During the first presidential debate, Chris Wallace asked President Trump to “condemn white supremacists and militia groups.” President Trump replied that he would, but wanted specifics. Mr. Wallace identified “white supremacist and right-wing militia” and Joe Biden named the Proud Boys. President Trump rather confusingly responded that the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by.” Many journalists and politicians criticized him. Kamala Harris said it was a “dog whistle through a bullhorn.” Charles Schumer called it a “national disgrace.”
The Proud Boys were initially thrilled. They tried to sell merchandise reading “stand back and stand by.” Amazon and eBay blocked it. However, the Proud Boys also wanted to show they were not white supremacists. Enrique Tarrio, a black man and the international chairman, issued a statement: “I denounce white supremacy. I denounce anti-Semitism. I denounce racism. I denounce fascism. I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudiced toward people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin.”
It did not save the Proud Boys. On the Sean Hannity program, President Trump said: “I’ve said it many times, let me be clear again, I condemn the KKK. I condemn all white supremacists. I condemn the Proud Boys.” However, President Trump added, “I don’t know much about the Proud Boys, almost nothing, but I condemn them.”
President Trump’s comments were more of a ritual than a denunciation. Joe Biden told President Trump to disavow the Proud Boys. President Trump didn’t do it energetically enough to satisfy the Democrats and their journalist allies. After one negative news cycle, President Trump criticized a group about which he knew almost nothing.
President Trump’s words were still not enough for media. Over the weekend, LGBTQ (and whatever other letters I’m missing) activists started calling themselves “Proud Boys” and posting pictures of themselves kissing. Top media praised this.
- Proud Boys: Far-right group becomes LGBT trend online, BBC, October 5, 2020
- The Proud Boys were emboldened by Trump’s words. Then, LGBTQ couples reclaimed the group’s hashtag, by Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, October 5, 2020
- Twitter users take over Proud Boys hashtag with photos of LGBTQ love, by April Siese, CBS News, October 5, 2020
There are well over a dozen stories about this non-event from major media outlets. An official twitter account for the Canadian military even posted a photo of soldiers in uniform kissing.
— Canadian Forces in 🇺🇸 (@CAFinUS) October 4, 2020
The Proud Boys are not racial. They have gone out of their way to prove it the same way conservatives do. They put non-whites at the front. They have a chapter in Israel. It hasn’t changed the opinion of most journalists. In 2018, the Daily Beast published a story with a headline beyond parody: “Why Young Men of Color Are Joining White-Supremacist Groups.”
The Proud Boys are also not anti-gay. Founder Gavin McInnes is not in the group anymore, but it’s fair to say he set the tone for it. He famously kissed Milo Yiannopoulos in 2016 on camera in a piece of performance art directed at extremist Muslims. The group’s manifesto says the Proud Boys are a “multi-racial group that is socially liberal and welcomes gay members.”
None of this matters. President Trump didn’t disavow the real Proud Boys so much as an imaginary far-right group that Joe Biden (and many journalists) conjured up. If President Trump wanted to learn about them what would he find? Google’s search results for “Proud Boys” return biased reports from the SPLC, Wikipedia, the ADL, and other groups. (DuckDuckGo’s first result is the Proud Boys’ website.) President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security is already funneling millions of dollars to combat “white supremacists and other far-right extremists.” The Left still hates him.
Journalists apparently demand and expect that President Trump will disavow whatever they say is “racist” or “anti-gay.” The group’s actual beliefs are unimportant. President Trump bowed to this demand. Chris Wallace or Joe Biden could have named almost any other right-leaning group and President Trump would have had to say the same thing. President Trump may face calls to specifically disavow Three Percenters, the Family Research Council, or the Oath Keepers.
My guess is it will be the last group, because The Atlantic is already portraying it in ominous tones and suggesting it is preparing for civil war. The Washington Post, Daily Beast, New York Times, and others have written negative stories about the Oath Keepers. Will the next debate moderator ask President Trump to “condemn” them? President Trump almost certainly knows nothing about them, but it would be easier for him to obey than to suffer another series of attacks.
President Trump did say that antifa activists are bad and Joe Biden replied that “antifa is an idea, not an organization.” While there is admittedly no single Antifa, Inc., there are many local chapters with structures and leaders. Antifa activists regularly attack journalists who film their antics. Chris Wallace did not press Mr. Biden to disavow antifa, and I expect no other moderator will either. Instead, journalists may say Donald Trump must again disavow the Proud Boys, because Gavin McInnes showed up at the rally outside Walter Reed Medical Center to support the president.
Rose City Antifa is a group. Antifa Seven Hills is a group. Antifa Sacramento is a group. Atlanta Antifascists is a group. Youth Liberation Front is a group. There are many, many antifa groups. And they are violent.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) September 30, 2020
Mr. Trump and his supporters are in an impossible position. Even when they disavow white supremacism, journalists say they haven’t. Worse, these “white supremacists” exist only in reporters’ imaginations. Meanwhile, actual riots and violence are taking place around the country and Portland is in chaos every night. Even the New York Times recently reported on a well-coordinated, organized anarchist network. However, journalists don’t pressure Democrats to denounce Black Lives Matter or antifa.
Instead, FBI Director Chris Wray is warning lawmakers about Russia. The House of Representatives is passing resolutions against the QAnon movement, with most Republicans siding with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The armed and entirely black paramilitary group “Not F***ing Around Coalition” (NFAC) hosts large, armed marches, but you won’t read much about it in major American media. Instead, you need local reports or British tabloids. This is a sharp contrast to the hysterical coverage when mostly white protesters marched with guns. When journalists or politicians suggest that black armed protests would be treated harshly by law enforcement, we can show that they are wrong.
The group was protesting threats directed at them by U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins on Facebook, and the police shooting of Trayford Pellerin. pic.twitter.com/z4ayPCE2pf
— Ford Fischer (@FordFischer) October 4, 2020
The lockdown and social media bias have made this election seem like it is happening in a dream world. Almost everything we see is filtered through a blue screen. We can watch videos of militant antifa groups, but Joe Biden says we’re just looking at an “idea.” We see journalists transform groups that are explicitly anti-racist into “white supremacists.” We see explicit black nationalists marching, but Republicans in Congress are worried about QAnon.
Media double standards are unfair, but there’s nothing we can do about them. White advocates shouldn’t cultivate a “fringe” aesthetic because we aren’t fringe. What we want is reasonable and just.
Journalists won’t give us the treatment they give NFAC, no matter how reasonable we are. They will probably call any group that defends Americans “white supremacist.” Shunning an explicit defense of white identity won’t give us any advantage. Instead, it reinforces the idea that white identity is illegitimate and immoral.
We are pro-white. We are a people. We are under threat. We have the right and duty to defend ourselves. We are not ashamed and we won’t apologize. Even if we did, it wouldn’t do us any good. We’ll still be labeled “white supremacists.” However, this category is rapidly expanding. Some believe it encompasses the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, and even the President of the United States.
This is good. When journalists define “extremist” or “white supremacist” too broadly, the words become meaningless, just like the word “racist.” Eventually, doxxing will lose its sting. We can then organize among our own people. What journalists say about us won’t matter. We in the vanguard must endure their slurs, because if we can withstand it, others will know it is safe to follow. When that happens, we win.