My good friend Mark left a comment on that post in which he expressed his mixed feelings about giving the site any attention: ”It is so obviously designed to shock that it would seem that more attention is exactly what they want.”
Mark has a valid point, but my focus isn’t to give this site attention, at least not of the type that it desires. Ignoring the boogeyman doesn’t make it go away; ask any five-year-old. The wise parent turns on the closet light and reveals to the child that the boogeyman is just an overstuffed clothes hamper.
The depth of depravity that feeds racism at this level counts on being able to stay in the shadows. They don’t want those of us who find their beliefs repulsive to see them. They want to skulk around in dark corners, leaking false information designed to influence the weak minded and fearful into sharing their beliefs. They provide links to studies rejected by legitimate researchers that purport to offer scientific proof of outlandish claims of the inferiority of those whom they hate. Their goal is to recruit followers.
They count on the chance that people who would find their beliefs reprehensible will remain unaware of their presence. They don’t expect to appeal to everyone. Like any cult, they target the weak, those who believe that they have been marginalized by the larger society. The leadership of racist hate groups may have access to personal wealth but the rank-and-file followers are working class people. The power of the leadership arises from persuading those followers that the reason that they don’t have the job, the house, the car, and all other material measures of success is because of the “lazy, shiftless, violent other” most often identified as Black or Hispanic.
Belief in these conclusions, which are presented as based in irrefutable fact, promotes a climate where legitimate protestations of discrimination made by black people are often met with accusations of “playing the race card.”
People tend to form their worldview based on the prism through which they see the world. If you don’t hold vile racist beliefs, it is harder for you to imagine the extreme levels of such beliefs as expressed on web sites like this one. We have a need to make sense of the world, to neatly order our belief system. I believe that the reason good people so often fail to take action to stop evil is because we have no frame of reference to help us see and understand the evil. We can’t imagine that anyone possesses this kind of hate for others.
We need to open the closet doors, shine a flashlight under the bed and force the boogeymen out into the open to be revealed to be nothing more than sniveling cowards fixated on their own inadequacies. Desperate to persuade themselves that labeling others as inferior will somehow make them recover their long lost dignity.
The Examined Life
Posted: Monday, 20 August 2012