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Proud Boys members including organizer Joe Biggs, center, in green cap, march across the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Ore., last year.

Are the Proud Boys White Supremacists?

Charles Moscowitz is the author of the new book: God is God: God is the Creator and Law-Giver

This was the ugly accusation lodged by WGBH senior investigative reporter Phillip Martin during an appearance on Basic Black hosted by Callie Crossley. Martin strung the Proud Boys into a litany of accusations, false accusations I would argue, that the Trump Administration is white supremacist. This sort of divisive and politically self-serving rhetoric is gospel for the left.

I responded to Martin’s accusation with a tweet where I noted the following:

@phillipWGBH while I’m not a fan, the Proud Boys are not white supremacist. Indeed they probably have more members who are men of color than does BLM.

Martin responded with the following: Replying to @moscowitz10001

All due respect I don’t think you understand that you can be a white supremacist and have non-white members. Joining Proud Boys is not like joining the Aryan Brotherhood. To join one must acknowledge “the supremacy of Western culture and civilization” ..aka: whiteness.

My response: @phillipWGBH

I assume that western culture in this case means American culture which is pluralistic. Certainly America was white supremacist, that’s a fact of history, and while vestiges of that remain hasn’t that changed?…I would add that white supremacy might be a more fitting description of certain Lilly white left leaning Boston suburbs than it would describe the Proud Boys.

I don’t deny that racism exists in our great and pluralistic society and I respect that fact that as a person who passes as white, I cannot speak to the Black experience in this regard. I can, however, determine when such charges are used selectively for political purposes and as a means to advance a specific political agenda.

Turning white supremacy into a political football cheapens genuine white supremacist policies and covers up real examples where such policies linger such as in the prison system and in public school systems. I wonder if Mr. Martin would praise President Trump for signing the First Step Act, for example, which released approximately 10 thousand men, predominantly men of color, from prison where they had been convicted of minor drug crimes thanks to the Clinton-Biden crime bill. Does he criticize Kamala Harris for convicting approximately 1,500 men of these crimes in California? Does he support school choice and tax credits that would help Black children get into charter and private schools?

Indeed, the type of rhetoric that I heard Mr. Marin engage in effectively covers up a genuine conversation about race and racial inequality in this country.

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