Griffin Robert S. - One sheaf, One vine


Author : Griffin Robert S.
Title : One sheaf, One vine Racially Conscious White Americans Talk About Race
Year : 2004

Link download : Griffin_Robert_S_-_One_sheaf_One_vine.zip

This book is made up of personal statements about race from seventeen racially conscious white Americans. By racially conscious I mean that, for them, the fact that they are white—other terms, European American, Euro—is more than an incidental, insignificant, or peripheral aspect of their being. Their racial identity is central to how they view themselves and conduct their lives. The people you will meet come from virtually every part of the country. None of them knew any of the others when this project began (I introduced several to one or two of the others after I had gathered the material for the book). What you will read is drawn from an audiotape-recorded conversation I had with each of these individuals separately (in one case it was a couple). Conversation is a more accurate term than interview for what went on between them and me. I didn’t have an interview protocol that I used with everyone. There was nothing so formal as that. Instead, I was guided by a list of topics and themes I wanted to explore with each person. I edited myself out of the transcription of each tape so that it was just a statement, or personal account, from the person I talked with. I gave each statement a title and wrote a brief preface to introduce the speaker. After transcribing nine of the tapes myself, I suddenly lost virtually all my hearing and could no longer hear the voices on the tapes. I am appreciative of Katrina Gibson’s excellent work transcribing the last seven tapes, as well as for her editorial assistance. The words in this book are the speakers’. I did some editing for length and to avoid repetition and maintain continuity, but I was careful not to alter, soften, or censor anything someone said. As much as possible, I want you to experience these individuals as I did, and reading back over the statements, I think you will. This book grows out of another book I authored, The Fame of a Dead Man’s Deeds: An Up-Close Portrait of White Nationalist William Pierce, which was published in 2000. William Pierce, who died in July of 2002, was a prominent figure in the white nationalist (another term, white racialist) movement. He was the founder and chairman of the National Alliance, which has around two thousand members and is headquartered on Pierce’s 340-acre property in rural West Virginia. Pierce is best known as the author of the widely read—a half million readers—underground novel, The Turner Diaries, which describes the racially motivated terrorist acts of a band of white American revolutionaries against a corrupt federal government and its supporters. In the process of researching the Pierce book in the late 1990s, I met a number of white racialists, some followers of Pierce and some not. After the book was published, other racially aware whites contacted me, and I met still others at various meetings and through the Internet. What has struck me about the three hundred or more people I have encountered over the past five years, and I include the leaders of the movement in this characterization, is how invisible and silent they are in the public arena. To be sure, we have a generalized image of people of this sort and what they believe: ignorant, violenceprone KKK members, menacing skinheads, and low-life or deranged thugs doing their “perp walks” after committing a heinous hate crime against minorities. The vast majority of the white nationalists I have met do not fit these stereotypes, but how would average Americans know that? These people aren’t on the television news shows speaking for themselves. They don’t make movies. They don’t publish books and articles. Politicians don’t articulate their perspective and advocate their positions. Journalists and intellectuals don’t write about them unless it is to belittle them. They aren’t on university and college faculties, and schools make no attempt to consider them objectively. What has also struck me about the people I have met is that, at least in my view, they have something to say that would contribute to the public dialogue and debate. I believe this society and culture would benefit from hearing what they think about race. Which is not to say that I consider them to be right about everything. I do offer, however, that, in the main, white racialists are serious and thoughtful and sincere, and they are trying to live just and honorable lives. If you find this to be true of the people in this book, know that they aren’t exceptional. They are typical. Denis Ruiz, whom I met in late 2000, sparked the idea of writing this book. Denis, a rather shy and reserved computer programmer from the Philadelphia area, had read the Pierce book in its original ebook format and offered to help me clean up its many typos and misprints for the print version of the book that was published in 2001. After the editing task was completed, Denis and I stayed in contact, communicating just about every day by phone or e-mail. I found him to be a remarkably bright and reflective and decent human being. Denis became a highly valued colleague and friend. He gave me direction and support in both my professional and personal life. In the spring of 2002, I decided that I wanted others to know the person I had come to know. I would write a book that introduced Denis and some of the other racially aware white people I had met or would seek out. I didn’t want this book to be about leaders of the white nationalist movement such as Pierce but rather everyday people like Dennis. Mainstream America wasn’t hearing from them and I thought that it should have that chance. Denis was my first interview, or conversation, and I took it from there. I started contacting people and asking them whether they would be interested in being in the book (not one person said no) and if they knew of anyone they could recommend to me. The monthly newsletter American Renaissance generously put a full-page notice in one of its issues that I was seeking people. The word spread that I was writing