Cover image for Rising out of hatred : the awakening of a former white nationalist
Title:
Rising out of hatred : the awakening of a former white nationalist
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, [2018]

©2018
ISBN:
9780385542869

9780525434955
Physical Description:
288 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
The Great White Hope -- Have you seen this man? -- I'm not running away -- Pushing the rock -- Solid and unshakeable -- A million questions -- This is scary -- Another debate, Another midnight -- I'm torn -- I have to do this now -- So much worse than I thought -- Primed for revolution -- All out mayhem -- We were wrong.
Abstract:
"From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the powerful story of how a prominent white supremacist changed his heart and mind Derek Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism. His father founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the Internet. His godfather, David Duke, was a KKK Grand Wizard. By the time Derek turned nineteen, he had become an elected politician with his own daily radio show - already regarded as the "the leading light" of the burgeoning white nationalist movement. "We can infiltrate," Derek once told a crowd of white nationalists. "We can take the country back." Then he went to college. Derek had been home-schooled by his parents, steeped in the culture of white supremacy, and he had rarely encountered diverse perspectives or direct outrage against his beliefs. At New College of Florida, he continued to broadcast his radio show in secret each morning, living a double life until a classmate uncovered his identity and sent an email to the entire school. "Derek Black...white supremacist, radio host...New College student???" The ensuing uproar overtook one of the most liberal colleges in the country. Some students protested Derek's presence on campus, forcing him to reconcile for the first time with the ugliness his beliefs. Other students found the courage to reach out to him, including an Orthodox Jew who invited Derek to attend weekly Shabbat dinners. It was because of those dinners--and the wide-ranging relationships formed at that table--that Derek started to question the science, history and prejudices behind his worldview. As white nationalism infiltrated the political mainstream, Derek decided to confront the damage he had done. Rising Out of Hatred tells the story of how white-supremacist ideas migrated from the far-right fringe to the White House through the intensely personal saga of one man who eventually disavowed everything he was taught to believe, at tremendous personal cost. With great empathy and narrative verve, Eli Saslow asks what Derek's story can tell us about America's increasingly divided nature. This is a book to help us understand the American moment and to help us better understand one another"-- Provided by publisher.

"From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, a powerful account of Derek Black's journey from white supremacist hero to apostle of tolerance"-- Provided by publisher.
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Summary

Summary

From a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, the powerful story of how a prominent white supremacist changed his heart and mind

Derek Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism. His father founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the Internet. His godfather, David Duke, was a KKK Grand Wizard. By the time Derek turned nineteen, he had become an elected politician with his own daily radio show - already regarded as the "the leading light" of the burgeoning white nationalist movement. "We can infiltrate," Derek once told a crowd of white nationalists. "We can take the country back."
Then he went to college. Derek had been home-schooled by his parents, steeped in the culture of white supremacy, and he had rarely encountered diverse perspectives or direct outrage against his beliefs. At New College of Florida, he continued to broadcast his radio show in secret each morning, living a double life until a classmate uncovered his identity and sent an email to the entire school. "Derek Black...white supremacist, radio host...New College student?"
The ensuing uproar overtook one of the most liberal colleges in the country. Some students protested Derek's presence on campus, forcing him to reconcile for the first time with the ugliness his beliefs. Other students found the courage to reach out to him, including an Orthodox Jew who invited Derek to attend weekly Shabbat dinners. It was because of those dinners--and the wide-ranging relationships formed at that table--that Derek started to question the science, history and prejudices behind his worldview. As white nationalism infiltrated the political mainstream, Derek decided to confront the damage he had done.
Rising Out of Hatred tells the story of how white-supremacist ideas migrated from the far-right fringe to the White House through the intensely personal saga of one man who eventually disavowed everything he was taught to believe, at tremendous personal cost. With great empathy and narrative verve, Eli Saslow asks what Derek's story can tell us about America's increasingly divided nature. This is a book to help us understand the American moment and to help us better understand one another.


Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Persuasion triumphs over ideology in this searching account of a young man questioning his caustic beliefs by Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Saslow (Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President). Derek Black, son of white nationalist leader Don Black and godson of ex-Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke, was, at the age of 19, a star of the white nationalist movement with a radio show on which he preached racial separatism and claims of white persecution by minorities and Jews. Then in 2010 he began attending the ultra-liberal New College of Florida. His presence, Saslow writes, caused a furor, with many students denouncing and shunning him as a racist, but others reached out: a Jewish student invited him to regular Shabbat dinners, and he began a relationship with a woman who challenged his racial doctrines with scientific studies and demanded that he think about the impact of his views on people he knew. That sustained engagement eventually convinced Black to repudiate his racist views-and forced a wrenching break with his family. Saslow tells this story with an impressive evenhandedness and empathy for everyone involved. The result is a gripping and timely examination of the "alt-right" subculture and the potential for dialogue and moral reasoning to overcome hateful dogmas. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Saslow (Ten Letters: The Stories Americans Tell Their President, 2011) delivers a memorable story of a prodigal son who broke with white supremacy thanks to the kindness of strangers.It is a small irony that Derek Black abandoned the nationalist, white power movement at just about the time that a president entered the White House who consciously put white nationalist rhetoric at the center of his campaign. Black came by his race hatred naturally, following his father's ideology as the founder of Stormfront, the neo-Nazi clearinghouse, and that of his godfather, KKK stalwart David Duke. From his father, Black carried the urgent message that whites were being made victims of cultural genocide in their own country, a grievance of the loss of privilege. However, he had a different vision in which hooded, hidden supremacists would become respectable, persuading his father to outlaw "slurs, Nazi insignia, and threats of violence or lawbreaking" from the Stormfront website. Thus Charlottesville, with its clean-cut, polo shirt-wearing torchlight parade marchers. By then, though, Derek was long gone. Bright, well-read, and skilled in debate, he had gone off to college in Florida, and there, his home-schooling parents' worst nightmare was realized: He formed a bond with a Jewish girl, though he continued his agitating, and when his identity as a white nationalist was exposed, a Jewish conservative invited him to exchange ideas. Black's eventual renunciation of the nationalist cause threw his parents into turmoil; as Saslow writes, his father hoped that "maybe Derek was just faking a change in ideology so he could have an easier life and a more successful career in academia." But absent widespread changes of heart, Black's story is an anomaly, if an instructive oneand one that closes with a dark message that conflict is looming as the white nationalist movement appears to be mushrooming.A sobering book that deserves a wide audience among politics-watchers in an age of reaction. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

As the son of infamous white supremacist Don Black, Derek Black was a rising star among white nationalists, preaching racial separatism from his own radio-show pulpit by the age of 19. After enrolling at the leftist-leaning New College of Florida in 2010, where Black reasoned he could work his subversive influence from the inside, his views about racial tolerance underwent a radical shift away from his elders' philosophy. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Saslow's decision to recount Black's transformation with politically neutral detachment makes his story no less captivating. Saslow notes that Black, unlike his father and fellow racist cohorts, chose to strip his rhetoric of inflammatory language and cleverly reframe the movement in terms of white persecution by Jews and minorities. Yet, while Black's unearthed presence at the New College quickly triggered protests, his growing friendships with a Hispanic roommate and a Jewish student forced him to reexamine his formative indoctrination and eventually break with his family. Amid the current swirling controversies around racial issues, Saslow's work is both timely and encouraging.--Carl Hays Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

