not inclined to do on their own. In general, the percentage of blacks admitted were less than that of the population so instead of being a “short cut”.It set admission levels artificially low, a percentage most schools were not inclined to exceed. A case can be made that some black students were admitted that were unprepared for a college curriculum. I submit it had little to do with intelligence but was a reflection of the inferior resources of the segregated schools they came from including books, facilities and more. “Separate but equal” was a slogan but never a reality.”
(I would have continued but I reached the maximum number of characters for a reply.)
The conversation is ongoing. I did leave out some posts solely for length, certainly not because of any persuasive arguments I was afraid to print. The point is that some white people are living in a separate reality in which Black people have so many advantages, gained at the expense of white people and their upset about a changing demographic under which their reign will end. I avoided calling any of them racist because historically they would shut down, call me the racist for having the nerve to call them out. I’d like to think a couple of them at least considered some of the uncomfortable facts I brought up but I suspect like one person, they consider it all “word salad.”
P.S. The on-line, mostly anonymous names have not been changed to protect the innocent. It’s scary that most of them are, lawyers, judges, legal secretaries, or have some connection with the legal system. Of course, they don’t represent all white people. Then again 63, 000,000 voted for Trump?
We have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race. To incorporate Mexico, would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the Government of a white race…. We are anxious to force free government on all; and I see that it has been urged … that it is the mission of this country to spread civil and religious liberty over all the world, and especially over this continent. It is a great mistake
Sen. John C. Calhoun – SC
The History of American (White) Exceptionalism: Chapter Five
“We have never dreamt of incorporating into our Union any but the Caucasian race—the free white race. To incorporate Mexico, would be the very first instance of the kind, of incorporating an Indian race; for more than half of the Mexicans are Indians, and the other is composed chiefly of mixed tribes. I protest against such a union as that! Ours, sir, is the Government of a white race…. We are anxious to force free government on all; and I see that it has been urged … that it is the mission of this country to spread civil and religious liberty over all the world, and especially over this continent. It is a great mistake.”
Sen. John C. Calhoun – SC
According to historian William E. Weeks, there are three themes generally agreed upon that comprise Manifest Destiny.
The Virtue of the American people and their institutions
The mission to spread these institutions, thereby redeeming and remaking the world in the image of the United States
The Destiny under God to do this work
Working in reverse. Some Americans then and a higher percentage now believe that God has ordained America to be the greatest nation on the Earth. Broken down it means that God has given favor… to America and at the expense of other nations because, because, what? Certainly, most nations have some degree of nationalism where they believe something about their country makes them superior. America may indeed be the greatest nation because of its resources, its military, and its economy. One of the things that made America great in 1845 when the term Manifest Destiny was coined was its reliance on the cheap labor from slavery and indentured servants which made it a better trade partner that produced goods at a better price than other nations. It is a model that many corporations use today but instead of slaves, they outsource labor to nations where workers make as little as cents per hour under terrible conditions. In America, they fight against minimum wage standards and unions and participate in A.L.E.C. to shape our laws to allow for their excesses.
Another area in which America is the greatest nation in the world is the sale of arms to other countries. In 2010, we sold arms to 62 other nations, sometimes to both sides in disputes in an effort to increase profits. I mention these things to suggest that America’s position in the world does not necessarily come from God. Some of our success seems to come from doing things with which the God I believe in would have a problem.
The philosophy behind Manifest Destiny is exactly the same behind those of White Exceptionalism and White Privilege. Americans (white Americans) are entitled to supersede the rights of non-whites because… white. The originator of the phrase Manifest Destiny, newspaper editor John O’Sullivan, didn’t believe that Americans would have to fight with the Indians to take their land. He thought the Indians would somehow recognize the God-given right to the land of white Americans and simply accept whatever accommodations that were made for them.
In the present day, we have labeled ourselves “the world’s policeman” which translates to, we have the right to interfere in the business of any other nation to achieve our own goals and to advance our interests. This is almost always applied in our relationship with non-white nations and we would hate for our interference with our white allies to become known.
Domestically, white privilege and White Exceptionalism manifests itself in how districts are drawn for state and congressional elections, in gerrymandering and in voter suppression laws. All of these are designed to give increased power to a dwindling white demographic when fair and democratic elections would not produce the same outcome. It is almost funny to see Donald Trump wailing about the unfair process used to select delegates to the Republican convention yet he’s never said a word against gerrymandering or voter suppression.
America had no problem taking land from the Native Americans as they marched west yet negotiated in good faith with England to settle what would be the Canadian border. Mexico to the south presented a different problem.
Texas declared independence from Mexico in 1836. This ultimately led to the Mexican-American War ten years later and because of our military success, there came a point where the country considered annexing all of Mexico. One of the reasons given was the desire not to impose democracy against a people against their will which somehow didn’t matter when gobbling up Indian land. The debate in Congress made clear that the primary reason to not absorb Mexico was because it would mean giving citizenship to millions of Mexicans. If you listen to the arguments today about a path to citizenship for those non-citizens in America today and the vitriol behind them. You’ll know what the debate was like in 1848. When ultimately America absorbed New Mexico and parts of California, it was because they were sparsely populated and not many Mexicans came along.
Reviewing the history of Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine preceding it. It is clear that America is far more the same despite the belief we have evolved. America is committed to the appearance of fair elections, equal rights for all of its citizens and an impartial justice system. In truth, America allows the disenfranchisement of some of its citizens through gerrymandering and voter suppression laws. It is rolling back the protections designed to achieve equal rights and conservative states like North Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana among others are actively removing protections for some of its citizens and it is only the reaction of the business community that is causing some delay in implementation. Lastly, our court system has demonstrated its partisan nature and pro-business leanings and with Citizen’s United has made clear that the rich and white will have every opportunity to have the upper hand.