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DezNat (Deseret Nation) = White Nationalism? - Part 2


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"DezNat are White Nationalist!" is just another form of "anyone I disagree with is a racist."

"Progress" and "tolerance" are the new civil religion.  We've spent decades telling people that if they sing along with a rap song that uses the N-word, they are the same as David Duke.  Are we at all surprised that today's youth are rebelling against this extreme moral panic?  And how do they rebel?  They use words and say things that they know will cause adults to clutch pearls and cry: Muh Racism!

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Just now, Ipod Touch said:

"DezNat are White Nationalist!" is just another form of "anyone I disagree with is a racist."

"Progress" and "tolerance" are the new civil religion.  We've spent decades telling people that if they sing along with a rap song that uses the N-word, they are the same as David Duke.  Are we at all surprised that today's youth are rebelling against this extreme moral panic?  And how do they rebel?  They use words and say things that they know will cause adults to clutch pearls and cry: Muh Racism!

How do we tell the difference between dumb kids being immature (as you describe it) and dumb kids being immature that are actually racist?

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1 minute ago, Ipod Touch said:

"DezNat are White Nationalist!" is just another form of "anyone I disagree with is a racist."

In a sense, you are correct.  "Racism" is sometimes misappropriated and weaponized to illegitimately stigmatize and shame into silence.

That said, what are your thoughts about the problematic use of DezNat?  The "N" word acrostic used against Kwaku, for example?

DezNat is sort of like the swastika.  Whatever it started out has has been subordinated and overcome by a very negative perception, perhaps one that is impossible to overcome.

1 minute ago, Ipod Touch said:

"Progress" and "tolerance" are the new civil religion. 

These are fine ideals, but they can be misappropriated (as can most things).

1 minute ago, Ipod Touch said:

We've spent decades telling people that if they sing along with a rap song that uses the N-word, they are the same as David Duke. 

I think sooner or later we will come to terms with the inconsistency/hypocrisy/racism associated with the N-word.  Meanwhile, I think it is incumbent upon us to not be tossed to and fro by incoherent social trends, and instead look to the Restored Gospel.  I cannot think of any legitimate use or the N-word by a Latter-day Saint.

1 minute ago, Ipod Touch said:

Are we at all surprised that today's youth are rebelling against this extreme moral panic?  And how do they rebel?  They use words and say things that they know will cause adults to clutch pearls and cry: Muh Racism!

Kwaku reacted that way, too.  Was he clutching his pearls?

Thanks,

-Smac

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Just now, bluebell said:

How do we tell the difference between dumb kids being immature (as you describe it) and dumb kids being immature that are actually racist?

I'm not sure it matters.   People believe all sorts of stupid stuff.  Especially when they are young. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

That said, what are your thoughts about the problematic use of DezNat?  The "N" word acrostic used against Kwaku, for example?

It is unquestionably morally wrong. As President Hinckley stated many years ago, any racist man is unworthy of the priesthood.  If these were my kids, they would get a big pop in the mouth.  If I were their Bishop, I would make it clear that racism makes them unworthy of temple worship etc...

8 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Meanwhile, I think it is incumbent upon us to not be tossed to and fro by incoherent social trends, and instead look to the Restored Gospel.  I cannot think of any legitimate use or the N-word by a Latter-day Saint.

I agree with this.  There is no legitimate use of the N-word by a Latter-day Saint, or anyone else.

Having said that, I don't think someone who uses the word (especially when young, stupid, and "edgy") is a budding Klan member. 

11 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Kwaku reacted that way, too.  Was he clutching his pearls?

I don't think so.

I consider "clutching pearls" as reading comments from some DezNat twitter user and concluding that DezNat is about to usher in a white mormon ethnostate theocracy.

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2 minutes ago, rongo said:

Am I wrong in thinking that the line has shifted with swearing and crudity, to where a different standard is accepted or tolerated by even "upstanding" people (compared to years past)?

I have observed this as well. 

3 minutes ago, rongo said:

think a big part of the problem with the DezNat and Kwaku-style social media personalities is a) their lack of a filter (even when they're aware that the boomers feel they need to be more careful, they see that as . . . boomerism) and b) their lack of long-term cause-and-effect thinking.

Great observation.  And I think it applies to all sorts of social media users.

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4 minutes ago, rongo said:

I don't know that we really can. The lines are really blurred between racist language and "okay" racist language (because it's used by that race, people who are woke, or whatever). I think the larger issue being exposed is bigger than racism (it encompasses racism within it), and that is the slide of crudity and crassness in LDS culture. 

