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Son of Stormfront renounces White Nationalism
July 17, 2013 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Derek Black the infamous Don Black's son, today renounced White Nationalism, saying in a .pdf document sent to the Southern Poverty Law Center "I acknowledge that things I have said as well as my actions have been harmful to people of color, people of Jewish descent, activists striving for opportunity and fairness for all, and others affected." Stormfront has long been seen as the leading white supremacist Web site on the internet, often considered the first.
posted by eparchos (67 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
I remember not knowing what Stormfront was and going to their site from a MeFi post when I was teaching school. The school's filter was not amused.
posted by resurrexit at 7:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


That is a remarkable document. I'm going to have to digest this for a while, but wow.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by hippybear at 7:11 PM on July 17, 2013


[this is good]
posted by thelonius at 7:11 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now THAT is an apology-- reasoned and sincere.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, really worth a full read through.
I can’t support a movement that tells me I can’t be a friend to whomever I wish or that other people’s races require me to think about them in a certain way or be suspicious at their advancements. One revelation for me was when I grasped I would be much more likely to help an individual through our legal system towards citizenship than to work towards his or her expulsion. Minorities must have the ability to rise to positions of power, and many supposed “race” issues are in fact issues of structural oppression, poor educational prospects, and limited opportunity. The differences I thought I observed didn’t go nearly as deeply as I imagined. I believe we can move beyond the sort of mind-boggling emphasis white nationalism puts on maintaining an oppressive, exclusive sense of identity—oppressive for others and stifling for our society.
posted by jessamyn at 7:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [37 favorites]



Nice. That's gonna leave a mark.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:36 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to the world, Derek.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:38 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh man. And he's a New College student. Gotta be intense. Good on him.
posted by feckless at 7:43 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Good. I hope he puts forth as much effort for the advancement of racial reconciliation and advancement as he did against it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:46 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


The dude sounds more than alright. It's a shame that he had been brought up in that garbage - to that extent, he didn't have a choice, at least not until he could find a way to mentally break out on his own.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:48 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


For context, New College is a very small (~600 student) liberal arts college in Sarasota, FL that's generally pretty alternative (e.g. using narrative evaluations instead of grades) and has a student body that typically runs the gamut from liberal to really, really, really liberal.

Did I mention it was small? There's not really any hiding in the crowd. Must have been a seriously intense experience. Also an interesting choice to attend in the first place. It's a great place to make a big-ass break with your pre-college life, and I wonder if that was part of his thinking.
posted by feckless at 7:52 PM on July 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


That's really impressive. At the shop, one of the mechanics has a few friends that stop in for a beer after work; all of them say "nigger" like you or I say "the". One of them also told me "nigger" can refer to any race, and that the Irish were called that in the 1950s. I replied, "Ok, when was the last time you called an Irishman a nigger?" Anyway, call them racist, and they'll swear up and down that it isn't so.

For this kid to have been brought up a couple orders of magnitude worse than that, and make it this far? Wow, bravo.
posted by notsnot at 7:55 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


And he's a New College student.

I know nothing about New College except that my niece is starting there in the fall, so this caught my eye in the Hatewatch article:

..Black, a junior at the elite New College of Florida..

Now he claims he only attended a few WP events in 2012, and none in 2013. So that accounts for his activities back to his sophomore year. But before that, he was active in WP politics. Apparently the "elite" New College had no problem admitting an elite white nationalist. I would love to have seen his application. Did he list his extracurricular activities and club associations, like any regular college applicant?

It appears from the last part of that PDF that students at New College aggressively opposed his presence. Perhaps this challenge, and even his education in college, made him change his ways. But why would New College admit a student that causes disruption by his mere presence? It seems like the students have more sense than the admissions board.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:57 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


It seems like the students have more sense than the admissions board.

Or the admissions board had more sense, and realized that being exposed to something which would expand his horizons would help him step away from his past and into a new path for his future.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on July 17, 2013 [131 favorites]


Yes hippybear i could not favorite that hard enough
posted by mrgroweler at 7:59 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


But why would New College admit a student that causes disruption by his mere presence?

Perhaps when they interviewed him they got the sense that he was intelligent and inquisitive and very close to escaping a poisonous upbringing. Maybe they decided to take the risk of admitting him in the hopes that New College would change him in exactly the way it appears it has.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:01 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Charlie Don't Surf, you could also view this upside-down: the college had the good sense to allow this young man to better himself, and they would not turn him away, as the students would have wanted it. Sort of hews closely to the parable of the Good Samaritan, or at least a version thereof: it means nothing to only be kind to people with whom you already feel an affinity. Allowing the Son of Stormfront to attend the school turned him to the side of good.

