Image by Tak Toyoshima
I am a Boston transplant, originally from China, with a master’s degree in multimedia journalism from Emerson College. I mostly cover local news and community stories for the Somerville Times and social issues for Spare Change News. Outside of that, I have been fascinated with fringe groups since watching Lisa Ling’s 2006 documentary on MS-13, World’s Most Dangerous Gang, and so I gravitated to news that a white pride group was trolling Boston University professor Saida Grundy.
This all started months ago with a series of exchanges on Twitter that led to Grundy making her account private. In March, she tweeted, “[W]hy is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?” Another time, she wrote, to the consternation of countless white folks, “deal with your white sh*t, white people. Slavery is a ‘YALL’ thing.”
In May, Associated Press reporter Philip Marcelo published a statement from Grundy: “I regret that my personal passion about issues surrounding these events led me to speak about them indelicately. I deprived them of the nuance and complexity that such subjects always deserve.” That wasn’t enough for some detractors, namely those with the National Youth Front (NYF), a hate or pride group (depending on whom you ask) which has fanned significant backlash against the BU African American studies professor. Notably, NYF hung flyers on campus calling for Grundy’s firing and launched a hashtag campaign to boot.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center “Hatewatch” blog, NYF is a newly formed youth wing of the white nationalist American Freedom Party (AFP) and is one of the latest in a growing number of racist organizations recruiting young people on campus. On that tip, I asked Angelo John Gage, the New Jersey-based chair of NYF, for his contact information on Twitter, and surprisingly received a response. I had a journalistic itch to scratch, and as a result secured a conversation with a white supremacist to share with readers.
Angelo John Gage talks up the NYF on YouTube
Gage is a 31-year-old Italian American who was born in Italy, came to the United States at the age of two, and later served in the Marine Corps for four years. In our correspondence, he was defensive about his organization being connected to the national AFP, but claimed that his group does in fact work “with the AFP to accomplish our mutual cause.”
“I have never been involved in any ‘white supremacist’ group such as KKK, neo-Nazis, skinheads or whatever else,” Gage wrote. “That is why we founded the NYF, which is not like any other groups, being that it is a non-political, non-religious group, for white people who wish to preserve their race, heritage and cultures around the world.”
Grundy’s not the first professor to land squarely in NYF crosshairs. According to a report in the Phoenix New Times, the family of an Arizona State University professor was “targeted” by the group over a “controversial class he’s teaching called U.S. Race Theory and the Problem of Whiteness.” After the course was highlighted by FOX News, the ASU campus flooded with handouts, made by NYF members, labeling the prof as “anti-white.” Gage expounded on his repertoire in our exchange:
We have done activism against Arizona State University, and Appalachian State University for allowing students and teachers to express their anti-white bigotry without consequence. Such colleges who claim to be anti-racist are really just anti-white. In other words, they want to end racism by allowing racism against white people to exist in order to “make things equal,” which to any sane person is absolutely stupid.
As for his collaborative efforts with like-minded social media users to spur the firing of Grundy, Gage explained:
We all know for a fact that if white person said “all black males are a problem population” not only would that teacher get fired, Boston University would be burnt to the ground. We simply are pointing out this hypocrisy and are exposing the anti-white sentiment that has seemed to have gained much traction in our universities across the country.
Grundy should be fired simply because we should not allow bigots in positions where they can influence our students to hate other races. There is no place for racist teachers in the 21st century.
Gage, who has previously run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey (as a candidate for AFP), claims that his group isn’t racist. The notion is apparently similar to how, as Huffington Post recently reported, “the leader of the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan is tired of ‘a few rogue Klansmen’ ruining the group’s reputation, and argues that the group is a non-violent Christian organization.” But while Gage claims NYF is “not about declaring war against our fellow Americans,” his rhetoric can be extreme. In 2013, he claimed in a YouTube video that “white genocide” is underway, the result of “massive uncontrolled third world immigration to white countries only.” (He also blogs for a site called the White Voice about topics like the evils of synthetic sweeteners and why womanizing—which he claims to have been a past master at, aided by his “good looks”—is bad for you.)
In our email interview, Gage wrote that he currently lives in a home that he bought. “I am focusing all my efforts right now into NYF full time, without pay, using my own money I have acquired over the years,” he noted, but amended in a separate email, “The donations we received are used for our missions, but no one gets paid to do this, is what I meant to say.” When asked how NYF is going to further realize its mission on campuses across America, Gage suggested that their strategy is classified, but promised “to continue standing up against anti-white bigotry wherever we can.”
In his latest effort at BU, Gage seems increasingly heated. Early this month, after a BU alumni magazine noted in a profile of Cornell William Brooks that the new NAACP president was anonymously sent a box of fried chicken and a bottle of malt liquor, Gage wrote in a blog post that the university, comparatively speaking, “totally ignores the inappropriate and anti-white statements made by one of their own, Saida Grundy.” Gage has also taken to blasting what he categorizes as biased reporting, and asked that I not “twist this interview to fit an anti-white narrative as many have done before.”
Since I had Gage’s attention, I felt compelled to ask him about Dylann Roof, the young man who is charged with the recent shooting of nine black people in a historic African American church in South Carolina. “Dylann Roof is a terrorist who should be executed for his crimes,” Gage wrote. “There is no excuse for his actions. His terrorism against innocent blacks is exactly what the anti-whites need in order to associate all ‘pro-white’ originations [sic] with violence and murder. We are against any type of violence from any side for any reason.”
It’s worth noting that NYF only currently recruits members of European descent. “Every other race already has an interest group,” Gage wrote in an email, adding, “which of course isn’t considered ‘racist’.” About Asian people such as myself, Gage wrote many things that I will not re-print at this time, except that he encouraged other races to “protect their people from the diversity supremacist, for this insanity will eventually affect them as well.” Without a hint of irony, he added, “Asian Americans also face discrimination for actually performing too well in school lol.”