Christianity saved me from white nationalism- helps me love those in it, says former Richard Spencer fan

By Frank Russo

I have an interesting take on the issue of white nationalism. It’s not because I am a self proclaimed expert on it like the SPLC, or because I am a lawyer who has worked to prosecute hate crimes. It’s because I am a white nationalist. Well rather I was one. It may be an odd thing to confess, especially in this political atmosphere, but it is vastly important to who I am and as evidence as to how the Lord works in people’s lives. I’m also writing this because I think that what I have to say is important especially in light of how people think these feelings and thoughts develop and how they react to it. How the country is trying to counteract this issue is dangerous and counter-intuitive. In fact it is breeding more Nazis than at any other time since 1945.

Let me start by saying that I wasn’t an out and out Neo-Nazi. I was an internet troll. I liked to post anti semitic memes and harass social justice warriors on twitter, However I can say with a little bit of justification that I was a little above the average Neo Nazi. I read the works that I thought were necessary to become one. Mein Kampf, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and all sorts of other tracts on National Socialism as a theory. I even read the program of the NSDAP and eagerly thought and discussed these ideas with friends and family in private, seeking to convince them of the dangers of the Jewish menace lying in wait on our doorstep. Was I always this way? An angry kid who came home from school in a rage at whatever leftist propaganda had been fed to me that day? Thinking of violence and ways to get even with those who were denying me my place in an imagined racial hierarchy? The answer is no. Not at all. Nazis don’t just poof into existence. They grow through their own experiences of the world surrounding them. Let me begin by saying that my childhood was mostly normal. I grew up in suburban New York with both parents in the picture. Despite the stereotypes they weren’t racist. Well not “real” racists. Sounds odd I know but let me explain. We’d watch the news and there would be some riot or mugging and my Dad, a product of the wild 60’s generation, would make some sort of racially charged comment and my mom would nod along. However, we would associate with blacks within the family circle and without quite often. And these interactions would be jovial, downright respectful and even familial. I was forced to call my Grandma’s friend’s husband, who happened to be black, uncle as a show of respect. My parents grew up in a race conscious generation where it was a clear cut mentality of us and them. My dad inherited racial views from my grandfather but not in any other sense than outwardly. He had many black friends that he spoke fondly of through the years. In fact I can recount numerous stories of his. So why the racial comments? Why the outward sign of discrimination? My best answer is its just how that generation happens to be. Whenever we got down to talking about race, and I would try and convince my dad otherwise, he would admit that he didn’t dislike blacks as a whole or even dislike them because of their race. He told me that his dislike would stem from his views on how their culture has shaped wide ranging attitudes amongst the black community as he saw it. This also extended to whites he deemed lazy or useless.

Now that’s not a Christian worldview certainly, but it’s not a “racist” worldview either. I had a racist worldview but once again not always. In fact I used to be a huge supporter of multiculturalism. As a kid I made friends with all people and during the 2012 election I was pretty happy that Obama was running. Everyone seemed to like him, my parents liked him and he seemed to be pretty nice so I liked Obama too and I was happy that he won. It wasn't any real type of support I get it. I was only 10 after all but even then I always talked about Obama like he was this great guy. You can ask my classmates in elementary school. Even then I was an annoying person who cared about stuff light years ahead of me. I didn’t give Obama much thought after he won, but over the years when I became more and more aware and informed, (again I always cared about stuff my peers thought was stupid), I began to dislike him. His racially divisive rhetoric, his failure to heed his campaign promises in regards to the middle east, his abandonment of Israel, (I was a huge supporter of Israel at the time too), and his gun control stance where things I found intolerable. So I turned against him and turned into a dyed in the wool Conservative. I campaigned for Nan Hayworth in 2012, (she lost), and supported Mitt Romney heavily with my entire family in the same year, (he lost too),. That’s where things began to go really wrong for me, ideologically speaking. How? I kept asking myself. I was convinced that this wasn’t right. Obama was not standing for America and he was working to undermine the American ideal as I saw it. It was an existential crisis for me. I felt like the world was ending, though to be clear I wasn’t crying in the streets and burning stuff down. It was more of a quiet depression. I think somewhere along this line I abandoned the America I saw. I got that belief from G.I. Joe and old war movies where we were always the good guys who stood up for truth. Well truth lost in my eyes and I was searching for a reason why. I continued to grow as most kids do and I began to notice things. The first was that I was an outcast. A fat, white kid who constantly tried to convince everyone the country was falling apart while they walked on by. I had no friends, no girlfriend and no real happiness. I felt utterly alone throughout a good amount of my school years and what’s worse is I saw all my peers begin to embrace the very ideals I had warned them against and then they started to mock me. I couldn’t handle being questioned. I had put all that work in over the years to being informed and constructing a worldview and reasons why and I was defeated by the cookie cutter one handed out to them in the classroom because I was outnumbered. The other part of it was that I never put enough thought into how to best convince. Screaming in a rage doesn’t make you smart, it makes you look like a madman.

