On a recent episode of the American Renaissance podcast, white nationalists Jared Taylor and Paul Kersey devoted most of their discussion to the new film The Birth of a Nation, which tells the story of Nat Turner’s infamous slave rebellion. Specifically, Taylor and Kersey went into full pearl-clutching mode over the prospect of the film ginning up anti-white hate crimes.
It’s true that The Birth of a Nation is a controversial film for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the subject matter. After all, while Turner’s rebellion could reasonably be seen as justified insofar as he and his fellow slaves killed their despicable “owners,” included among the dead were women and young children. Turner’s story is a complicated one, and some critics pointed out the artistic liberties director Nate Parker took with the source material. Moviegoers are also likely having trouble separating the film from its controversial director who allegedly raped an acquaintance in 1999.
However, what Taylor and Kersey are fixated on is the idea that black moviegoers will watch films like The Birth of a Nation and get inspired to beat and murder white people as revenge for the evils of slavery and Jim Crow. It’s the same kind of hysteria that the White Right went through after the release of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Ava DuVernay’s Selma. To them, movies that explore historical injustices against black Americans are just an excuse to whip up black people into a violent frenzy, and they probably should not be made at all.
Kersey brought up a case of black-on-white violence from Sylacauga, Alabama, in which a white 17-year-old named Brian Ogle was severely beaten allegedly in response to pro-police statements he made on social media. And although Brian’s story was reported on by numerous media outlets (e.g., Al.com, Mediaite, Time, New York Daily News, etc.), Kersey maintained that “No one’s ever gonna hear this kid’s name.”
According to Taylor, there have been some “very serious cases of incitement,” citing as his sole example the brutal beating of a white Wisconsin teen in 1989. A group of black men and boys, after discussing a scene from the movie Mississippi Burning, decided to “move on some white people” — in the words of one of the assailants, Todd Mitchell. Mitchell then pointed to 14-year-old Gregory Roddick as he walked down the street and instructed the rest of the group to attack. Roddick was rendered unconscious and remained in a coma for four days, while Mitchell was charged and convicted of aggravated battery.
What made the case notable is that Mitchell was subjected to an enhanced penalty under Wisconsin’s hate crime statute — one that was based on model legislation drafted by the Anti-Defamation League in 1981. This enhanced penalty increased his prison sentence from 2 to 7 years, prompting Mitchell to challenge the constitutionality of the hate crimes law under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the law was constitutional in the case Wisconsin v. Mitchell.
Yet neither Taylor nor Kersey offer any sort of solution to the perceived problem. If films like Mississippi Burning — about real and tragic events — are inspiring black people en masse to attack whites (and they’re not), then how could one ever make a movie about historical atrocities like the lynching of Mississippi civil rights workers? Or maybe that’s the point. That Taylor and Kersey want to ignore that part of history because white people did terrible things, and to remember it would, accordingly, make white people in that era look terrible.
Kersey has already denounced the new African-American History Museum featuring the casket of Emmett Till as an exhibit. Now he’s complaining about Mississippi Burning and Selma. Not to mention any memorials that reveal the ugliness of Jim Crow. After all, in Birmingham, AL’s Kelly Ingram Park, there are statues that depict famous scenes of police officers siccing vicious dogs on black protesters.
Kersey said that “as you’re walking through the sidewalk there is a statue of dogs that lunge out of the walls so you can try and, you can try and feel what it felt like to be part of the beneficiary of Bull Connor’s law and order.”
“And what do these statues, what do these statues exist for except to incite hatred of white people’s past and also, then, to hate white people who are the beneficiaries of that past?” he whined. Perhaps it’s not some elaborate attempt to create a race war. Perhaps the more likely answer is that they serve as a reminder of the evils of racism so we don’t end up repeating the same horrible mistakes over again.
Taylor: There’s been quite a reaction against this film, surprisingly enough. You’ve mentioned there’s a New York Times article that expressed some sort of concern about this?
Kersey: You know, the New York Times article, I actually wrote about this at SBPDL because the article was almost — I read it as the New York Times basically saying, “Hey, if this movie incites violence, we at least warned people about it. The New York Times article, it actually has that headline: “We Hope That ‘Birth Of A Nation’ Inspires And Does Not Incite.”
