I know more about those snot-eyed, inbred, racist skinhead, neo-Nazi, confederacy worshipping people than most of you.
So I love people who rant about people and things they know nothing about. I’m in Richmond so know them in their natural habitat.
Every city has had them for years, not just in the south, but LA, Denver, and Brooklyn. Problem is, they look just the same as men a hundred thousand times their number who are the real victims here, but who have become a stereotype just by standing around on street corners because they can’t find a job….after losing theirs in 2009-2013.
If there is real bigotry in America it is in the conflation of the two.
When I was in the Soviet Union in 1991, my interpreter asked me to come by her church after a concert we had attended. It was mid-winter. Just inside the brick walls surrounding the church there was a line of people begging, with plates. My interpreter told me churches were the only place people could beg without having to pay half their donations to mafia, who “owned” all the begging corners. (I’d already seen this practice in subways, where beggars would hand over the folding bills to some man with two bodyguards, while be allowed to keep the loose change.) As we walked by the line of beggars, she suddenly stopped, whispered a scream, then grabbed my jacket and hurried me along, lowering her head for a few feet. Upon stopping she told me she had seen a woman from her apartment building, and it would humiliate her if she knew she’d been seen by a friend. She cried one of those “I didn’t know they were so hard-up” cries, common in America at another time.
When I travel around town on my haunts, I feel the same thing when I see young men I’d seen before 2009 at work in the various businesses near my office, now hustling junk at the flea market just for a $35 once-a-week payday, or standing on street corners pawing at the ground, I too lower my head so they won’t recognize me. It would be an indignity to wave. Once upon a time they were men, now they are wraiths.
I spent two election cycles trying to get those thirty or so young men to register to vote. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. But I suspect they voted in 2016, only not because of anything I said. What I object to now is that they would be included in any calculation of the size of the young men who look an awfully lot like them; white, not the best of clothes, a little rough around the edges, just in order to magnify the national size of the snot-eyed, inbred layabouts that every town in America has had hanging around its edges since the Korean War.
Again, I know both, for I go where both can be found. The sons of the confederacy are by far the most interesting, and on any Sunday I can find 8-10 of them standing around at the flea market holding court. I only listen. Interestingly, race is rarely a part of the discussion.
Most claim a heritage to southern veterans of the Civil War. I say “claim” because unlike the DAR, where one has to have papers to prove a right of membership, these fellows hung out in groups where everyone just sort of took your word for it. The ranks of confederate sons are as disparate as many churches, with backwoods snake-handlers at one end and High Church Episcopalians at the other. The High Church confederates were the types Donald Trump called out as being “good people” who actually did attend the Charlottesville rally just to save the statues. Yes, they were there, and neither picked or participated in any fight.
The raggedier sons of confederacy might have been in Charlottesville but I kind of doubt it. They probably didn’t even know of the event. They only regale in being able to pontificate about the illegality of Lincoln’s election and the righteousness of the Cause. Some are well read, but only select subjects. Almost to a man, they’d rather be called “octoroon” than “Republican”, who still represent all those people who live on the other side of the tracks than where they’re from. In short, they still believe in the Democrat doggerel that Republicans are the party of the rich.
Now I’m sure Richmond has it’s more zealous confederate groups but they don’t “hang out”. If they do things together, it’s online. Or out in the woods, where wood nymphs used to assemble. But since I’m old enough to remember when Lincoln Rockwell was a fixture in the national news in the 1960s, and the Skokie March in 1977, when the ACLU, yes, “the” ACLU, secured the American Nazis the right to have a parade in a town filled with holocaust survivors, via SCOTUS. I’m trying to recall now when I’ve heard the name of a single KKK grand dragon, or Nazi-leader. Robert Byrd is the last KKK leader I can recall of any note.
What I’ve heard, but only of late, actually, is sort of a generic skinhead, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, again, who look like my buddies down at the A/C repair shop before it went bust, just watching cars, and if there is a black, or an olive skinned inhabitant, cursing them with those awful names and awful gestures. You know, how illegals in California teach their children to behave.
This picture puts me in mind of another thought. Since modern neo-nazis and skinheads are a relatively modern phenomenon, post 1950s, and race is obviously a component, I have taken note than Jim Crow Democrats ran this city in the 50s-60s. As long as Jim Crow ran the south, there really wasn’t any niche white supremacists or neo-Nazis could fill. The Democrats had cornered that market. The KKK was not only legit then, but they could read books and didn’t call their first cousin Dad.
Common sense will then tell you where the genesis of modern white supremacism came from…cast down Jim Crow Democrats who were driven underground over the past 40 years.
Point is, since their numbers have dwindled now from (in Virginia) to the tens of thousands in the 1970s after Civil Rights, to a fraction of that number today, why they are suddenly considered to be such a threat?
Real inquiring minds want to know.
Since their grandfathers already sat at the bottom of Jim Crow society in the 1960s…I don’t see any of them claiming Harvard or even the University of Virginia degrees, or a new Mercedes to signify how well their family has progressed since Byrd was a household name in Virginia….how could their danger to American only now be exposed? And how could it have grown?
If you want to really know about Hitler, read William L Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and Alan Bullock’s Hitler, a Study in Tyranny. Both are classics in scholarship and psychological history, and I can guarantee you not one in 1000 bottom feeding troglodyte skinhead have read books like these, or even can. Too many big words.
But since we’re on the subject, let me recommend for you a 1970s classic, the Nazi Seizure of Power by William Allen, which chronicles the life of a single town in Germany from 1933-1945. Down to the last detail, even better then Orwell, it describes things we are seeing happen today.
So when a drop-out Army recruit who loves Hitler and Nazis hops is a car and runs down people at a rally, you’re not really telling me anything about him, except that he was none too bright, couldn’t lead a horse to water, and would only follow certain other kinds of angry people out there who’d been there about as long as the inbred wing of Jim Crow had been driven underground. Clearly, they’ve never been able to get anyone elected, anywhere, and at any level of government. I don’t know who is paying him, but David Duke has never been able to get a spot in any town council or state legislature.
Just for the fun of it, read up on the Brown Shirts, Hitler’s original Storm Troopers; every loser up and own the block given a snappy uniform, cap, belt and nightstick, and who wreaked havoc for several years on German neighborhoods, Jews, and every competing political party. Now, look up Night of the Long Knives which took place in 1934 just over a year after Hitler was voted into power. In one fell swoop Hitler took all the people who created and nurtured the Storm Troopers into the thuggish gangs they had been, and had them taken out and executed, Hitler’s way of burying the past, and turning a new page in his more “respectable and legitimate” place in German history as its newly-elected Chancellor.
Now tell me where they can be found today?
I’ve found it much easier to create a white supremacist out of whole cloth, and take their profile from a thousand fictional film characters than to find them actually roaming the streets, which may explain why Jason Kessler, who is reputed to be the organizer the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville is also reputed to be an Occupy Wall Street member and Obama supporter as late as 2016. (Follow this story as it develops.)
There’s a of here that doesn’t meet the eye.
Publications: Famous Common People I Have Known and Other Essays
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