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How Does a White Supremacist Change?

TempDerek Black grew up in a prominent white supremacist family, but his views about race changed when he went to college and met people who cared to challenge him. The New York Times Daily Show rebroadcast an interview with Black, and we hear first-hand about his growing up and about his evolution. (Read the transcript.)

Black's father started Stormfront, a white nationalist website, and his godfather was David Duke, once a leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Black describes his family and friends as a close group, connected by a shared purpose. Although he says that his family doesn't single out individuals, they believe that IQ is linked to race, and that people of color are biologically inferior.

After spending time with Jewish people and comparing research, Black came to understand—over the course of a year—that his research was flawed. He now denounces the white supremacist movement.

Image source.


  • How would you describe Black's transformation? What is significant about his development in terms of understanding cultural differences?
  • Black wanted to stay in the background after his discovery, but he says he felt compelled to be more publicly vocal. What are the arguments for and against staying anonymous?
  • Describe how Black demonstrates intellectual humility.