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In the month since the tragic shooting in Sanford, Florida of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, sustained pressure by the NAACP and local civil rights advocates has brought national attention to the killing, and the way the incident was handled by local law enforcement. More than two million signatures have been collected on an online petition seeking justice for Mr. Martin. Rallies for justice in Florida have been amplified by scores of rallies in cities and towns across the country. A renewed discussion of race and racism has emerged in this presidential election year.

Into this increasingly complex situation, white nationalists have sought to inject their poison. They have defamed Martin, concocted false allegations and amplified racial stereotypes of young black men—in effect, putting the victim on trial in the court of public opinion. Even before Florida officials started leaking negative “information” about Trayvon Martin, white nationalists were portraying Mr. Martin as a scary black man who deserved what he got.

Whether or not it is truly the case, it appears as if some local and state officials in Florida are following a script written by white nationalists. The official’s attempt to deflect attention away from their mishandling of the case has augmented racism and demeaned all those who care about human dignity. In order to more fully understand the circumstances in which justice for Trayvon Martin will be sought, IREHR has examined the white nationalist propaganda campaign. It is not a pretty picture.

The white nationalist reaction has not been all of one mind. It has ranged from glee over the killing of another young African American man, to dismay over the categorization of the shooter as white. There are those who regard the reaction to the killings as the warning signs of an impending race war.

Of particular note has been Kyle Rogers, a South Carolinian and a national board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), was first to seize the moment. Using his blog, the Charleston Conservative Examiner (which resides on the larger network of local blogs), Rogers’ found an avenue into the mainstream for his attacks on Trayvon Martin.

Though filled with rumors and race-baiting, Rogers’ posts caught the attention of the Associated Press. On March 23, a wire service article by Kyle Hightower uncritically quoted Rogers and gave substantial space to his point of view, helping to normalize many of Rogers’ bigoted and unsubstantiated claims about the shooting. While the article did mention that Rogers was on the board of the Council of Conservative Citizens, it left off any mention of the CCC being a controversial white nationalist organization descended from the pro-Jim Crow white Citizens Councils. Instead, the article elevated Rogers’ racism and made his position seem equivalent to that of civil rights leaders like Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP.

The Rogers’ line of attack quickly became the blueprint for other white nationalist commentators, repeated by influential figures like James Edwards of the Political Cesspool radio program and Steve Sailer at The American Renaissance website also ran Rogers’ blog posts in full.

Following the Associated Press story, other mainstream outlets picked up Rogers’ claims and the story spread. It took off when local law enforcement and lawyers for the shooter, George Zimmerman, began leaking information about Trayvon Martin to the press. The effort started to divert the national conversation. It put the victim on trial in the court of public opinion.

In a post entitled, “Trayvon Martin Backlash Gaining Steam,” for Occidental Dissent, a white nationalist blog with a pseudo-intellectual cast, influential figure Hunter Wallace outlined the reaches of these efforts.

High five everyone … the blogosphere has pretty much killed the myth of Trayvon Martin. This is narrative terrorism at its finest.

Kyle Rogers of deserves a major round of applause for writing the Charleston Examiner article that got 40,000 Facebook shares and turned the whole story upside down.

Gov. Patterson was right: the legend of poor innocent Trayvon, the unarmed boy with Skittles and Arizona iced tea who was the victim of a racist vigilante, has been fucking assassinated by the internet and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have been routed.

I’m loving it.

In addition to character assassination, white nationalists have also relied on the old fallback: that the shooting was justified because black people are dangerous potential murderers.

Wallace, for instance, repeated the charge that Martin was the aggressor, “Trayvon Martin would still be alive today if he hadn’t been stupid enough to violently attack Zimmerman. He got himself killed. It is no one’s fault but his own.” This statement ignores the fact that Zimmerman was told by police not to follow Martin, who initially ran from his armed pursuer.

Writing at David Duke’s website, James Buchanan repeated the refrain made by Fox News figure Geraldo Rivera, who suggested that Martin had it coming because he wore a hoodie. According to Buchanan, Martin must’ve been up to no good. “Trayvon’s first reaction after he noticed Zimmerman watching him was to reach inside his waistband as if he had a gun in an obvious attempt to intimidate Zimmerman, who reported Trayvon’s behavior in his phone call with the police. When Zimmerman wasn’t scared off by the fake gun display, Trayvon pulled his hoodie over his face and began to run. Now why would Trayvon do this unless he actually was casing homes in the area for burglaries and he wanted to hide his identity from the Neighborhood Watchman who had just seen him doing that?”

