I write concerning your book “Sure, I will be your Black Friend” and the contents thereof that resemble the thoughts of a short Austrian man who was dictator of Germany during the 1930s to 40s. This is a call for repentance and an appeal to conscience, if such a thing is in your possession. To outline to you the error of your folly.
In the Los Angeles Times you admit that the writing came from a place of anger, an emotion that brings out true primal sentiments that individuals hold. “I want to put readers in the shoes of a very specific Black friend. The cover of the book has this shapeless outline of a Black friend, but I hope by the end you have that shape filled in. It’s me, born in Haiti, raised in Canada. I’m in academia and the arts and I’m still trying to figure everything out, and I can be very moody and very angry at times.”
You wish readers to fill in the shape of a moody and angry individual? For what purpose? You continually mention anger and then say “I genuinely believe good wins out in the end, because good is more sustainable”, but what is this good you speak of? Your “logical conclusion” being identical with the “final solution” is one of the vilest things I have had the displeasure of reading. Your CBC interview and the book contents display a severe detachment from reality.
I would like to help you dissect your own words so as to help you understand yourself. The perversion of the fantasy that should never exist.
“When this race war hits its crescendo, I’ll gather you all into a beautifully decorated room under the pretense of unity…. “I’ll give a speech to civility and all the good times we share; I’ll smile as we raise glasses to your good, white health, while the detonator blinks under the table, knowing the exits are locked and the air vents filled with gas.”
Wars are filled with violence many times aimed at individuals who have done nothing deserving to suffer their grisly fate. A race war targets individuals of a certain ethnic group for extermination, it is a war of genocide, there can be no other definition for such an abomination.
Of special concern in this debased fantasy world is the “speech of civility” akin to something that Vlad Țepeș Dracul would do, you see, it is a greater evil to lure people to their death with flattery and lies, to gain their trust, to have them give over their full defences and faith to you. It is worse to savour such slaughter with glee, a smile and wine? You write in first person, indicating personal fantasy rather than hypotheticals that occur in third person writing styles.
Explosives are an especially violent form of attack, gas is cruel and inhuman and was used in NAZI Germany because it was both cheap and cruel. You seem to have gotten carried away because you have locked yourself in the room with those you wish to destroy.
The correct side to be on in a race war is always “neither”. At no point should any person fantasise about their side ending victorious in a race war because the result as stated previously is genocide. Let me share some stories with you as the descendant of survivors of the Boer Genocide and someone whose religious group was targeted for extermination in Germany.
History is full of people fighting against what despots and psychopaths deemed “the logical conclusion” of their ideologies. When the British were fulfilling “the logical conclusion” of their anti-Boer policies in South Africa, namely the extermination of Boer women and children, it was a British woman called Emily Hobhouse who caused such a hullabaloo that the genocide was finally stopped.
Hans Calmeyer, Oskar Schindler, Karl Plagge, Marie and Emile Taquet, Gertruida Wijsmuller-Meijer were all Germans and Dutch who defied the NAZIs and worked to save people of another “race” at great risk to their own lives in the midst of what Hitler viewed as a “race war”. There are many others but we don’t know their names because the NAZIs executed them when they were caught.
There are many cases of Hutu hiding their Tutsi friends and visa versa, at the risk of certain death during the Rwandan genocide.
All these examples show which side to be on in a “race” war which is merely an ethnocentric war aimed at genocide. Yes, I use race and ethnic group interchangeably because definitions are in a state of flux and because the same result occurs regardless of whether superiority of race or ethnic group or hatred for another race or ethnic group is the motivation.
“I guess I was wrestling with the question that, isn’t the end result of that, all-out warfare? Like, ‘Game of Thrones’-style warfare? and what does that look like? And I lived in that sort of stray thought for a few pages. And it was disturbing to write, too. Because I’m not a violent person, I love all my white friends,”
Dungeons and Dragons and Game of Thrones? This highlights the fantasy more than anything. We have millennia of horrific bloodshed in the real world, the real world is not the Game of Thrones. I find it odd that as a person of Haitian birth that the Parsley Genocide or Haitian Genocide would not come to mind as real world examples, never mind the Armenian Genocide, Cambodian Genocide, Assyrian Genocide and the numerous other genocides in history. Perhaps reading more about the terrible history of genocide will cure you of your fantasy. I also recommend watching less Game of Thrones and playing less Dungeons and Dragons.
I do wonder if you at any point stopped to consider the repercussions of your writing on the black community. Racists of all types will view this as a call to action, white supremacy groups will use it as fuel to justify their depraved ideas leading to violence, black supremacy groups will be emboldened by such ideas being published in mainstream publishing houses once again leading to violence. Your work has provided support and ammunition for some of the most morally deficient ideologies in existence on both sides.
Will you take responsibility for the flames fanned by your rhetoric? In areas of racial tension, the answer is always de-escalation, your writing is like throwing petroleum on smouldering embers. Already extremists have started using your comments as a rallying cry on Social Media. While you make money off your new book, the black community will have to suffer the consequences of something that 99% of them do not support. Please desist from literary parasitism which negatively impacts on the very community you claim to care about.
Academics in positions of influence should not hold views of racial superiority and prejudice. I do wonder what values you convey to students if the fantasy of genocide is one that is so appealing. Espousing such views while having a duty of care toward students is repulsive.
Recant and repent of this vile world view, replace hatred with compassion. Recall the book before more damage is done.
To others reading this letter I strongly urge you not to take the bait. Never judge or form views of others based on monolithic ethnic stereotypes, do not allow yourself to become provoked by such evil concepts, always replace evil with good. The answer to ethnic tension is de-escalation and empathy, not flaming the fans of hatred.
Once again I say, recant, repent and get some anger management therapy.
Alaric Naudé is a professor specialising in education, linguistics and social science. He is widely recognised as having a great face for radio.