Enter the 8th grade and a Black Muslim sjw English teacher. We spent the entire year writing about black history and I am not lying on this. I was also a huge fan of Israel still so when we only spent a week on the Holocaust and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas I was outraged. This is where my racial consciousness slowly began to kick in for real. I wasn’t shouting Nazi ideology or anything yet but I stopped talking about equality as much as I was. In this ELA class of honors students I was one of a few white males and out of the few that were there I was the only one not on a sports team.I continued to stew for a few more years, being the punching bag of most everyone who wanted a piece for a few years. A kid can develop a lot of anger and I tried to channel that into debates. I would engage anyone and everyone I even joined the debate team. Again outnumbered at every turn and losing because of it. I wasn’t content to be correct in my own mind. I had to convince everyone that I was right and that they had to follow me. It was pride that kept me angry. It was pride that kept me up at night trying to convince our generation that we couldn’t keep smoking pot and not getting involved. Enter my cousin Kacy. Strong, smart and got anything he wanted. I think he could sense it. Everyone could. I was smart, but malleable. I could be turned into anything that was needed as long as I was convinced I choose that path for my own good. He told me about the Alt-Right and he sent me books and links and all sorts of stuff. My worldview took a twist. Everything I knew was wrong and everything being taught to me by the people I despised had a motive. For so long I had seen my peers encouraged to develop a racial consciousness. In retrospect you can see the ideology of white guilt in action before white privilege was even a term. Black History Month was forcibly celebrated in schools. Happy Holidays replaced Merry Christmas. These were small things and in conjunction they became big things.The birth of my white identity came soon after. If its okay to be black and proud why is it not okay to be white and proud? And was I proud, not of my race but of me. That’s the major mistake people make about racism. It’s not really pride in one’s race but in oneself. I wanted to proud of myself but that was only part of it. I wanted others to be proud of me too and I didn’t have any means to achieve it. How do I get others to respect me and join me in brotherhood? Superficial appearances. It worked for the other clicks. The jocks all congratulated themselves on being sporty and so on with all other interactions I saw. Being on the other side of group bullying I saw how they worked together. How these small things tied them together when I would see them fight each other the day after teaming up on me. Sports was out of the question and I wasn’t cool or funny. But I was white and smart so I quickly joined in with the online troll community. It felt euphoric. I was finally getting back and even with all the people I thought wronged me. Nobody could tell who I was because I hid behind a picture and a name. I called people all sorts of slurs and said things I’d never get away with in public. I was unbeatable. I was fighting the powers that be and I had a sense of brotherhood…….well I thought I did.

When I saw behavior I thought counter to the goals of our movement I reacted and it earned me few friends. I attacked anyone on the right I saw as trying to subvert the movement or trying to hijack it. Conspiracies were everywhere and Jews, Catholics, feminists and leftists were all at the center of it. I was alone again in my own crusade and I had never felt more alone and depressed. I had a friend at the time though who saw what was happening. He brought me to his church and had me hear the words of the Lord. It wasn’t instant. Over time though, a change began to happen. I no longer wanted to hurt people and I spent less and less time picking fights on twitter. Eventually I began to hate myself more than any other group. I began to see that these racial feelings were part of what I felt was a lifetime of being wronged, of being hated. It took more time but eventually I came to Christ and had to acknowledge my evil. I stopped worshiping the swastika and bowed to the cross. Christ has worked a miracle in my life that his blood has saved me from the justly deserved fate that was in store for me. But is that the end of the white nationalist? No it’s not. I struggle often with these old feelings. Especially when I am confronted with the old nemesis that only Nazism seemed to bring release from. Abandoning racial hatred and white nationalism did not lead to me loving the left and embracing it’s doctrines as many who might have started to read this wanted to hear. I am not a propaganda piece. I am one story of millions of the Lord’s mercy. But a lot of these feelings and pains are still there. I still have to deal with the earthly consequences of my sin. I wake up everyday and promise myself to avoid things that will trigger my Nazi response but it’s not long before I am confronted with the equal evil and sin of the opposition party that demands “if you're not with us you're against us”. I read an article from Huffington Post, (“Toddlers Understand Consent” or “Trump’s Diet Habit is Dangerous to Our Democracy”) or whatever such swill is peddled I can’t help but have an echo in my mind demanding I return to the philosophy of hatred and struggle. My mind whispers that my only sin is having given up the struggle and abandoned the war. A interaction I had a few weeks back really hurt but also helped me. I liked a friends post about the gospel being the cure to racism and agreed wholeheartedly. However, I also read the comments below and was utterly dismayed at what seems to be a large attitude amongst the Christian community. A black gentleman after having a discourse on what racism is asked me “what are you doing to fight racism”. That hit me and not for the reasons you may think. I was hurt because he put such an accusation on me by insinuation, (I’m not helping oppressed or marginalized communities), when he genuinely did not know that I struggle everyday to decrease hate in the world by one. Me. Everyday I struggle with this and some days I come close to hating myself for it. It’s then that I realize that attitudes like that create more Nazis. It created me after all. By laying responsibility for one sin upon the feet of one group of people in it’s entirety you are guilty of the same sin you accuse others of committing. I am sorry for what other people have experienced, regardless of skin color or creed. But racial pride is not a white sin, it’s a world sin that every race is guilty of, every person is guilty of and is part of why Christ had to die on the cross for our salvation. If your eyes are constantly to the past, looking to rectify for the sins of past people by making others pay today how can you claim to be within Christ? I was doing the same thing. I was looking to get even too and nothing kept me further from the lord than that. Forgiveness is always an easy concept to grasp but never an easy action to commit, but if we are to ask forgiveness from the Lord we must forgive those who have wronged us in turn.

What does that mean for me today? Well it means one thing. Empathy. I understand and feel sorry for those still stuck in the circle of racial hatred. I was there and I understand why they are there. I can also tell you that “punch a Nazi in the face” doesn’t convert anyone to what will really help them.In fact if you come at the issue from a sjw leftist push towards utopia you will get nothing in return because you cannot combat hate with hate. Only the true perfect love of the Lord can do that.

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