OR THIS WILL BE LIKE REDWALL AND HE WILL BETRAY THEM WITH HIS WEASEL NATURE
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:02 PM on July 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


Or the admissions board had more sense, and realized that being exposed to something which would expand his horizons would help him step away from his past and into a new path for his future.

Almost certainly. Admitting him is an extremely New College thing to do.
posted by feckless at 8:03 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Derek Black ... renounced White Nationalism"

uh.. eponysterical?
posted by empath at 8:04 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Derek Black ... renounced White Nationalism"

uh.. eponysterical?


I'm not as black as Barry White. I'm white as Derek Black is.
posted by jonp72 at 8:06 PM on July 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


As predicted, the liberal academics have isolated a young man and corrupted his thinking at a time of his life when he is most vulnerable to blasphemy.
posted by Repack Rider at 8:07 PM on July 17, 2013 [25 favorites]


Great story. I’m always confused that some people will claim that "people never change", when there are drastic examples right in front of your face every day.
posted by bongo_x at 8:09 PM on July 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


It seems like the students have more sense than the admissions board.

Or the admissions board had more sense, and realized that being exposed to something which would expand his horizons would help him step away from his past and into a new path for his future.


or the admissions board was looking to challenge the REST of the student body. liberals can be just a guilty as conservatives of creating group-think echo chambers. if you grow up in liberal schools from liberal parents you might have never had an honest-to-god confrontation about your beliefs.

Or the board could have wanted to make a really bold statement as to how open minded they were.

or both
posted by Dr. Twist at 8:13 PM on July 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


[Don't bring Stormfront comments over here. Don't link to Stormfront. Use the Contact Form if you have questions about this.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:19 PM on July 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


OR THIS WILL BE LIKE REDWALL AND HE WILL BETRAY THEM WITH HIS WEASEL NATURE

Hah, meta-ironic, because even as a nine-year-old, that one particular book in the series made me stop and be like, "is Redwall...kind of racist?"
posted by threeants at 8:27 PM on July 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I loved almost everything about Redwall (vegetarian food porn omg), but if it turned out that Brian Jacques was a stooge and the series was actually written as white supremacist propaganda for Racial Holy War, I would be secretly kind of not surprised.
posted by threeants at 8:31 PM on July 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes please don't link to stormfront, that caused trouble with my original posting of this to MeFi and after a good chat with Jessamyn and some of my other friends who have had experience dealing with Stormfront, I have decided that I won't link to their stuff on my Web site either. It turns out they tend to bring the legal hammer down on anyone who links to them, no matter how unbiased, simply as some sort of attention-getting ploy. Suffice it to say limiting traffic to their web site is a no-brainer.
posted by eparchos at 8:32 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Suffice it to say limiting traffic to their web site is a no-brainer.


Suffice it to say ... their web site is a no-brainer.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:53 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


So, people that have visited stormfront: has there been any positive or reasonable reaction to this from anyone there? I expect not, but I'm curious (although I don't need to hear quotes from people saying poisonous awful things from there).
posted by el io at 9:02 PM on July 17, 2013


I thought that genuine contrition after deep soul searching was dead. I'm glad that I was wrong. Thanksgiving at Dad's house is going to be rough for him.
posted by double block and bleed at 9:11 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was the abuse administrator for what was most likely Stormfront's first ISP (this would have been in the late 90s)

I hated them so much; they generated a ridiculous number of complaints, but I refused to shut them down and even fought with management to help make sure their right to be stupid assholes was not being infringed. Back the we really took the Internet to be a magical place where even if you we're a loathsome douchbag, you still had a right to be heard if you weren't violating out Acceptable Use Policy, and technically, they weren't.

Then one day they start posting pictures of white power tattoos, and a couple of them had incedential nudity, which did violate our AUP (we weren't prudes, but porn consumed outbound bandwidth far in excess of what people were paying so we prohibited it for financial reasons.)

And let me tell you, the very moment I saw a nipple that crossed the line I shut them down. That was a great moment for me, I got rid of a very unwanted thorn in my side, for reasons I could justify.

