At only 19, Derek Black was a rising star and the pride of his father, who was a leader in a movement called White Nationalism. White nationalism is a very small, but growing racist movement, which is trying to create a white nation by removing people of color.
Derek was indoctrinated from birth with the racist ideas of his family. They taught him that the USA was meant for white people and that non-white citizens were a threat. They wanted him to change the nation.
Soon Derek too became a leader in the white nationalism community. He had his own racist radio program and warned that white people were losing control of the country. He encouraged infiltration of the government. People respected and followed him.
Then Derek went to college. He did not want to be ostracized for his beliefs, so he hid his true identity while continuing to appear on racist radio programs. Before long, he had a group of new friends at school including a Peruvian immigrant and an Orthodox Jew.
College was going well for Derek until a student learned of his background and posted about it on the school’s website. His peers were angry and sent him hateful messages.
But then Matthew Stevenson, the Orthodox Jew that Derek had originally befriended, decided that anger was not the answer. He decided to invite Derek to a traditional Jewish dinner, which he hosted every week. The dinner included people from a variety of cultures and religions. Instead of judging, excluding, or trying to change Derek’s mind, Matthew decided to include him and treat him like anybody else. He felt uneasy at first, but he soon became friends with the dinner group.
Soon, Derek was questioning his beliefs. He tried to remind himself why he believed in white nationalism, but the movement seemed increasingly ridiculous to him. Soon, he decided that he could not support a movement that told him who he could and could not be friends with.
After college, he rejected white nationalism publicly. But people still recognized him as a leader of a racist movement. This made life hard for Derek so he has been doing everything he can to distance himself from his past. At first, his father had difficulty believing Derek’s decision, and then he felt betrayed by it. It has been difficult, but both Derek and his father have been taking steps to bridge the divide in his family.
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