Am I wrong in thinking that the line has shifted with swearing and crudity, to where a different standard is accepted or tolerated by even "upstanding" people (compared to years past)? Looking at movies that "mainstream" church members are okay with, for example, compared with what members would have thought 20-30 years ago. Or music. 

I think a big part of the problem with the DezNat and Kwaku-style social media personalities is a) their lack of a filter (even when they're aware that the boomers feel they need to be more careful, they see that as . . . boomerism) and b) their lack of long-term cause-and-effect thinking. This reflects youth and young adults in general, but racist language, crude jokes, outrageousness for effect, etc. are part and parcel what people are reacting negatively to. While they feel they are "just keeping it real," but they are ineffective communicators except within their own echo chamber communities. 

The bold is a big issue for those who are sincere in wanting to defend the gospel and the church.  

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5 minutes ago, Ipod Touch said:

It is unquestionably morally wrong. As President Hinckley stated many years ago, any racist man is unworthy of the priesthood.  If these were my kids, they would get a big pop in the mouth.  If I were their Bishop, I would make it clear that racism makes them unworthy of temple worship etc...

I agree with this.  There is no legitimate use of the N-word by a Latter-day Saint, or anyone else.

Having said that, I don't think someone who uses the word (especially when young, stupid, and "edgy") is a budding Klan member. 

I don't think so.

I consider "clutching pearls" as reading comments from some DezNat twitter user and concluding that DezNat is about to usher in a white mormon ethnostate theocracy.

Fair points, these.

Thanks,

-Smac

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Anytime someone says or writes " N-word " or for that matter " F-word " my mind tries to stifle the actual word but rarely succeeds .It is kind of like using the word " shoot" or the word " freaking " . Does it somehow make us " better " ? 

Edited by strappinglad
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2 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

Anytime someone says or writes " N-word " or for that matter " F-word " my mind tries to stifle the actual word but rarely succeeds .It is kind of like using the word " shoot" or the word " freaking " . Does it somehow make us " better " ? 

Well, maybe.

I had some experiences as a child that made cussing pretty repellant.  When I went into the Army, I remember having to make the conscious choice to not swear, since it was an integral part of the daily lexicon around me.  Then I went on a mission, and not swearing was the easiest thing in the world.  Then I married a wonderful, gentle, and genteel woman who has never sworn in her life.  This progression has helped me with not developing a swearing habit.

Nevertheless, I will admit to saying "shoot" or "crap" when I stub my toe or encounter a big frustration.  I do try to avoid such things, though.

Also, on my mission in Taiwan I quickly learned a term that I found hilarious:

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糟糕 (zāogāo)

"terrible"

⇒ 真糟糕,我的钥匙丢了。 (Zhēn zāogāo, wǒ de yàoshi diū le.) Oh no, I've lost my key!
⇒ 糟糕,庄稼给毁了。 (Zāogāo, zhuāngjia gěi huǐ le.) How awful! The crops have been ruined.

This word was often used as exclamation, and with gusto, by missionaries.  For stubbed toe, a missed appointment, a dropped plate, you name it.

Then I found out what it literally means:

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糟糕! (zao1gao1, Literal English translation: “messy cake”)

I thought that was hilarious.  It's meaning is innocuous and it's a fun to say.  The "z" is hard, like a "dz" sound.  The "g" is also hard (as in "guard").  The "ao" in both syllables is like the "ow" is "how."  Here's a recording of how to pronounce it (click on the microphone icon under the Chinese characters).

So zāogāo is my go-to exclamation for when I am exasperated or irritated.

Is it better than, say, dropping an f-bomb?  Yes.  Clearly yes.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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6 minutes ago, strappinglad said:

In my mission the gentle swear word was " dross " from the BoM. It covered a world of " sinning words " .😄

In my family we have become big fans of Disney's The Mandalorian series.  It includes a "Star Wars" universe cuss: "Dank ferrik!"

I'm also reminded of Battlestar Galactica's constant use of "Frack!", which was clearly that culture's F-bomb.  

Zao Gao! is looking better all the time.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

A little over a year ago I started a thread to inquire whether "DezNat" is a white nationalist organization (or informal group): DezNat (Deseret Nation) = White Nationalism?

