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Professional Racist Richard Spencer Makes His Money Off Cotton Farms And Black Labor

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Professional Racist Richard Spencer Makes His Money Off Cotton Farms And Black Labor


Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As a professional racist, Richard Spencer’s career and life philosophy rest on a few basic bits of misinformation. The first is the innate supremacy of whiteness: The idea that white people’s superior inventiveness, strength and vision have made them high achievers who earned every bit of their status. The second is that non-white people (around the world, but particularly in the United States) serve only as a burden to white greatness. According to this historically revisionist theory, white people got to the top on their own, while people of color mostly just got in their way.

Spencer has repeated this racist lie many times. Speaking at the National Policy Institute, an innocuously named think tank run by Spencer to promote all things white power, he told an audience giddy over Trump’s election, “[White people] don’t exploit other groups. We don’t gain anything from their presence. They need us and not the other way around.”

He doubled down on those remarks when African-American pundit Roland Martin suggested centuries of free black labor had built America into an economic superpower, a truth Spencer dismissed out of hand. “White people ultimately don’t need other races in order to succeed, in order to be ourselves,” Spencer retorted. “Absolutely not.”

A leading figure of the alt-right movement lost his gym membership recently after a Georgetown University professor confronted him during a workout.
The professor alleged he was a neo-Nazi.
According to Professor C. Christine Fair, the Old Town Sport &Health club terminated Richard Spencer's membership a day after their confrontation.
Fair added that when she confronted him, asking about his identity, he denied being the white nationalist firebrand.
Spencer, who heads the National Policy Institute, has advocated for an ethno-state for white people.
BuzzFeed published Spencer's membership termination letter, but it didn't cite a reason.

Spencer argued America had become a world leader “through the genius of Europeans…it has nothing to do with slavery….White people could have figured out another way to pick cotton….We do it now, we did it previously.”

As Lance Williams, writing at Reveal shows, Spencer’s answer is ridiculous, and not just because American history proves it wrong. Spencer’s own personal history, and that of his family, flies in the face of that illogical conclusion:

Spencer, along with his mother and sister, are absentee landlords of 5,200 acres of cotton and corn fields in an impoverished, largely African American region of Louisiana, according to records examined by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR). The farms, controlled by multiple family-owned businesses, are worth millions: A 1,600-acre parcel sold for $4.3 million in 2012.

The Spencer family’s farms also are subsidized heavily by the federal government. From 2008 through 2015, the Spencers received $2 million in U.S. farm subsidy payments, according to federal data.

The land was originally purchased during the Jim Crow era by Spencer’s maternal grandfather, R.W. Dickenhorst. The northern Louisiana region was a harsh place for black folks to live in the Civil Rights era, with a thriving Ku Klux Klan and a legacy of lynchings and anti-black violence. Dickenhorst, a well-to-do radiologist, grew even richer off his land holdings, thanks to the labor of poor black Louisianans who lived under the constant threat of white terror and were paid almost nothing.

Spencer’s mother, Sherry, inherited the lands when her father died in 2002. Those thousands of acres added lots of money to the Spencers’ coffers, as inherited land holdings have for millions of white Americans. The racial wealth gap currently stands at $13 to $1 for black and white households. The key to that difference is property ownership—the “central vehicle Americans use to store wealth” that is handed down within white families, according to Demos senior policy analyst Catherine Ruetschlin.

The Huffington Post cites a USDA report that states, “of all private U.S. agricultural land, whites account for 96 percent of the owners, 97 percent of the value, and 98 percent of the acres…Blacks possess 7.8 million acres ‘of overall rural land’ …For a century after the end of slavery, black farmers tended to be tenants rather than owners. Since the early 1970s, activists and scholars have warned that the rural black community was in danger of losing its entire land base. Land ownership by black farmers peaked in 1910 at 16-19 million acres, according to the Census of Agriculture. However, the 1997 census reports that black farmers owned only 1.5 million acres ‘of farmable land.'”

The story of white supremacy Spencer peddles, in which wealthy white people like the Spencers got that way by power and pluck, and not institutionalized black economic exploitation, is a myth. White people got a leg up on everyone else because of a system designed to enforce and maintain white power while ensuring black vulnerability and subjugation. Richard Spencer should know this, because he’s a case in point.