Many white nationalists praised Zimmerman for killing Martin. In article entitled “The Lynching of George Zimmerman,” Hunter Wallace argued, “George Zimmerman should be praised by his neighbors for attempting to defend their gated community from a notorious criminal element.”

Over at Stormfront, the racist internet forum founded by Don Black, the former Klansman and felon who served time in a federal prison for his involvement in a plot to violently overthrow the government of Dominica, the forums have been buzzing with hundreds of posts about the Martin case. Many commenters couldn’t contain themselves. “Looks like little Tyrone/ Travontee/ WTFE should have learned some manners. oh well- he won’t be making that mistake again.” Another member chimed in, “A .22 is a poor weapon to take down a feral negro with.”

Other commentators on Stormfront took exception to people thinking that Zimmerman is white. “He looks pure wetback to me,” wrote one. Another added that “This Zimmerman case is a perfect example of why we don’t want Hispanics in our schools, neighborhoods and restaurants. But as bad as the ‘spanics[sic] are, the nigra[sic] are more than twice as bad. In this case, the only mistake Zimmerman (the Hispanic victim) made was he neglected to double tap the nigra[sic].”

Still another comment on Stormfront was even more vulgar, “I’m thinking ‘Trayvon’ left the house to shoplift, burglarize and vandalize. White Man spotted him; ‘wild nig*er attack’ ensued. White Man was properly armed, as we all should be. negroes complaining that ‘whitey’ didn’t show proper ‘respect’ to the nubian as commanded by the jew$…” wrote one post. The injection of anti-Semitism into the discussion has been a recurring theme among neo-Nazi types. “All of the extended ‘conversation on whether he’s White or not avoids the central issues of negritude and jewi$h propaganda,” wrote another Stormfronter.

California professor Kevin MacDonald, the anti-Semite who runs the white nationalist journal, The Occidental Quarterly, and directs the American Third Position party, tried to intellectualize the response as an anti-white media conspiracy, “But now the media goes into overdrive pretty much only when the message is that Whites are evil or, as with the election of Obama, that America is at last shedding its White identity (and none too soon). The main source of information in today’s society is the mass media which is controlled by an elite that is hostile to the traditional people and culture of America. Events like this, as seen through the lens of the media, serve to reinforce the current multi-cultural zeitgeist which is based on the premise that White people have no right to assert their interests and identity as Whites except when, as in this case, White identity is linked in the media to unjustified violence against non-Whites or some other evil.”

Many have expressed displeasure at the widespread denunciation of the shooting and the massive multiracial protests that have taken place across the country. Wallace, for instance, tried to cast it as an attention-getting ploy. “This has nothing to do with Trayvon Martin. It has everything to do with the foul mood that the African-American community is in right now,” he wrote.

An article by European Americans United at the Western Voices World News website captured one of the strands of white nationalist commentary, “This is nothing more than a case of a violent thug reacting like a typical, well, violent thug when asked about his presence in a crime plagued neighborhood.”

Others saw the outpouring of sympathy and anger as signs of an impending race war. “Obama, Holder and others in his administration are planning more attacks, or doing everything they can to incite blacks into attacking whites. Then they have their pretext to ban guns, criminalize whites using them for self-defense, or both. Welcome to Black Run Amerika, it’s a Hell on Earth that has been in the making since the 1960’s,” wrote one poster on the American Renaissance website. At Stormfront, another post warned, “Race War is in full effect and White people are being exterminated; itz a kosher mix of daily nonwhite violence with massive dosage of white self-hatred.”

Of course, the race war paranoia and bigoted comments about the shooting aren’t limited to white nationalist websites. These themes have been repeated a multitude of times on right wing websites like and the Fox News website. For instance, over at Fox News, one commenter wrote “to anyone who may not have noticed yet: Democrats, criminally insane enemies of the USA, are trying to stir up the African[sic] community into a Race War[sic] against the USA.”

With each new white nationalist social media screed, Trayvon Martin seems to grow bigger, taller, scarier, and blacker, than before. White nationalists who aren’t celebrating the death of another young black man have been busy deflecting blame in every direction: it’s the media’s fault, it’s multiculturalism’s fault, it’s the Jews, it’s the fault everyone else but the armed vigilante who stalked Martin and pulled the trigger.

Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...

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