I can’t say there’s a hill I’m willing to die on. But there are hills I am willing to walk away from with a limp.
I received my latest limp on behalf of the Proud Boys. And I’m not even a member. I just had the temerity to point out that Antifa’s archnemeses, the Fred Perry-wearing Western chauvinists, are not white supremacists.
On the Proud Boys’ official website, ‘white supremacy’ is not listed among the group’s tenets. In fact, according to the website, the ‘core values of the Proud Boys’, include ‘anti-racism’ and, in clearly stated language, a refusal to ‘discriminate based upon race or sexual orientation / preference’. I guess one could argue that this is exactly what a group of white supremacists would put out if it didn’t want the world to know its members were a bunch of white supremacists. But then how would said white-supremacist group attract further white supremacists to its cause?
The Proud Boys are not relying on their website to set the record straight. In Salt Lake City, Proud Boy Thad spoke ‘on behalf of the entire national organisation’, and said the Proud Boys ‘denounce white supremacy’. This was during a joint news conference with a leader of a local Black Lives Matter chapter. The international chair of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, has also been vocal about the group’s anti-white-supremacy stance.
Tarrio is Afro-Cuban and, while I don’t know how Thad identifies, he certainly doesn’t look white. If you search for photos of Proud Boy members you’ll notice that there sure are a lot of black, brown and Asian men in their ranks. Perhaps even white-supremacist groups have diversity-and-inclusion quotas.