Rantz: Seattle CHOP protesters push wild white supremacist conspiracies

Jul 7, 2020, 5:40 PM | Updated: Jul 8, 2020, 6:45 am
chop, white supremacists, crime, protests, arrests...
Seattle police arrest a protester during the clearing of the CHOP. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Whenever CHOP or protest-related violence occurs, activists and politicians repeatedly and preemptively claim white supremacists are involved. They’re quite literally always wrong.

But they hope, at some point, to be right. It doesn’t just validate their myopic worldview. It allows them to forward a belief that they’re perpetual victims of white supremacy, giving them something more concrete to fight. Of course, it’s harder to undo institutional racism because you can’t see it (and, in many cases, progressives are responsible for the institutions). But a literal Nazi? That fight is clear and easy to define.

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There’s been no meaningful white supremacy threat

Despite repeated claims that the CHOP (then CHAZ) was a peaceful, social justice utopia, there was always violence.

From daily fights, attempted rape, arson, and gun violence, the CHOP was never free of violence; it was just free of honest reflection and observation. But acknowledging this reality means activists must grapple with turbulence coming from within their own activist community. But it’s so much easier, and on brand, to claim they’re the victims, not the aggressors.

Some Seattle activists have committed their lives to fighting racism. They’d be out of activist work when the threat diminishes. So, they pretend every waking moment of their activism — of their fight — is under the constant threat of violence. They blame Republicans and President Trump. As it relates to recent protests, they don’t have any examples of legitimate white supremacist threats.

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A recent example of the fraudulent claims

Over the weekend, when a driver drove through a protest, killing one protester and injuring another, Twitter was abuzz with unverified claims that the driver was a white supremacist or alt-right conservative. But the driver, Dawit Kelete, is Black and his politics unknown. When that came out, the accusations vanished or were simply ignored.

One ironically named account, Truth Matters, deleted the claim that “Right-wing extremists” were behind the weekend event. The tweet was deleted and the account blocked me when I pointed it out.

In the grifter world of Never Trumpers, podcaster T. Greg Doucette falsely claimed police “let” the driver pull a “Charlottesville” type attack on protesters. He later defended his baseless claim, but didn’t walk it back.

A new white supremacist theory emerged

In some cases, the revelation that Kelete is Black spawned some rather wild white supremacist conspiracy theories. Seattle Black Collective Voice, a group that claimed some organizing role behind the final moments in CHOP, joined the fray.

CHOP violence

There are plenty of other examples of fictitious white supremacy violence.

Early on, before CHAZ was born, a “white man” drove his car near the protest zone, shooting a man in the arm in the process. That white dude turned out to be Hispanic.

After 19-year-old Lorenzo Anderson was shot and killed, Socialist Councilmember Kshama Sawant blamed white supremacists and Trump. So, too, did others. Those statements were later retracted or ignored when CHOP activists noted an internal fight among activists precipitated the shooting.

When a 16-year-old was shot and killed by CHOP security, the boy was supposedly a white supremacist or white alt-righter driving the car into the zone. He wasn’t. He was Black, as was the 14-year-old in the car at the time.

Using the idea of white supremacists coming to do them harm, many CHOP activists armed themselves. It would appear they used those weapons to shoot at people of color instead of white enemies.

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The curious case of DeJuan Young

DeJuan Maurice Young says he was shot just outside the former CHOP zone by a group of four white supremacists. His story matches the exact talking points CHOP conspiracy theorists have been positing for weeks. How about that?

“So basically I was shot by, I’m not sure if they’re ‘Proud Boys’ or KKK,” Young told KIRO 7 TV. “But the verbiage that they said was hold this ‘N—–’ and shot me.”

He further told KING 5 when he was shot, “the recoil and the surprise pushed me on top of the hood of the vehicle. At that time, he stood over top of me and continued to shoot. And I tried to block myself.”

Though there’s no evidence any of this happened and cops have not provided updates on the case, Young miraculously escaped death despite being shot at close range while being held down on the hood of a car by a group of people. Definitely sounds like a legit story. Glad he’s raised so much money on GoFundMe — not to be confused with a G0FundMe from 2018 where someone with the same name and awfully similar photo was shot.

A shameful strategy

An imminent white supremacist threat doesn’t exist the way some activists will have you believe.

Racism exists, no doubt. And yes, there are some white supremacists in the region. But too many activists overstate the threat to an absurd degree because it helps them position what they’re doing as heroic. Antifa’s entire existence, as an example, is predicated on this fiction that they’re fighting literal white supremacist Nazis. They could be content fighting racist ideas, but you can’t see an idea the same way you can see a white supremacist.

And these activists keep hoping the violence comes from a white supremacist — or even just a white guy — to forward the narrative that they’re under assault. The second they have one white aggressor, they will pretend all the previous violence is connected to it. But their fights, particularly of late, betray their delusion.

Not having enough actual white supremacists to fight (which, by the way, is a good thing since no reasonable person wants a bunch of white supremacists wandering around the country), means these activists create villains to take on. When you call out their violent tendencies or illegal actions, they call you a white supremacist. Bam! They now have another white supremacist they need to fight.

Meanwhile, other activists move on to absurd claims to expose white supremacy where it doesn’t exist. They don’t have many human beings to shine a spotlight on, so they claim statues are examples of white supremacy they must demolish. Mount Rushmore? It’s a symbol of white supremacy now that Trump is in office (though not when Obama was).

When you’re out of enemies, you make them up. And right now, here in Seattle, many activists are making enemies up.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter and Instagram or like me on Facebook

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Rantz: Seattle CHOP protesters push wild white supremacist conspiracies