Back in April, a big teddy bear-looking fella in a Ford F-150 explained to the world that he’s a redneck and always has been. He used to be a racist too, he admits, drawing a distinction between the two classifications that many others might not.
Going by the YouTube channel name “Dixon White,” which the Boston Globe explains was initially going to be called W Honky, Dixon, with his big accent and proud Southern Heritage appears to be the epitome of a “good ‘ol boy.” So it became a revelation when Dixon began espousing the need for racial harmony and an end to “white supremacy.”
With over 1.2 million views for his “I’m A Redneck And Love America” video, Dixon was set to be a symbol of progression for a group of people that seem to stand exactly opposite the country in views on gay marriage, racial discrimination and the Confederate flag. Perhaps this could be the person who would bridge any sort of gap between the so-called progressives and the racists?
He even proclaimed a Racial Healing Challenge:
The challenge is to change the way white people think about race and race relations. It has evidently had some success on other channels:
“White himself grew up in his small Tennessee hometown dropping the N-word and espousing a foundation of racist beliefs (“It’s how I was raised. I was taught that”), but by 19 he had set about actively flipping his perspective on race. He’d made some personal revelations about his own history with abuse, and when he went to college in Savannah, Ga., the experience of witnessing his African-American roommate be repeatedly harassed and arrested by local police infuriated him,” writes Globe reporter Michael Brodeur.
“What I saw him go through was heartbreaking,” he said to the Boston Globe. “I made an oath with myself and with God, that I was not gonna be a product of my environment, and that I was gonna strive to reprogram myself with the truth.”
And in the wake of the Charleston shooting with its southern racist-motivated tinge, Dixon White and his pitch for equality seemed even more prescient. But then the truthers got involved.
After it was posted in the Boston Globe article that Dixon White’s real name was Jorge Moran, the internet began investigating who this “white ex-racist” really was. Turns out, Jorge is actually a half-Cuban ex-filmmaker and actor — not quite the “aww shucks, dyed-in-the-wool-white bumpkin” with a country-fried accent his fellow rednecks might have thought he was.
So in the Rachel Dolezal Scandal days, is this a problem? As far as the white supremacists go, yeah, it seems to be a problem. Posting his information and attempting to raise consciousness, they are fixated more on the fact that he has Cuban ancestry than his message, which is essentially peace. One pro-white vlogger, Queeny Cameron in particular has taken umbrage with the idea of Jorge Moran’s aims, titling several of his posts things like “NO APOLOGIES FOR the SO-CALLED Dixon White (LOUSE ACTOR) Challenge” and “Was Dixon White aka Jorge Moran Hired To Cause WHITE GENOCIDE?”
It gets even deeper. As Jorge Moran’s popularity has grown, Jorge has had to address the issues of his past somewhat — mentioning that he used to be a filmmaker and an actor, but not (in the videos I’ve watched at least) admitting his real name or Cuban heritage. In fact, his website JorgeMoran.com, created long before his YouTube channel took off, that mentioned his Cuban heritage has since been removed, apparently by Moran himself.
So is he suddenly awkward about his non-white paternity also? Does he feel that will diminish his stance or cause? It’s an interesting situation playing out on YouTube during a tumultuous time in America.
Hopefully the message stands as the reason for discussion and not the lineage of the speaker saying the words. But sometimes that’s the problem when someone perhaps cultivates a character to promote a message: the relevant good stuff gets overshadowed by what is real and what isn’t.
What do you think?