It always made me feel dirty that I defended them, but I'm proud that I did, and I'm much more proud that I got to be the guy who booted them when I had just cause.

It's a weird relationship to have with that place.
posted by quin at 9:27 PM on July 17, 2013 [43 favorites]


Oh wow, new college student. My boyfriend went there, and I actually spent a fair amount of time on campus when we were first together. It was a very (very) interesting place, and wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiildly different from UW-Madison, where I'd gone. I am combogglated that the son of the guy that runs stormfront went there.

Also the use of "thesis" as a verb is possibly unique to NCF?

Wild.
posted by kavasa at 9:29 PM on July 17, 2013


I would like to give mad props to all the unnamed people who, over the years, resisted the urge to respond to this young man with anger or contempt and did jot regard him as a lost cause but instead talked to him in peaceful ways and showed him a better way of life by example. I am not sure I would do that but I greatly admire those who can, especially young people.
posted by fshgrl at 9:29 PM on July 17, 2013 [24 favorites]


Is New College like Evergreen?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:54 PM on July 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha! I was thinking the same thing Blazecock. Another college would be Reed College in Portland OR, is that similar?
posted by eparchos at 10:16 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Go Geoducks!
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:23 PM on July 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Minorities must have the ability to rise to positions of power, and many supposed “race” issues are in fact issues of structural oppression, poor educational prospects, and limited opportunity.

Amen. I know some non-supremacist, ordinary conservative people who could stand to really take that to heart.
posted by naju at 10:26 PM on July 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


Reminds me of the Phelps defector story what with the library books vs. libr'l college exposure...

This is a good demonstration of how compassion can increase through education and exposure to "other people" from one generation to the next, a new textbook boogey-man story that remaining white supremacists will tell each other to reinforce fear and hatred of academic institutions (I can see it now, "Stormfront now offers red-blooded white American college classes online!"), and possibly the basis of a groundbreaking new reality show!
posted by lordaych at 10:33 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Love this comment from TFA:

Ruslan Amirkhanov said:
Congratulations to Derek for taking this step.

As I and others have pointed out on here, the reason why white nationalism is treated differently than black nationalism(which is in fact a small minority point of view which was ruthlessly harassed and stamped out by the government) is because “white” is a social construct bound up with oppression. White is not Irish, English, German, Polish, or whatever. It is the negation of those cultures and identities designed specifically to bind masses of people to their own exploiters and set them at odds with “non-whites” who are in fact their real brothers and sisters by class.

posted by lordaych at 10:36 PM on July 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Repack Rider: "As predicted, the liberal academics have isolated a young man and corrupted his thinking at a time of his life when he is most vulnerable to blasphemy."

High five!
posted by danny the boy at 10:44 PM on July 17, 2013


Hey, smart-hippie schools aren't just a PNW US thing. What about Hampshire College in Massachusetts?
posted by Dreidl at 11:35 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


None of us choose our birth parents; none of us even ask to be born. And maturing from a child to an adult and claiming an individual sense of identity is messy and weird and it takes longer for most of us than we realize, except in hindsight.

Let's be gentle, and let the kid bumble through his 20s working through personal shit like we all did without a spotlight. And hope that critical thinking wins.

We need critical thinking to win.
posted by desuetude at 11:40 PM on July 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I grew up racist. You learn these things. They can be unlearned.
posted by Xoebe at 11:43 PM on July 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: Is New College like Evergreen?

Yes, very much.

eparchos: Reed College in Portland OR, is that similar?

No, tuition at Reed is very expensive. You have to have either rich parents or an excellent scholarship.
posted by foobaz at 11:52 PM on July 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


But why would New College admit a student that causes disruption by his mere presence?

New College is a member of Colleges that Change Lives. By definition, colleges that change lives are for students whose lives need changing.

(Another member of CTCL is Beloit, which changed the life of a mild-manned kid from Appleton by assigning him a black roommate ... in 1961. James Zwerg.)

You learn these things. They can be unlearned.

You've got to be carefully taught.
posted by dhartung at 1:42 AM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Colleges that Change Lives is essentially a marketing platform, dhartung - it is a nonprofit, but its primary purpose is to do marketing outreach on behalf of colleges included in its own guidebooks, mostly small liberal-arts institutions that don't require the SAT, and to encourage college counsellors to direct students these colleges' way. It has no avowed outreach to "people whose lives need changing" and includes several religious schools, at least one of which requires faith statements and sectarian observance...hardly an indication of a desire for students to change their views after coming there!

