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Racist hate literature was found on cars in Ferndale New Year’s Eve. The fliers, created by a white supremacist group based out of Texas, were met with disdain and disapproval by local community leaders.
“Ferndale is well-known in Metro Detroit as an inclusive and welcoming community, which has directly contributed to the popularity and success of the city overall,” Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter said. “While there’s little chance these hateful messages will resonate with residents and visitors here, I suspect the authors hope to leverage that popularity for attention.”
Julia Music, event chair for the annual Ferndale Pride festival, agreed that the fliers had no place in the city.
“The fliers have not been welcomed by Ferndale residents because as the city has grown, we have strived to be welcoming to all types of people,” she said.
However, despite Ferndale’s vocal policy of tolerance and acceptance, it has received its fair share of hateful messages. Just a few months ago in September, several business owners displaying rainbow flags received hate mail condemning LGBTQ people.
“You have rolled out the red … no, rainbow, carpet for them,” the letter, not signed but postmarked from Houston, Texas, said in part. “THIS IS MADNESS.”
This time, the hate literature, which came from a group affiliated with the website bloodandsoil.org and operating under the name of The Patriot Front, spoke in its “manifesto” of reclaiming America.
“When our European ancestors first came to this savage continent, they had a variety of purpose,” reads one section of the document. “Set against the harsh life on the frontier and the common enemy in the strange, unexplored reaches of America yet to be touched by civilization, they found a common cause and a common identity as Americans. From the varied nations and cultures of Europe a new nation was forged in the flames of conquest. E Pluribus Unum was the new creed that bound our people together with their pan-European identity as Americans. To be an American is to be a descendant of conquerors, pioneers, visionaries, and explorers. This unique identity was given to us by our ancestors, and this national spirit remains firmly rooted in our blood.”
The message, said Music, is disgusting.
“The idea that these flyers, mailers and notices promote of ‘returning’ to a white, heterosexual, cisgender-only country are not only ludicrous but harmful to our ideals of growing a diverse community,” she said, adding that Ferndale’s diversity has made it greatly unpopular among a certain sect. “I believe Ferndale has become a target for these postings because people haven’t taken the time to come to Ferndale, hang out downtown, meet locals and realize that this is a great place to live.”
Music said she could see the group targeting “towns other than Ferndale who also embrace diversity,” adding that she’s sure the city will stand strong in its resolve to be accepting just the same.
“Until more towns across the U.S. embrace LGBT folks, cities like Ferndale will continue to welcome people who feel [like] outcast[s] or just want to live in a place where they can be themselves with open arms.”
And diversity, Coulter said, is nothing to be afraid of.
“The irony is that if they spent time in Ferndale they might become less afraid of what they don’t understand and more open to the benefits a diverse community provides.”