AMERICANS LOVE REDEMPTION STORIES. The Old Testament tale of Exodus - the slaves' flight from Egypt and their salvation in the desert - may be the most epic of all such sagas, and the Puritans aboard the Mayflower thought of their flight from King James as an exodus of the chosen people fleeing their pharaoh. Ben Franklin's best-selling "Autobiography" mythologized his rags-toriches rise from indentured servant to inventor and statesman, and in so doing he further stitched the redemption narrative into the nation's moral fabric. Since then, activists, politicians and businessmen have all borrowed the story line to lend legitimacy to their ambitions, but few have done so more powerfully than civil rights leaders: Martin Luther King Jr. insisted that Christians who had succumbed to bigotry could repent only by righting racial wrongs; Malcolm X recounted his transformation from hustler and felon to militant activist and Muslim, and in so doing, he invited a nation of sinners to follow him down the same spiritual path. In America, the resurrected wretch ("I once was lost but now am found") has more authority than the pious innocent - to have fallen and been redeemed is an act of self-invention and moral fortitude that mirrors the Pilgrims' own impossible journey. Today, in the upside-down world that is Trump's America, where anything seems possible and nothing is offlimits, we're seeing the emergence of a new type of redemption story: that of the white supremacist turned antiracist crusader. In defiance of antifa radicals who support "punching Nazis" to shut them up, and free-speech absolutists who think it's enough to ignore them and hope they'll go away, "formers," as many ex-white supremacists call themselves, teach us from their own experiences about the complicated roles empathy and exclusion play in conversion; about the addictive nature of hate; about how encounters with "others" can be transformative. "There will be people who will say, 'Once a Nazi, always a Nazi,' and that you can't change who you are," the former extremist Christian Picciolini says on a recent MSNBC special, "Breaking Hate," in which he coaches white supremacists trying to leave hate groups. "But I know change is possible." In this vein comes RISING OUT OF HATRED: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist (Doubleday, $26.95), by Eli Saslow, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post, who tells the story of Derek Black, the son of Don Black, the founder of Stormfront, until recently the largest and most important extremist website in America. Derek's godfather is David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and Louisiana state representative, who groomed Derek from an early age to succeed him as a leader of the white nationalist movement, and who saw in Derek's polite and thoughtful demeanor, his careful avoidance of racial slurs, his "shoulder-length red hair" and "large black cowboy hat," the precocious face of that future. Saslow had full access to Derek, his father (who remains a committed white nationalist), and Derek's friends and acquaintances, who provided Saslow with invaluable chat logs, emails and recordings that allowed him to dramatize his subject's evolving belief system with novelistic intimacy. Derek and today's white nationalist movement matured alongside each other, and he learned from a young age that the old-school extremism practiced by his father was a liability. Before launching Stormfront in 1996, Don Black led the Alabama Ku Klux Klan and went to prison for plotting to overthrow the Caribbean island of Dominica in order to establish a white ethno-state there. Intuitive and whip-smart, young Derek learned from his father's failures that "white nationalism could only grow into a viable political movement if it adopted a new language of its own - a vocabulary that sanitized the ideology and distanced it from a history of violence." Growing up in West Palm Beach, Fla., he created a "kids" section of Stormfront aimed at recruiting "white children of the globe" and another one devoted to "The Lord of the Rings." He also co-hosted with his father a popular radio show that mixed country music with ideology. Seizing on a spike in interest in the site after Barack Obama became president, Derek persuaded his dad to ban racial slurs, Nazi imagery and threats of violence or lawbreaking, which helped the site grow from 30,000 users in 2007 to 300,000 in 2017. "You've laid the foundation to build our new white republic," Matthew Heimbach, a young white nationalist leader, told Don Black and a crowd of white supremacists in Tennessee in 2013. "Now my generation is primed for this revolution. . . . I've been reading Stormfront since I was in high school, and it planted the seeds in my mind." By that time, however, Derek had undergone a transformation. In 2010, he enrolled at New College of Florida, in Sarasota, where his dad was convinced he was on a reconnaissance mission, living, as a caller to their radio show put it, "among the enemy in a hotbed of multiculturalism." Instead, Derek made fast friends with Juan, a Peruvian immigrant, and Matthew, an Orthodox Jew, and he dated a Jewish woman named Rose, feeling "as if he were occupying two lives: breakfast at New College with Rose and one of her transgender friends and then Thanksgiving dinner with Don, Chloe" - Derek's mother - "and a few former skinheads in West Palm Beach." The more academic life grew on Derek, the more he feared that his peers would discover his alter ego, and one night in the spring of his first year that's exactly what happened. On a campuswide online message board, someone posted a photo of Black: "Have you seen this man? Derek Black. White supremacist, radio host . . . New College student?" Saslow has a knack for milking his characters' trials for all their zeitgeisty relevance, and he shows how the resulting conflict between students and administrators foreshadowed larger questions that campuses across the country would soon confront about free speech and extremism. At one point after being exposed, Derek ventured out during a campus festival and was heckled by fellow students. Another day, a student, posting on the schoolwide online forum, declared: "Violence against white supremacists will send a message