Things That Matter

A Cuban-American Is Behind The Hate Group “The Proud Boys” And POC Have Questions

If you’ve been following the news centered around the rise of the white supremacist movement in America, fueled by Trump’s nativist 2016 campaign, you’re probably familiar with The Proud Boys. The group was founded in the midst of the Trump campaign and describes itself as a “drinking club that stands behind Donald Trump.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated The Proud Boys as a general hate group given the spew of white nationalist, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric from its members.

Last November, a Proud Boy Rally in Portland, Oregon broke out into a full-fledged brawl with Antifa (a left-wing Anti-Fascist group). This week, Portland spent $2 million in security measures to ensure another Proud Boy rally, called “End Domestic Terrorism,” left nobody injured. Shockingly, The Proud Boys is nationally led by Afro-Cubano Enrique Tarrio of Miami, and Latinos have something to say to him.

The Proud Boys’ goal today was to have Antifa declared a domestic terrorist organization.

@AlexiaKapralos / Twitter

While Oregon is already a very white state, due to its black exclusion laws that outlawed POC from settling in the state from 1844 to 1926, its major cities have become a hub for progressives.

The Popular Mobilization movement (Pop Mob) spent the day trying to thwart The Proud Boys’ efforts to demonize the movement by having folks dressed up as poop emojis, hosting a banana costume dance party and more. “Having a conversation is useless. We’re not going to change their minds,” spokesperson Effie Baum said of The Proud Boys. “But we can make sure their videos are filled with poop emojis and a lot of music.”

The entire city’s police force was on the scene, along with FBI, as buses carrying The Proud Boys arrived in Downtown Portland.

@FordFischer / Twitter

While police had closed the Morrison Bridge, the Proud Boys cheered when they learned police gave them the privilege of crossing. Then, the police formed a physical barricade under the bridge to separate The Proud Boys from their counter-protesters. Police confiscated bear spray, shields and metal poles from the groups.

Several stores closed in advance of the protest, including chains like Starbucks and even small businesses. Wildfang, a clothing outlet that prides itself in fashion for queer folks, chose to close shop for the day. “As a small business, this can be a tough decision to make, but the safety of our employees + the community that we serve is always our top priority,” the business wrote on their Instagram. “We love you, Portland. F*ck white supremacy.”

A leaked group chat reveals that the Proud Boys premeditate violence before their rallies.

Untitled. Digital Image. Huffington Post. 17 August 2019.

Huffington Post published leaked messages from a Proud Boys group chat that illustrates the group’s primary goal to inflict violence on their counter-protesters.

Another chat member, Alan Groot, wrote, “If any contact is made with you, that’s assault. If they take your hat, spray you with silly string, spit, push… It’s assault. We need to have all our guys there before we retaliate though if we can. The cops aren’t going to let us fight long. We need to inflict as much damage as possible in the time we have.”

Trump’s tweet calling Antifa an “organization of terror,” satiated The Proud Boys’ mission.

@realdonaldtrump / Twitter

“This smells like a setup, folks,” tweets one woman. “Proud Boys go to Portland to goad #AntiFA into violence so Trump feels justified in labeling the anti-Nazi group as an organization of terror…?”

Joe Biggs, a former InfoWars writer and organizer of today’s neo-Nazi rally, told The Oregonian that “President Trump’s Twitter” gave them what they wanted. “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching Antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”

So, if The Proud Boys self-describe as a drinking club, why are they a hate group?

@QuotesGavin / Twitter

Co-founder of Vice Media and Vice magazine, Gavin McInnes (no longer associated with the outlet) is the founder of The Proud Boys. In 2002, when asked what he thought about his Williamsburg neighborhood, he said, “Well, at least they’re not niggers or Puerto Ricans. At least they’re white.”

Here are just a few of his quotes from his Get Off My Lawn podcast:

It’s such a rape culture with these immigrants, I don’t even think these women see it as rape. They see it as just like having a teeth [sic] pulled. ‘It’s a Monday. I don’t really enjoy it,’ but that’s what you do. I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t have the same trauma as it would for a middle-class white girl in the suburbs because it’s so entrenched into their culture.

Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, June 19, 2018

Maybe the reason I’m sexist is because women are dumb. No, I’m just kidding, ladies. But you do tend to not thrive in certain areas — like writing.

Gavin McInnes, Get Off My Lawn, June 28, 2017

The Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally was planned by a Proud Boy.

@FordFischer / Twitter

Then-President McInnes “expelled” Unite the Right Rally organizer Jason Kessler from the group in an attempt to distance the group from the violence, and consequent fear in the POC community, that it incites.

Portland’s own Lieutenant Tina Jones admits that, “these events can cause alarm, anxiety and even fear for certain members of our community.”

This Latino Portland resident faked a farewell to his friends, worried that he would be killed by The Proud Boys on his way to work.

@ThisIsHans / Twitter

One of his friends replied, “You’re half white, you’re good.” Because Brown isn’t the dominant gene here. “True,” he replied. “I’ll just get like a toe cut off or something.”

Another friend reminded him that Proud Boys “allow in a lot of self hating Latino dudes.”

@thejedgentry / Twitter

Unfortunately, he has a point. In fact, McInnes stepped down as leader of The Proud Boys after getting into legal trouble and is succeeded by Cuban-American Enrique Tarrio.

Tarrio doesn’t believe Trump is a racist.

@PressToDigitate / Twitter

He thinks it’s sad to see “that kind of rhetoric” tossed around about Trump.

Tarrio referenced his Cuban upbringing as a “similar atmosphere” to the Proud Boys. “My house, at like 7 o’clock in the morning, there’s like 20 people, in my house, talking about politics, roasting each other, just making fun of each other. I was brought up in that environment, so that kind of brings me into the f*ckery that comes along with being a Proud Boy,” he said.

Latinos and POC have so many questions for Tarrio.

@BrotherBlack9 / Twitter

Twitter user Juan-Carlos Cruz tweeted, “I can’t believe that a Cuban-American, Enrique Tarrio, is a member of the Right-Wing Proud Boys. Lord have mercy!! Shameful, sad and disappointing.”

Tarrio’s social media accounts were deactivated by Facebook and Instagram after he captioned a photo of Leslie Jones comparing her to an “ape.” While The Proud Boys claim they expelled all Proud Boys who attended the Unite the Right rally that killed counter-protester Heather Heyer, Tarrio admits he was in attendance.

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