this book. Every day for months I received inquiries from people who wanted to be interviewed. In selecting those to include, I looked for people of various ages and walks of life and regions of the country, and both men and women. Some of them have asked me not to use their real names because they are worried about retaliation for expressing their beliefs, that they might lose their jobs or their children might be harassed. If they left it up to me to use their real name or not, in every case I chose not to. I didn’t want anyone to pay a price for supporting my work and doing what I think is the right and responsibility of us all: to speak out on the issues of the day. I have placed an asterisk next to a name the first time it is mentioned if it is a pseudonym. As much as anything, this book is about what is allowed into the public discourse in America and what is excluded from it. In that light, the publishing history of both the Pierce book and this one bears recounting. My literary agent was enthused about the merits and commercial prospects of the Pierce book. However, fifteen major publishing houses he submitted the manuscript to all passed on it saying that while the book was a meritorious effort there simply was no market for it. Nobody would be interested in buying it, they told him. I suspected that the real reason for the turndowns had much more to do with the content of the book than with its sales potential. The real problem with the manuscript, I speculated, was the unfiltered reports of Pierce’s criticisms of blacks and, especially, the Jewish influence on American culture and foreign policy, which made it very unpalatable to editors and publishing houses. I think publishers should be free to publish whatever they want for whatever reason they choose. At the same time, I believe that no individuals and groups, whether it’s blacks or Jews or anyone else, should be free of critique and criticism. Critique and criticism are crucially necessary to a free and democratic society. I also believe the American public needs to be aware that certain topics and arguments are not reflected in the mainstream media. That is crucially important because so much of what we know, or think we know, is not derived from our direct experience but from mediated contact with reality. We haven’t seen or heard it ourselves. Someone has shown it to us and told us about it, whether in a book or an article, or on television or in a movie, or in a classroom. Whatever the real reason for the publisher turndowns of the Pierce book, I was left with a manuscript that I thought was worthy of being made available to the reading public. There had been an earlier manuscript of mine, about education, that hadn’t gotten published and that I believed had been blocked because of its ideas rather than its quality, and I wasn’t going to let that happen again if I could help it. A colleague told me about an Internet company that, for no charge, made manuscripts available through its web site in electronic book— e-book—format. So very late one evening, alone in my office at the university, I followed the instructions on this company’s web site and submitted a computer file of the Pierce manuscript. And as it turned out, despite all the dire predictions from editors, the Pierce book has sold extremely well in both e-book and print form. I decided to make another run at commercial publishers with this Sheaf book, as I eventually came to call it. I clung to the hope that I could get the imprimatur of a major New York publishing house, a spot on the shelves of Borders or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps even a review in The New York Times. So I wrote up a “pitch” letter for my agent to send along with sample sections from the book to editors to try to induce their interest. After reading what I had put together, my agent begged off from representing the manuscript. He said that the concept and samples were very good indeed, but that this manuscript would be “a very tough sell.” I contacted a few publishing houses on my own and they responded that this was excellent material, but they couldn’t risk publishing anything like this. They said that whether or not the people in the book are in fact racists and anti-Semites, they would certainly be accused of being just that, and the publishing company would be attacked for getting behind this material, and they didn’t want to go through that hassle. And besides, there undoubtedly would be major problems with distribution, as bookstore chains would be pressured not to put it on their shelves. I had been through this racist and anti-Semite business with the Pierce book, so I was somewhat prepared for it. Both of those epithets, as well as the rest of the litany—hater, bigot, Nazi, extremist—were relentlessly applied to Pierce. And since I was the author of a book about him and thereby associated with him, I got a taste of name-calling attacks myself in articles and interviews and when I was the subject of radio talk shows. I have come to the conclusion that these slurs are used to demonize, marginalize, and intimidate people and set them up for punishment. In my case, these smears put the focus on me, whether I had impure thoughts and what ought to be done with me, and distracted attention from the substance of what I was writing and the legitimacy of the motives and tactics of the people who were attacking me. By the time I had finished the Sheaf book, I wasn’t about to run scared or kowtow to anyone who tried to silence me or the people I write about. If this country stands for anything it is freedom of conscience and the open discussion of ideas. And if this country demands anything from each of us it is to do what we do what we think is right, and I think publishing this book is the right thing to do. So I have self-published this Sheaf book through an Internet publisher as I did the Pierce book. It gives you the chance to determine for yourself whether the people in this book have anything worthwhile to say, and whether what they say has any implications for what you believe and the way you live your life. ...

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