CTCL is often confused with things like the Work Colleges Consortium, the Eco League, or the Consortium for Innovative Environments in Learning, all of which colleges have to do specific things to join. CTCL isn't really the same thing.
posted by Wylla at 2:29 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever. Ask any Beloiter -- it's not a new thing for us. But obviously any point I felt I was making was lost on you.
posted by dhartung at 4:03 AM on July 18, 2013


Also the use of "thesis" as a verb is possibly unique to NCF?

Definitely not. I say it and I have no reason to believe I picked it up from anyone with any association with the entire state of Florida, never mind the college.
posted by hoyland at 4:20 AM on July 18, 2013


...Son of Stormfront...

I submit that we just call him "Derek" from now on.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 5:23 AM on July 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


No, your point about Beloit wasn't lost - it's a great school.

The overall point about how a CTCL school would be more likely to take a chance on admitting someone whose life "needed changing" (such as a reforming racist), wasn't accurate, though. Since the thread was discussing why New College took a chance on Black, I thought that was worth pointing out. Black's situation has nothing to do with Beloit itself in any case, since as far as anyone can tell from the linked article, he may never even have applied there.

It is odd that New College admitted him at all, since at the time he was an active, organised racist, and New College has a diverse student population: wouldn't there have been an actual student safety issue there? He could easily have, for example, photographed and identified "undeserving" minority students to the groups he was a part of. If the New College admissions staff were going for ideological diversity, you'd think they'd start with, say, recruiting at state meetings of the Young Republicans?

Baffling, but good for him for moving on in any case, and it does seem like a sincere apology.
posted by Wylla at 5:56 AM on July 18, 2013


But why would New College admit a student that causes disruption by his mere presence?

Disruption is kind of their jam, is my impression. (I had a close friend and a boyfriend there in the early 2000s.)
posted by clavicle at 6:04 AM on July 18, 2013


Also the use of "thesis" as a verb is possibly unique to NCF?

Not unique, as per hoyland. But more commonly used there than other places, I'd guess. (Writing a thesis is a graduation requirement, it's a whole big thing, like Hampshire's Div 3.)
posted by clavicle at 6:08 AM on July 18, 2013


This thread is hurting my brain:

Son of Stormfront renounces evil = good

Possibility of Redwall being racist propaganda = really, really bad for my happy childhood memories
posted by that's candlepin at 6:57 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


First of all, good for him.

Second of all, this guy is probably full of imformation of what makes these people tick, how they target and recruit vulnerable and confused people, how the thought process gets so twisted in the first place. Keeping new racists from being created is part of the solution, too.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 AM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I grew up racist. You learn these things. They can be unlearned.

Yes. As the 24-year-old son of a white supremacist myself (and coming from a family with a similar viewpoint), I've found that while it's hard to step away from your family's ideals and lose that support structure, the world opens itself to you in a new and brilliant way.
posted by The Zeroth Law at 8:25 AM on July 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm glad to see Derek Black follow in the footsteps of others who have turned their backs on hate to embrace love and understanding, and I hope his testimony reaches others caught in the throes of hate.

In 1980 Studs Terkel had published an article titled "Why I quite the Klan", largely an interview with C. P. Ellis, who had formerly been fairly high up in the organizational structure of the Durham, NC, chapter of the Klu Klux Klan.

The entire article is presently (and for now) available from Cengage learning.

To my mind, Terkel's article and Ellis's transformation show why racial hatred and alienation can not forever stand in the way of class consciousness and human understanding.
posted by mistersquid at 8:34 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you to everyone speaking up about how they've made a similar change in their lives. It's really inspiring to know that it's possible. Sometimes in a sea of bad news it's easy to give up hope. Y'all are doing the right thing, and I appreciate you speaking up. Thank you.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:37 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, people that have visited stormfront: has there been any positive or reasonable reaction to this from anyone there?

There are some comments wishing him well in his new life and being at peace with the fact that not everyone shares their views. There are some "he'll come around" comments and some expressions of disappointment, but not too much vitriol.

It's important to remember that these people are used to being disagreed with by people close to them and by the overwhelming majority of the people whose interests they believe that they are fighting for. It reminds me of the attitude of "saved" Christians towards everyone else.

