An article about billionaire Robert Mercer’s operation to push white supremacy into the mainstream offers yet another sobering reminder about what we’re up against.
Mercer is a billionaire by virtue of his investment banking firm Renaissance Technologies, which uses quantitative computer algorithms to make investments. Mercer holds reactionary views on civil rights (“shouldn’t have happened”) and climate change (“doesn’t exist”). He bankrolled a large portion of the Trump campaign and the data firm that he has major investments in, Cambridge Analytica, provided data support to Brexit and the Trump campaign, the latter of which is now under scrutiny from Robert Mueller.
Mercer’s wealth, and ability to spread his hateful ideology, is sustained by his customers. Problem is, many of those customers either don’t know or don’t care that their financial manager is a white supremacist. Endowments and retirement funds from around the nation all do business with Renaissance and don’t show any signs of leaving them. For many state and municipal governments, it’s all about the return on investment, white supremacy be damned. For some journalists that are supposed to shine light on these issues, it’s all about the access, the “buddy system” and name-dropping.
It’s not just about fighting white supremacy, it’s about fighting the complacency and burnout that comes with having this group of lawless thugs in charge, even if they’re not formally in place. It’s about building financial wealth and systems that work for people of color equally. It’s about ensuring those systems maintain that equality and having a plan for achieving these goals. We can do it, we just need to understand what we’re up against and how deep it runs so we can establish a realistic timeline for achieving our vision.