that white supremacists will get beat up. That's very productive." Yet while most students shunned Derek, Matthew refused to do so. As an observant Jew, he had "already experienced enough shaming at New College to believe that exclusion only reinforced divides," and he continued to invite Derek to Shabbat dinners, which on any given night might include a few Orthodox Jews, an immigrant and a gay student. But when, after months of these dinners, Derek failed to transform from a white nationalist caterpillar into a progressive butterfly - at one point he even organized a high-profile conference of white nationalist leaders - his friends confronted a strategic and moral conflict that mirrors the plight of many Americans today when deciding how best to deal with racists. As Moshe, a friend, whose grandfather survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, wondered: "What if all he had done by befriending Derek was to enable him, to provide him with cover from the social-justice activists on campus so that he could continue to promote a racist ideology while living a comfortable college life? What incentive did Derek have to change?" His incentive, it would turn out, was romantic love. At the dinners he met a woman named Allison who at first gave him the cold shoulder and then justified her inexplicable attraction to him as being part of a project to reform him, though in reality her feelings for Derek were as organic - and confusing - for her as they were for him. As Allison grew to love Derek, and as he reciprocated, he began to trust her. Christian Picciolini, in his memoir, "White American Youth" (2017), describes the importance of empathy - how receiving it from others at a time when he felt he least deserved it was lifesaving, helping to pull him out of extremism. But the importance of empathy is primarily that it builds trust, and once you trust someone, you'll listen to him or her. For Derek, that meant listening to Allison when she sent him dozens of studies over the course of many months showing, for example, that victims of racism had higher blood pressure, depression and heart disease. "For years Derek had been hearing about the abstract evils of racism, which he had always dismissed as empty rhetoric from his enemies on the liberal left," Saslow writes. But Allison "made Derek begin to wonder if in fact he had been wrong in his theory that actually it was white people who were discriminated against." Allison also forced him to imagine the effects his ideas would have on people he cared about at New College. One weekend, while the two were driving back to school from a road trip to a state park, a relationship spat turned into a full-on ideological battle. Even though Derek had by now begun privately doubting many of his beliefs, he still clung to the idea that white nationalism was simply about defending whites, not harming nonwhites. "Your stupid theory makes no sense," Allison finally said. "Didn't white nationalists want to deport . . . minorities and uproot their lives? . . . Did he somehow not understand why that idea would be threatening for Rose, or Moshe or Matthew? . . . When the great deportation came, would Derek himself be willing to break into their homes and force them out? Or would he stand by and watch as his father and other Stormfront members did it for him?" When Derek later confronts his dad with this same question, at least Don is honest about the implications of what he'd been advocating all along: Immigrants, Jews and blacks could "be forced to leave," he replies, to Derek's horror. "This country is on the verge of a reckoning." Derek's naïveté, on the other hand, is exasperating, and by the time he finally tells Allison, in his senior year, "I'm done. I don't believe in it, and I'm not going to be involved," it's a bit anticlimactic. It may be impossible to trace a direct connection between Derek's beliefs and activities, on the one hand, and white nationalist violence, on the other. But it's a discomfiting fact that at least six murderers turn out to have used Stormfront as a resource, including Dylann Roof, who logged on as "LilAryan" before killing nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston in 2015. In his 23 years as a white nationalist, Derek gave dozens of interviews and speeches, and organized a large conference promoting his ideas; his radio show influenced hundreds, possibly thousands of people. By the time Trump became the Republican nominee for president, Derek had changed his name to Roland Derek Black, quit the movement, been disowned by some members of his family and enrolled in a Ph.D. program in medieval history at the University of Chicago. He wanted to hide - he was disgusted with himself - but Allison, ever his moral compass, insisted that he owed a debt to the country he helped divide. Like his dad and David Duke, Derek saw in Trump's rise a validation of their efforts to popularize white nationalism, though unlike them he was aghast. "Maybe Trump wasn't in fact a white nationalist," Don cheers, "but he sure was good at sounding like one." Yet when Derek finally decides to go all out in denouncing white nationalism in an Op-Ed in The New York Times, becoming a reluctant public face of antiracism days after the election, the reader can't help feeling that he's getting off, and out of the movement, a little too easily. In Picciolini's case, his wife and children lefthim and he sank into a suicidal depression before his rebirth as a "former"; Frank Meeink, the ex-Nazi author of "Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead," became addicted to heroin; and Angela King, the subject of "Meeting a Monster," a recent biopic about her life as a skinhead, went to prison. As any reader of the Bible knows, the more dramatic the suffering, the more rewarding the redemption, and in the end, Derek Black's transformation is too little, too late. At the conclusion of "Rising Out of Hatred," he's a student in a top Ph.D. program and gets to keep the girl, while his parents threaten only to take away his credit card. "I'm part of all this, and it makes me ill," he told Allison in the summer of 2016, a few months before Trump's election. "I wish there was some way to not think about that." WES ENZINNA is a senior editor at Harper's.