Congratulations Derek. I forgive you for hating me irrationally for so many years.
posted by snottydick at 11:51 AM on July 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have done my best since arriving to New College to stay out of people’s hair. Since returning after the big thread about me while I was abroad, I have tried hard to not do anything of note whatsoever. Before I competed in the talent show last year, I debated whether I wanted to live with the potential forum war resulting from me singing a folk song. I always have to weigh whether I want to attend a public lecture for fear of the glares, and a couple club leaders have expressed that they’d prefer I not attend their meetings (including Pluralism Committee). During my first semester back I would go sailing to escape the occasional middle finger in the library, the murmurs when I’d get food in Ham, and the occasional threatening emails.
Reminds me of why I was a little taken aback by the student mob confronting the lone demonstrator at a supposed Confederate Heritage Rally. There's a strong reaction by my generation against the blatant, awful racism that happened during the 50s and the 60s. The day-to-day assurances that you aren't racist because you obviously hate the KKK and you find lynchings appropriately atrocious are definite indicators of progress but I think the assumption that you can't possibly have racist preconceptions as a result of your open distaste is flawed.

Take that crowd of protesters. Whose minds have they changed? What is the net effect of their action? How different are they from the hateful crowds who swarmed Civil Rights protestors in the past? Black talks about 'fairy tale antagonists' in his letter and it's occurred to me that the same logic exists in the student activists in the linked video. It's obvious that their angry is driven not by their understanding of systemic racism but by the mere fact that the demonstrator could be a racist. "BPD is protecting the KKK!" No, BPD is protecting a single man from an angry mob whose actions were becoming increasingly violent.

And that quote at the end of the IDS article: “Let’s declare victory and get some Chinese food." Does eating 'ethnic' food frees you from all racial prejudice? Isn't it a classic racist trope to equate "Chinese" with foreign and exotic? Hasn't "Chinese food" existed in the cultural milieu far longer than Twinkies or bubble gum?

I think this same kind of sentiment paints Lincoln as the Great Emancipator and forgets that he signed off on a bill that authorized the largest mass hanging in American history resulting in the death of 38 Sioux men on very little, if any, evidence. It forgets the dark, grimy reality for heroes and villains. It forgets mindfulness and humbleness for mindless egotism. It's arrogant and biting and it does nothing to change things. It's something I know I really struggle with a lot.

fshgrl is right: there had to have been at least a few kind people in his life who were willing to talk to him on the same level and were willing to confront him with his beliefs. To have a conversation with someone with such a incongruous view is more than challenging. To keep from going automatically on the attack is incredible. It's humbling to read a far more convincing and thorough argument against systemic racism than I could ever write and to know that it came from someone who started much further away on the ideological spectrum than me. And it's humbling to imagine all that it took to get him from there to here. It's really put me in my place, at least, to learn that kindness can achieve all this, far more than the open hostility that drove Black to seek refuge during his days at New College.
posted by dubusadus at 12:29 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


“You've got to be carefully taught.”

I had an English teacher in high school tell me the book I was reading was out of bounds. Said, essentially, I believe in free speech but some things you can’t read.
Even without hatred, there are people who want to bind your thinking.

“It's really put me in my place, at least, to learn that kindness can achieve all this”

I believe kindness is ultimately the only thing that can achieve lasting change. I'm still working on the humility part myself though.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:54 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


quin:
It always made me feel dirty that I defended them, but I'm proud that I did, and I'm much more proud that I got to be the guy who booted them when I had just cause.

It's a weird relationship to have with that place.
You're quite literally My Kind of American. Hat's off to you.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:20 PM on July 18, 2013


Reminds me of why I was a little taken aback by the student mob confronting the lone demonstrator yt at a supposed Confederate Heritage Rally.

If you'd like clearer video, here's my video that starts a bit later.

The point wasn't to demonstrate moral superiority, which is a meaningless concept, nor to persuade anyone. The point was to make it explicitly, absolutely clear that white supremacist speech is not acceptable and will not be tolerated or quietly condoned in Bloomington. White supremacists will not come here and use our town as a platform for their criminal activities nor for organizing for their criminal activities.

How different are they from the hateful crowds who swarmed Civil Rights protestors in the past?

This is so profoundly disgusting and inane that I can't even begin to address it. How are people brutalizing and occasionally murdering people for fighting for equal rights different from people shouting down and browbeating a man for trying to organize for mass genocide? Really? What's broken in you that makes you capable of such a comparison?