The finances of NPI, Spencer’s “up with white people” organization, are unclear because it “hasn’t filed a public report since 2013,” according to reporting by Reveal’s Al Letson. (The organization was stripped of its nonprofit standing by the IRS just this March.) Spencer dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Duke University to run his white power club, and has had no other identifiable paid work before or since. While donations are likely up from racists and Trump supporters around the country, family money has likely been hugely important to keeping Spencer and NPI afloat.

When confronted about the land parcel during the Reveal podcast, Spencer refused to answer Letson’s questions about how much of those cotton-fueled profits have been filtered into his white power organizing machine. He also countered that he is “not involved in any direct day-to-day running of the business,” which is a moot point. Spencer later stated he is “proud of [what] my grandfather…built” and—without admitting that the Spencer story invalidates the lie of white American exceptionalism—copped to having gotten a boost from black labor.

“We’ve all benefited from white privilege,” Spencer says in the recording. “I want my children to have white privilege.”

What Spencer really wants is a future in which his children and other white people don’t have to compete for a country and power he believes they are entitled to by race. White supremacist ideology is precarious and insecure because it’s constructed out of lies. That’s why black literacy was illegal for centuries, and why white racists—including Steve Bannon—want Trump to impose laws that stop nonwhite immigrants from taking over Silicon Valley today. White people have always needed to exploit other races to get ahead, and they still do. Ask some of those white California farmers who didn’t realize they voted to keep their own Mexican farmworkers out of the country.

What Spencer is really offering his followers is a delusion of white superiority and a fable about coming white marginalization. They’ll buy it, because it fits their victim narrative and sense of entitlement, while soothing their insecurity about white extraordinariness. In that way, Spencer and Donald Trump have the same racist hustle.

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.



  1. Non Whites are privileged to live in White majority nations because Whites build the more desirable societies.

    1. JPHALL June 4, 2017

      Historically untrue. These supposed desirability societies did not exist for Whites before the Renaissance. Before that the existed in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Up till that time the Greeks and Romans were not considered Europeans.

    2. Independent1 June 4, 2017

      And you make that moronic comment based on what facts? And by what measures did you come up with the expression ‘the more desirable societies’? What is that supposed to mean? Desirable to whom? And based on what? Your demented perception of what constitutes a ‘desirable society’?

    3. Yeah sorry about the tiny genitals though.

    4. A. D. Reed June 5, 2017

      What is a “white” person? In years past Spaniards and Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese (and all other Asians), Arabs and Jews and Greeks and Italians and, of course, Africans, were not considered “white” by self-described “white” peoples. And in Britain, Celts and Irish were considered not white enough to rule.

      In fact, the only people who might be technically considered “white” by virtue of being Caucasians and Aryans are … sit down — Armenians and Iranians.

      Go, White Ayatollah!

      1. idamag June 5, 2017

        That jerkwater is a detriment to civilized society.

    5. The lucky one June 5, 2017

      Really? Presumably you are white (or at least think you are). In what way have you contributed to building a desirable society?

    6. marriea June 5, 2017

      According to whom?
      They are good at selling their products aren’t they?

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth June 4, 2017

    Spencer’s delusion is not an abnormality or some atypical aberration out of the blue. What Spencer represents is a distortion of the human spirit, which itself is a result of a profoundly disturbing trend based on a philosophy completely devoid of spirituality.
    This void we’ve seen develop over the past centuries in one region of the world—and that happens to be Europe.

    As I’ve endeavored to point out on numerous occasions, and have undoubtedly faltered many times in trying to express a point, there is something unique about this region of the globe where a segment of the world-wide human family happened to have migrated out of Africa and settled in Europe. A route taken which could have forced humans to remain in the equatorial ban had the Ice Age not ended when it did, and the glaciers not receded.

    I’ve been thinking and wondering since 1st grade the reason for the necessity of separation of races; while in the 1st grade, in Jackson, Miss. we had the imposition of Jim Crow laws intended to keep people separate based on an artificiality called race, which itself is predicated on the mythical notion that “race” is a biological quality, encoded in our DNA on some gene, or set of genes, encoded somewhere on some chromosome(s) in that DNA. Needless to say, no such evidence has been determined that such a “race” gene exists.