Library Journal Review

Derek Black was supposed to be a household name, at the forefront of white nationalism's push for a single-race nation. Instead, a conflicted multiyear alteration led to him disavowing his past beliefs. -Salsow (Ten Letters) traces Black's upbringing and his early successes to further this ideology, continuing through his transformation to rejecting publicly white nationalism and advocating for a diverse society, while sacrificing relationships with family and lifelong friends. Black's change was partly made possible by his privileged socioeconomic status, with travels throughout the world, though the true protagonist here is not Black but rather all those around him who were appalled at his views though still willing to engage in respectful dialog. VERDICT The heart of this book is the impact we do and can have on one another through meaningful, respectful interaction. Anyone looking to learn more about the history of white nationalism, and gain clarity of the arguments against it, will appreciate this compelling biography.-Zebulin Evelhoch, NC LIVE, Raleigh © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

1. "The Great White Hope"   The Klansmen and neo-­Nazis arrived for their meeting in the fall of 2008 dressed in suits with aliases written on their name tags and began sneaking into the hotel just after dawn. They walked past the protesters waving rainbow flags on the sidewalk, past the extra state troopers stationed outside the hotel lobby, past the FBI informants hoping to infiltrate their way inside. For several days, the government of greater Memphis had been working to prevent this "white rights conference" from taking place. One suburb declared a state of emergency so it could hire additional police officers; another issued a temporary ban on all public gatherings. But by 7:00 on Saturday morning, about 150 of the world's preeminent white nationalists had gathered inside a nondescript hotel conference room where a small sign hung on the wall.   "The fight to restore White America begins now," it read.   The United States had elected its first black president just four days earlier, and already the Department of Homeland Security warned of a "significant spike in activity" on the white racist fringe. President-­elect Obama was receiving an average of thirty death threats each day. Gun sales had skyrocketed to historic levels, and by some reports far-­right militia groups had tripled their membership numbers during the last year. But the white uprising that concerned the Department of Homeland Security most of all was the one beginning now in Memphis, where acoustic guitar played through the speakers and sack lunches with turkey and swiss waited on a buffet table. "It's the polite face of the racist movement that now has a chance to recruit new members and broaden in scope," one DHS analyst said.   David Duke, the conference organizer, stepped behind a podium to welcome his guests. Duke, then fifty-­eight, had spent his life working to push the white supremacist movement from the radical fringes ever closer to the far conservative Right, rebranding himself from an Imperial Wizard of the Klan into a self-­described "racial realist" politician who nearly became governor of Louisiana in the early 1990s. He was two decades removed from the pinnacle of his international fame, and he'd tried to hold time in place by repackaging his old speeches into YouTube rants. He wore the tired look of a performer who'd stayed on tour too long, but he was still the public face of white nationalism. "The future of our movement is to become fully mainstream," Duke told the crowd, so he'd reserved one of the conference's keynote speeches for an up-­and-­coming white nationalist leader who represented that future.   "I'd like to introduce the leading light of our movement," Duke said. "I don't know anybody who has better gifts. He may have a much more extensive national and international career than I've had. Derek, can you come on up?"   Duke motioned to the corner of the room, where a nineteen-­year-­old community college student was hunched behind a laptop, running a live radio broadcast of the event for the online radio station he started himself.   "We are so privileged to be with you," Duke said, before turning back to the audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, here is Derek Black."   The crowd began to applaud, and Derek stood from his computer with a slight wave and walked to the front of the room. Most of the white nationalists already knew him, because how could they not? He was at least a generation younger than almost everyone else, with shoulder-­length red hair and a large black cowboy hat that he wore in an effort to make himself more memorable. He'd grown up within the insular world of white nationalism, attending dozens of conferences just like this one. Already he'd built his own website for "white children of the globe," visited more than half a million times. He'd launched a twenty-­four-­hour online radio network for white nationalists and won a local election as a Republican in Florida. He was not only a prodigy within the movement but also a product of it. His father, Don Black, led the Klan for nearly a decade and then created Stormfront, the internet's first and largest white pride website. His mother, Chloe, had once been married to David Duke, and Duke acted as Derek's mentor and godfather, sometimes referring to Derek as "the heir."   