It's obvious that their angry is driven not by their understanding of systemic racism but by the mere fact that the demonstrator could be a racist.

He's an avowed white supremacist. There's no "could be", he has made the instituting of white supremacy his explicit goal and traveled to Bloomington to advance that goal. We object to his using our town as a platform for his filth and refuse to let him do so any more than is possible to allow.

And that quote at the end of the IDS article: “Let’s declare victory and get some Chinese food." Does eating 'ethnic' food frees you from all racial prejudice? Isn't it a classic racist trope to equate "Chinese" with foreign and exotic? Hasn't "Chinese food" existed in the cultural milieu far longer than Twinkies or bubble gum?

What the fuck does any of this rambling garbage even mean? Chinese food is delicious and Bloomington is chock-full of Asian restaurants. Somebody wanted Chinese food, and somehow that makes them hypocrites to you. That's completely fucking insane.


This is the worst kind of liberalism- the kind that thinks "civil" oppression is preferable to "unruly" resistance.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:22 PM on July 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


New College is a member of Colleges that Change Lives. By definition, colleges that change lives are for students whose lives need changing.

By definition, colleges change lives. If it didn't, you wasted your time, which in itself changes your life.

But I decided to check out the marketing link you posted:

The college’s beautiful 110-acre bay front campus lies along the Gulf of Mexico on the former estate of circus magnate Charles Ringling.

Oh hell, I know that place. It's right next to the Ringling Art Museum, and his estate house Ca d'Zan. My parents often vacationed in Sarasota and my mom fell in love with Ca d'Zan. My dad was planning on building a new house, and my mom was determined to reproduce Ca d'Zan. They got divorced over it, halfway through construction.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:52 PM on July 18, 2013


This post makes my day. Thanks for sharing it.

When I imagine New College's admissions office deciding to admit Derek, I can't help but think of the conversation between Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, where Vader argues how powerful Skywalker could be if he could be turned (except here, it's in a good way).


Seriously though, I love a story about the power of education working to change minds and make the world a better place. It gives me hope. Score one for the good guys.
posted by 4ster at 5:21 PM on July 18, 2013


Black's situation has nothing to do with Beloit itself in any case, since as far as anyone can tell from the linked article, he may never even have applied there.

I never said he applied there. I was making an analogy to the experience of Zwerg, which happened to be at Beloit, and which (many years later) happens to be using this "colleges that change lives" line for better or worse that you object to [for the record, it was created by Loren Pope independently and only became a non-profit years after the book was in multiple editions], and THAT is also the case with New College. It may be marketing speak to you, but it's also broadly considered the, well, point of a liberal arts education: opening oneself up to new experiences, people of different backgrounds, and new possibilities for oneself.

I'm sorry, I now feel this is a total derail, but I thought it was relevant to the earlier discussion about admissions policies and outlooks. I now regret the error.
posted by dhartung at 5:35 PM on July 18, 2013


It is odd that New College admitted him at all, since at the time he was an active, organised racist, and New College has a diverse student population: wouldn't there have been an actual student safety issue there?

I cannot explain any of the above, but I will add an anecdote: I attended Evergreen from 1987 to 1992, and we had, for at least the first year or two of my time there, one Nazi skinhead. Wore a Skrewdriver t-shirt, used "meinkampf" for a computer password, stood at the front for the Fugazi show screaming abuse at the band the whole time...the works.

I cannot explain how he got in, but however that happened, *might* shed some light on the above.

And yes, I sometimes wonder what became of him...
posted by dr. zoom at 12:33 AM on July 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


dubusadus, smedleyman, and Pope Guilty hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. Freedom of expression is exactly that: The freedom to bitch and moan at other people for their beliefs and to try and "shout louder" via money, exposure, or sheer volume is the simplest way to go about it. A sort of Objectivist Ayn Rand approach to discourse is what people are taking when they gather up "anti-protests" to shout down the minority demonstrators screaming about how they hate black people or gay people or whatever. Might, or in this case numbers, makes Right. The other side of the coin is to let the minority spew their tiny venom out as much as they want, and ENCOURAGE everybody else to say their piece as well, may the best venom win. That's my personal approach/belief and apparently it's dubusadus's approach as well. I call it Altruism as a fundamental keystone of Secular Humanism, what I consider to be the opposite of Objectivism, certainly with regards to free speech.
posted by eparchos at 6:43 PM on July 19, 2013


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