    Richard Spencer is just one of many new iterations of those “Africans” whose immediate ancestry goes back to Europe. Although prejudice according to skin color exists in remote areas like Myanmar, where lighter-skinned elements there are predominantly Buddhist are engaged in near genocidal policies against darker-skinned Rohingya who are mostly Muslims who long ago had migrated into what was then called Burma from Bangladesh. In India, skin color is a powerful social arbiter in determining place in society and what tasks one’s family are relegated to, even though the difference in skin color is minimum—in many cases an “untouchable” is indistinguishable from a higher caste person. The giveaway is the “untouchables” family lineage, which at some point in the dim past, some clerics in Hindu society had decided that for the sake of organizing society, different tasks and therefore different stations in life had to be determined— human insistence on hierarchy. This caste system was more convenient to maintain by assigning a highly visible quantity—skin color—to help with readily identifying who would perform which task. Why skin color should be graded according to lighter skin being superior to darker skin is a mystery yet to be fully understood and adequately explained. What we do know is that the German materialist philosopher, Kierkegaard, who was an atheist by the way, saw the merits in separating people the way India’s so-called body of arbiters on hierarchy, and collectively referred to as “Manu” had chosen to determine hierarchy in Indian society. Kierkegaard was effusive in his praise according to a Penguin publication, “The Laws of Manu”. Whether this “Manu” collective influenced Kierkegaard and his contemporaries, many of whom would go on to formulate racialist philosophies, I have yet to determine.

    But, racialism as a philosophy and policy, is best formulated and systematically implemented world-wide by those who are related most closely to the early “European” influences.

    I’m trying to paint a picture for you, but the topic and theme is very complex and hard to sum up in a few words—or even in a book.

    My point I suppose, is that racism, as expressed by Richard Spencer and others who look like him, didn’t just happen overnight out of the blue without context. There is lots of linkage, human frailties, misconceptions based on such, and just plain ignorance of what really characterizes a “human being”.

    And to what definitive and unbiased source are we to turn to for that answer? Are we assured of an answer via a philosophy that relies on reliance on the individual alone to contrive an answer? Are we as well to depend on a law, or some intelligent human intellectual who is born and raised in the same atmosphere that has led to the desire to differentiate people by outer qualities and one’s sign of her/his degree of some relative term called “intelligence”?

    Or should we look to a Source that transcends our limited understanding—a Source that admits no differentiating of the human being based on skin color and/or cultural and technological degree of development”

    This latter standard, we call Religion. While the former standard, based on man-made law and philosophies derived from flawed individuals, has a variety of names, like “existentialism”, “individualism”, “exceptionalism”, caste difference, or just plain old “Use your own judgement”.

    The latter standard appears highly suspect, is nebulous at best or at least is subject to a variety of interpretations with each interpretation claiming to be better than another’s interpretation.

    Racialism, Racism, and the Richard Spencer’s of America, and racialists elsewhere, can and will only be extirpated and neutered only via an outside Agency. And that Agency is an extension and latest iteration of what is called “Progressive Revelation”, and goes by the name of “The Baha’i Faith”, whose Author is Baha’u’llah, and who affirms that all the Religions are One; that God is One; and that Humanity is One.

    Three “Onenesses”, that both affirm, paradoxically, the notion of “Oneness”, but at the same time, Baha’u’llah confirms, also must allow on the surface, a diversity and multiplicity in that Oneness.

    If anyone can offer a solution to Richard Spencer, aside from a traumatic yet temporary fix, or a way to eliminate the seeds of notions of “racial superiority”, and totally resolves divisiveness among human beings by laws and/or clever philosophies, I would dearly love to hear such proposal(s).

    Please inform me of any alternatives besides what the following encapsulates about humanity:

    “O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.”

    This, to me and others around the world, contains the secret to resolving the odious and pernicious influences of those “Africans” such as Richard Spencer who insist on thinking of themselves as superior by virtue of their skin color and technological innovations.

    Imagine the irony—An “African” has his skin color altered by environmental necessity, imposed be migrating to colder climes at high latitudes, and thinks himself all of a sudden a totally distinct human being, because he was able by virtue of social advantages conferred by wayof cultural differences shaped by fortuitous agricultural/ecological/environmental occurrences!!!

    1. Helengfrizzell June 5, 2017

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj168d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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    2. The lucky one June 5, 2017

      “Nietzsche, who was an atheist by the way, saw the merits in separating people the way India’s so-called body of arbiters on hierarchy, and collectively referred to as “Manu” had chosen to determine hierarchy in Indian society. Nietzsche was effusive in his praise cited in a Penguin publication, “The Laws of Manu”.”