In this thread some have started to re-visit this issue.  Here's what I have found so far:

A. Clearly Racist Tweets

"Nofear" has posted links to Kwaku (see here: https://tinyurl.com/y23lggyt), a young black member of the Church, stating on Twitter that he "hates DezNat."  This is in response to a Tweet from a fellow ("Robert") with a Twitter handle, "@MormonLibsLMAO" (the account has been suspended) using the "N" word to describe Kwaku.  Others apparently joined in.  Here are the images from Kwaku's post:

EgC1g6SUwAAx2kC?format=jpg&name=largeEgC1g2mVAAAmoKt?format=jpg&name=large

I am not very familiar with Twitter, but it seems pretty obvious that someone ("@Kavitiko") criticized Robert's use of the "N" word ("Dude, just because you don't know how to spell the word doesn't make it less offensive"), and immediately (based on the timestamps) a number of other posters responded by spelling out the "N" word one letter at a time.  These others, listed in the above image on the right side included:

I'm noting this because it seems to be the first clearcut example I have seen of an association between the "DezNat" hashtag and actual racism (I don't know how else to characterize the above images).

B. Hanna Seriac "Denounced" DezNat?

I just came across this post by a "Perry Ekimae" from August 2020, in which the author states that he had spoken with Hanna Seriac, who "has denounced the DezNat movement."  Again, this seems like evidence (diluted, anyway) that there is a real problem with DezNat (since otherwise there wouldn't seem to be a need for Hanna to denounce it).

C. Teancum's Javelin - Group Blog Founded by Creator of DezNat Hashtag - Condemns Racism

I also just found this websiteTeancum's Javelin (apparently a group blog), which was apparently created by JP Bellum, the fellow who created the DezNat hashtag. 

I cannot characterize this blog as "racist."  Right-wing?  Sure.  Heavily political?  You bet.  But advocating or justifying racism?  I see no evidence of that.

At this link Bellum states: "#DezNat is not a movement, it is not political (especially not alt-right), racial, national, or sexual. It is simply a hashtag used by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are unapologetic about their belief in the restored Gospel, Christ as our Savior, Joseph Smith as the prophet of the Restoration, and Russell M Nelson as God’s current prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth today."  He also states: "#DezNat may not be to everyone’s taste. Those who use the hashtag can be combative, rude, crass, aggressive, even mean."  Well, yes.  These behaviors ("combative, rude, crass, aggressive, even mean"), particularly when they are calculated rather than heat-of-the-moment expressions of pique or frustration, are inappropriate and wrong.  I don't think we should be winking at or excusing these things.

Nevertheless, I don't see "racism" in the posts on this blog.  For example, elsewhere on the above website a blog contributor, Ezra Cole, quotes Pres. Oaks' October 2020 General Conference comments about how "{k}nowing that we are all children of God gives us a divine vision of the worth of all others and the will and ability to rise above prejudice and racism."

Another contributor has this to say:

And another has this to say:

And another:

And another:

I did not see anything on this website that could reasonably be construed as promoting racism.  Instead, what references to racism I did find were condemnatory of it.

D. Medium Article Re: DezNat

This Medium article from March 2020 is very critical of DezNat.  However, most of the links are dead, so we're left to mostly take the author's word for it re: charges of racism (there are some screen caps at the bottom of the article, but the context is mostly missing, and the connection to "DezNat" is iffy).

E. Wheat and Tares Article Re: DezNat

This Wheat and Tares article from August 2020 is a long tome about "right wing ideologies," including quite a bit about DezNat.  The author (somewhat tenuously) links "DezNat" with "Deseret Nationalists" and "Vanguard Utah," which are apparently the genuine article (actual white nationalists). 

This article is well-researched and well-written, but in the main it seems to corroborate my assessment of DezNat, namely, that it's a hashtag being used by various groups and individuals, some of whom are actually and truly "racist" (and, therefore, are disregarding the clear counsel of the leaders of the Church), and some who are clearly not (see Teancum's Javelin above).  

F. My Thoughts

So here are my thoughts to get the ball rolling:

  1. Back when I started the first thread about DezNat it did not seem to be a thing.  I think that has changed.
  2. As noted above, it does not appear that DezNat is an organization, but rather a hashtag.  But because hashtags cannot be copyrighted or controlled, they can be appropriated by anyone.  And based on my admittedly preliminary investigation/research, it appears that some genuine racists are using it.
  3. It appears that there are people who are not racist who have used or are using the hashtag. 
  4. It appears that the hashtag has been "tainted" as being expressive or supportive of racism.  It apparently did not start out that way, and is not universally intended to express that idea, but the casual reader will not know this.  Many (most?) of them will see #DezNat and immediately associate it with the appropriation/misappropriation of the hashtag by overt racists.  And not just because the overt racists use the hashtag.  People are apparently using the hashtag in conjunction with expressions described by its creator ("combative, rude, crass, aggressive, even mean").  When that happens, it doesn't take much to continue the negative perception to include things like "racist" and "sexist."  And though such perceptions are not entirely correct, their not entirely incorrect, either (as evidenced by the individuals who used the "N" word against Kwaku).
  5. Based on what I have read so for, it seems that expressions of racism and sexism/misogyny are likely the most serious negative aspects of the use of the #DezNat hashtag.  Nevertheless, the "combative, rude, crass, aggressive, even mean" expressions are also quite serious, also foment ill will, and are also out of harmony with the teachings of the Church.  
  6. I am reminded of the swastika, which was originally a benign religious icon that was appropriated by the Nazis, such that it now overwhelmingly carries connotations of great evil.  Similarly, whatever #DezNat started out as, it has since been misappropriated and corrupted.   And since it is newly-minted and has no revelatory provenance, I think it should be abandoned and rejected by the Latter-day Saints.
  7. As Latter-day Saints, if and when we see expressions of racism by members of the Church, we should speak against such things (and, obviously, refrain from expressing or harboring such sentiments ourselves).  We should speak with patience and charity, but also with clarity and firmness.  The Brethren have done a very good job at this, particularly in this last General Conference.  We now need to apply their counsel in our day-to-day lives.
  8. We should also avoid using charges of "racism" as a nearly one-size-fits-all retort to sociopolitical disagreement.  I think there is some real frustration amongst white people who face frequent and baseless accusations of racism by strangers.  Ironically, such accusations are often based solely on white people being white, which is itself a noxious expression of racism.

Anyway, that's all I have have for now.  Thoughts?

Thanks,

-Smac

I carefully examined the Twitter link you provided and there’s nothing there that indicates Kwaku himself had anything negative to say about the Deznats. To be clear, there is someone on there who had something negative to say who goes by the screen name of Kavitiko, but Kavitiko and Kwaku are two different people (since both of these names start with a K and have a second K it’s easy to see why Nofrear made an understandable mistake). 

Edited by teddyaware
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18 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

I carefully examined the Twitter link you provided and there’s nothing there that indicates Kwaku himself had anything negative to say about the Deznats.

Kwaku posting "i hate #deznat" on Twitter is not "negative?"

Quote

To be clear, there is someone on there who had something negative to say who goes by the screen name of Kavitiko, but Kavitiko and Kwaku are two different people (since both of these names start with a K and have a second K it’s easy to see why Nofrear made an understandable mistake). 

Actually, Kavitiko was critizing the use of the N-word.

As for Kwaku himself, look again:

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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7 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Kwaku posting "i hate #deznat" on Twitter is not "negative?"

Actually, Kavitiko was critizing the use of the N-word.

As for Kwaku himself, look again:

Thanks,

-Smac

Are you saying Kwaku had something negative to say? It seems to me that Kwaku was involved in friendly banter with a friend of his whom he couldn’t wait to see.

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12 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

Are you saying Kwaku had something negative to say?

About DezNat?  About people who invoke that hashtag while calling him the N-word?

Yes, I characterize that as "something negative to say."

12 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

It seems to me that Kwaku was involved in friendly banter with a friend of his whom he couldn’t wait to see.

Well, that's a take I can not considered.  So what evidence do you have of it?

Thanks,

-Smac

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Just now, smac97 said:

About DezNat?  About people who invoke that hashtag while calling him the N-word?

Yes, I characterize that as "something negative to say."

Well, that's a take I can not considered.  So what evidence do you have of it?

Thanks,

-Smac 

I must be missing something. What negative thing about the Deznats did Kwaku say? I’m mystified because I know Kwaku self-identifies as a Deznat.

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7 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

I must be missing something. What negative thing about the Deznats did Kwaku say? I’m mystified because I know Kwaku self-identifies as a Deznat.

I must be missing something too.

Kwaku said "i hate deznat" and pointed to instances of users of the hashtag calling him the N-word.  This seems like res ipsa loquitur ("the thing speaks for itself").

Thanks,

-Smac

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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

About DezNat?  About people who invoke that hashtag while calling him the N-word?

Yes, I characterize that as "something negative to say."

Well, that's a take I can not considered.  So what evidence do you have of it?

Thanks,

-Smac

Before I show you the evidence (which will, without question, prove I’m correct), will you kindly cut and paste (or type) the negative comment Kwaku said because I’ve tried several times but can’t find it? I’m being genuine and sincere when I say I can’t find what you’re talking about.

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25 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I must be missing something too.

Kwaku said "i hate deznat" and pointed to instances of users of the hashtag calling him the N-word.  This seems like res ipsa loquitur ("the thing speaks for itself").

Thanks,

-Smac

Here’s a very recent video wherein Kwaku, among others, identifies as a Desnat. Kwaku is notorious for being an outrageous wisecracker and I think it’s likely his “I hate Deznat” was tongue-in-cheek.

Edited by teddyaware
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