No family had done more to help white nationalism bully its way back into mainstream politics, and Derek was the next step in that evolution. He was precocious, thoughtful, and polite, sometimes delivering handwritten thank-­you notes to conference volunteers. He never used racist slurs. He didn't advocate for outright violence or breaking the law. His core beliefs were the same as those of most white nationalists: that America would be better off as a whites-­only country, and that all minorities should eventually be forced to leave. But instead of basing his public arguments on emotion or explicit prejudice, he spoke mostly about what he believed to be the facts of racial science, immigration, and a declining white middle class. Five evenings each week, he hosted an online radio show, often devoting the first half hour to innocuous stories about his favorite country musicians like Waylon Jennings, Alan Jackson, and Johnny Cash before turning the conversation to "the survival and continued dominance of the great white race," he said. His goal, he explained once on the radio, was to "normalize these white nationalist ideas that already fit so neatly within the divides of modern society."   "I've never lived in a country that I consider to be a white country," he told the audience in Memphis. "I've never enjoyed this good golden bag of advantage that white people are supposed to have."   He told the audience about his recent campaign to become a Republican committeeman in Palm Beach County, Florida, in which he had traveled door-­to-­door to meet with voters each afternoon after his community college German class. He seldom mentioned race in those conversations, and sometimes he barely spoke at all. Instead, he mostly listened as his white Republican neighbors told him about the reasons they felt their culture was under threat: the new highway signs in Spanish, urban crime, outsourced middle-­class jobs, a collapsing economy, and a societal insistence on political correctness. For the first time in history, less than half of all babies born in the United States were white, and Derek believed whites would inevitably begin voting more explicitly for their interests like a typical minority bloc. "Most white people don't want to be called racists, but they do want to make sure their culture and their position in society isn't going to be undermined," Derek said on the radio. "People are just waiting for white candidates to come along who are brave enough to talk about these things, and when that happens, whites will go streaming to the polls." Even though he had campaigned as a teenager with no job history, no college diploma, and zero political experience, Derek beat out a Cuban American incumbent and won the election with more than 60 percent of the vote.   "The way white people have to respond is through politics," Derek told the crowd in Memphis. "Which way are the Republicans going to go? I'm kind of banking on them staking their claim as the White Party. We can infiltrate. We can take the country back."   A few people in the audience started to clap, and then a few more began to whistle, and before long the whole group was applauding. "Our moment," Derek said, because at least in this room everyone was in agreement. They believed the core tenets of white nationalism were about to drive a political revolution. They believed, at least for the moment, that Derek would help lead it.   "Years from now, we will look back on this," he said. "The great intellectual move to save white people started today."   The applause continued as Don Black, fifty-­five, stood from the rows of folding chairs and moved slowly toward the lectern to join his son onstage for the next session of the conference, an audience Q&A with white nationalist leaders. Don had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke a few months earlier, and now he walked with a hunch and leaned against a cane to steady his debilitated left side. He had long prided himself on being the embodiment of physical and emotional toughness--­what he called the "European ideal written into our genes." He stood over six feet tall, with thick gray hair, a hard jawline, and blue eyes. He had once been the strongest weight lifter in the rec yard of a federal prison, but now the short walk to the lectern required intermittent breaks, until Derek stepped out and offered his hand.   Don had been leaning on his only child more than ever lately, relying on him for rides to white nationalist meetings and help managing the growing business of Stormfront, which crashed under the weight of a record 120,000 users on the night of Obama's election to the presidency. Most of all, Don looked to Derek's recent political achievements to lift himself from stretches of depression and fatigue that he'd endured since his stroke. He had tried to heal himself with physical therapy, experimental electrotherapies, and a dozen nutritional supplements, but none of it was as efficacious as monitoring Derek's rising fame in the local newspaper and listening to him talk each night about "racial realities" on internet radio.   "I never thought it would feel so good to play second fiddle in my own house," Don joked in Memphis as he and Derek took their places on the stage.   Sometimes, standing eye to eye with Derek, Don marveled at the young adult his son was becoming. "So perceptive. So insightful and committed in his beliefs," Don said. At first those beliefs had come as a direct inheritance from Don. He sent six-­year-­old Derek out for Halloween dressed as a white Power Ranger, helped to decorate his childhood bedroom with a Confederate flag, and brought him to speeches where Don expressed doubt about the full severity of the Holocaust. Derek was socialized on Stormfront, and he began spending his nights in the private chat rooms as soon as he could type. After Derek finished third grade, Don and Chloe pulled him out of school, believing the public system in West Palm Beach was overwhelmed by an influx of Haitians and Hispanics. "It's a shame how many white minds are wasted in that system," Derek wrote then, at age ten, on his own children's web page. "I am no longer attacked by gangs of non-­whites. I am learning pride in myself, my family and my people." Excerpted from Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.