      I think your interpretation is being used out of context. My understanding is that Nietzsche’s “praise” of Manu was actually by way of contrast with Christianity. He thought that the caste laws of Manu were more humane than those of Christianity which he felt was itself based on slave morality but he did not endorse the laws of Manu. I have read a fair amount of Nietzsche’s work and have never come across anything where he advocates assigning a person to a class based on skin color or ethnicity. If you have knowledge of such please enlighten me. He was an elitist but it was based on what he termed an “aristocracy of the spirit” not one based on lineage.

      BTW the fact that he was an atheist is immaterial to the discussion. In fact it’s comparable to the common right wing tactic of dismissing someone’s argument by labeling them a “liberal”.

  3. marriea June 5, 2017

    When any person has to go out of their way to prove that they are ‘great’, it makes me believe that they don’t in reality believe they are as great as they try to convince the world and themselves that they are.
    A person who is good or great let it be shown in the good things they do and how they make others feel.
    Only a weak, little, small man or person needs to get on top of the mountain side and shout to the world ‘Hey world, see how smart I am, see how ‘great I am’
    Only a very small man indeed has to point out his ‘greatness.’
    Spencer words and actions are an indication that he considers himself to be insignificant.
    One of these days Mr. Spencer will die, as we all will have to face that fate someday.
    In the annals of history, I doubt that Mr. Spencer will even rate a footnote.
    What a waste of humanity.
    To bad, so sad.

    1. idamag June 5, 2017

      He will go down in the annuls of history as someone who should have been aborted.

      1. marriea June 5, 2017

        Or missed all all together.
        Too bad his parents his didn’t wait about 5 minutes.

  4. rhetoric_phobic June 5, 2017

    I hope Spencer gets to be buried on the family land sooner than later. What a waste of humanity. Thank the republican party for turning over the rocks and letting them loose.

  5. tmiker June 5, 2017

    Mr. Spencer, indeed all americans should do some reading about the history of this country at the time of its founding and the century thereafter. It will leave no doubt in the mind of any person capable of acknowledging the truth that this country was founded by white men for white men – specifically, white anglo-saxon Protestant men of property. Although the possession of property qualification to vote was amended many times throughout the various states, the one qualification which stood inviolable until after the civil war (with very few exceptions) was that only white males could vote. Black people were slaves, Native Americans were being pushed west, that is out of the states and either killed or put onto reservations, asians were not allowed to vote and of course women wouldn’t get the right to vote until 1920. White men controlled access to political office and along with that access to education. For the most part the above mentioned minorities and of course women were not allowed in american universities. Should it come as any surprise that positions of power in politics, the professions, commerce and all elements of “nation building” were occupied by white men. Need I go into the long term ramifications of that racial and gender discrimination?
    I suggest Mr Spencer read, not that it will make any difference, The Right to Vote – The Contested History of Democracy in the United States by Alexander Keyssar and Charles A Beard’s An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. These two studies explain why this country was developed by white men on the backs of everyone else and the ugly, indelible moral stain left on us that will remain until long after men like Mr. Spencer are gone.

  6. idamag June 5, 2017

    Racism is a cancer on our society and should be zapped and destroyed. If the only thing you can feel good about is the amount of melanin in your skin, then you are pretty worthless.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker June 5, 2017

    I laugh and laugh when I see Trump and his pasty faced wussy boys on parade around his desk or in his favorite camera hog photo ops. They have as much dick power as their middle eastern eunochs whose only job is to keep women in the casbahs in line.

    More and more women are fed up and enraged by the Good Ole Boys network with their double standards. He yells and he is Mr. Powerful. She yells and she is a harpy or harridan.

    He works at a desk and he’s Mr. CEO. She works at a desk and he call her HIS secretary. He just doesn’t mind that she pays the same taxes as HE does.

    What these men and Trump don’t admit is they suffer from VAGINA ENVY. Why? Simple. Women can do the one thing NO man ever can: bring a child into the world after 18 hours of excruciating pain and REAL LABOR.

    So their only recourse is to hide this VAGINA ENVY b always belittleling women, smearing their reputations so they look like the sluts these boys wish they could “do,”
    and when it comes to rape and sexually molesting women, that’s the ONLY time race has no role.

  8. johninPCFL June 5, 2017

    No real surprize that “Plantation Massa” Spencer doesn’t see the hypocrisy of his view. It was drummed into him as a child and he’s never seen any reason to question it.

  9. dpaano June 5, 2017

    White supremacists are all just hypocrites!

  10. dpaano June 5, 2017

    White supremacists are all just hypocrites!

  11. Dan June 5, 2017



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