And when you read the article it’s still, it’s hard to read because at the same time they’re talking about, oh well the movie’s gotta make fifty million to break even, we had such high hopes for this director, I can’t believe this happened.
But at the same time they try and intertwine this false narrative of police shootings. And that’s what’s getting so disingenuous when you read the media about, they keep, you keep hearing the words “this epidemic of police shootings” when, Jared, you and I know this. We’re immersed in this world. All of these police shootings turn out to be of black characters of questionable morality.
We know that Keith Scott, he — the guy in Charlotte who was shot by a black police officer — we know a couple days after the black riots, which actually turned out to be incredibly anti-white riots in Charlotte, we know that this guy had a horrible character and spent time in jail for gun violations. All this with all the people who have done the shootings, and yet the New York Times, they continue to pepper — the writers for these liberal publications, they continue to pepper all of their stories with this narrative of anti-police, that are going out there and shooting innocent blacks when the exact opposite is the case.
I mean look what just happened real quick in Alabama, in Sylacauga. There was a white kid, a white student who posted on Facebook “Blue Lives Matter.” Well it’s been reported that he was attacked and basically almost, he was lynched basically by nine to sixty black people at a high school football game. No one’s ever gonna hear this kid’s name.
Taylor: His skull was cracked in five places, I think. He’s still alive.
Kersey: He is still alive.
Taylor: But, no, they really, they really went after him. And, you know, it’s important that the New York Times is even glimpsing the possibility of incitement.
Taylor: Because there have been some very serious cases of incitement. One that we were just talking about before we started talking here, was after the film Mississippi Burning, that came in 1988. There were a couple of blacks who came right out of seeing the movie, and they said, “Do y’all feel hyped up and wanna move on some white people?” Which is exactly what they did, and they chased down this 14-year-old Gregory Roddick, and beat him so severely he suffered permanent brain damage. Now you were trying to get some details on him and you say this guy’s disappeared from view, right?
Kersey: Well, what I did last night when you sent over what you wanted to talk about, sort of the outline for today’s discussion, I decided to try and do as much research as I could on this 14-year-old Gregory Roddick. And there’s one article I was able to find, it was an American Thinker piece that mentioned this attack, and then it would take you to a hyperlink of a Wisconsin Supreme Court case.
And one of the details of this attack on this 14-year-old white kid was really frightening because it pointed out that once the blacks, once the black people who attacked him, you know, permanently injured this kid for life, they counted down. They said, “One. Two. Three.” And they chased after him. It was a game. It was kinda like that saying, “Diversity is chasing down the last white person.” So I tried to chase down, well what happened to this guy?
The only other time that, you know, I put his name colons to try and…in quotations to try and, you know, broaden the search and really define the search. The only other reference I could find was on Free Republic where someone mentioned this. There’s no news stories that I could find. No one has ever tried to look back, you know, ’cause you think about the past couple years, the movies that have come out and have had the potential to incite violence. I know we’re about to get to them.
But Mississippi Burning was one of those movies that even the New York Times back in 1998 — I’m sorry, 1988 — the reviewer was worried about what was gonna be put on film because so much of it was fiction. And he pointed out that this movie, I think the word he used was “cackles” with racial hatred of, you know, of what white people were doing.
And it’s kind of like when you go to Birmingham right now in Kelly Ingram Park, and now 75% Birmingham. Jared, they’ve erected statues of the Bull Connor incident where they shot high-pressure water. You can actually stand and feel what it felt like to have a hose pointed at you. And as you’re walking through the sidewalk there is a statue of dogs that lunge out of the walls so you can try and, you can try and feel what it felt like to be part of the beneficiary of Bull Connor’s law and order.
And most frighteningly, in that Birmingham Kelly Ingram Park, there’s a statue of a very militant-looking, almost SS-looking white police officer who has a, just a terrifying looking German shepherd lunging at a little black child. This is a statue. And what do these statues, what do these statues exist for except to incite hatred of white people’s past and also, then, to hate white people who are the beneficiaries of that past?
Taylor: Well that’s exactly right.