April 8, 2021

Review: Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism

Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism by Seyward Darby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an important, disturbing read, chronicling as it does three white American women who get caught up in (and in some cases, throw themselves wholeheartedly into) the white nationalist movement. The first women profiled, Corinna, eventually manages to break free; the other two, Ayla and Lana, are (presumably) still there, spouting their white supremacist nonsense. What's most disturbing about the book is how mundane and in many ways normal their lives are...at least until they turn around and say something like this:

"I would love to be able to just do things around the house and feed my other creative interests and spend time with children," she [Lana] remarked. "But that's not the times that we live in, because now we're all called to say something against....this anti-white system that wants to come after our children, that wants to destroy their future."

And I'm thinking, are you kidding me? How can you believe this bullshit?

That's the power of this book, because it shows how people can be hoodwinked into believing it. A lot of it has to do with wanting to belong, finding their tribe--or what they think is their tribe--and the support they get therein, at least as long as they toe the line. Corinna, the first woman profiled, doesn't really manage to break free until she finds another community to give her what she received from the white nationalist movement--which she does when, ironically enough, she converts to Islam. The other women make various journeys to get to the dark places of white nationalism they eventually inhabit, including mommy blogging and converting to Mormonism. It's interesting to see how they twist themselves into pretzels to justify their repulsive views, in the sense of "interesting" that involves staring and shaking one's head at a train wreck.

This isn't a comfortable book to read, but in an America still infested with the aftereffects of Trumpism, it is a necessary one.

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