Sixteen-year-old Stephan Mills rejected his father's racism despite years of indoctrination. Psychologists say that is more common than many people think. Stephan's mother says that thanks to her ex-husband, Stephan "had to relearn [how] to be a civilized human."
The Price of Hate
When Stephan Mills was 10 or 11, his father sat him and his older sister down after supper one night and told them that if they ever became emotionally involved with someone of color, he would kill them.
"I just nodded in agreement," said Stephan, now 16.
The incident seemed normal to a boy who for years had been steeped in his father's bigotry. Arthur Kemp, a South African white supremacist who has ties to British and American hate groups, indoctrinated his children with racist and anti-Semitic beliefs from the time they were very young. Stephan mostly adopted those views as his own. Several years ago, however, he rejected all that his father stood for. The experience would radically change his life and lead to his ongoing estrangement from his father, who's now divorced from his mother and believed to be living in England.
"Stephan's resentment toward his father is based partly on the fact that, in his sister's words, he had to relearn to be a civilized human," said his mother, Karen Mills. (Karen and Stephan Mills live near Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Intelligence Report interviewed them by phone and E-mail).
There was a lot to relearn. Arthur Kemp "was a very involved and doting father" when his children were small, Karen Mills said. He read to them often, carefully choosing books he felt would reinforce his ideology. Among them were the original "Noddy" series, English children's books that featured Golliwogs, dark-skinned caricatures that were later removed from the text because they were deemed racist. In one of Kemp's favorite Noddy books, the Golliwogs steal Noddy's car. Kemp enjoyed telling his children that the Golliwogs' theft of the car amounted to typical behavior for blacks.
But it wasn't only in books that Kemp found justification for his racism; post-apartheid South Africa offered plenty for him to complain about. "He tried to imprint on the children how bad Africa and everything here was," Karen Mills wrote. After striking workers toppled trashcans, for instance, "Arthur took the children into the main streets of the town and made them walk among the rubbish."
He also forbade socializing with non-white children. If they arrived at a friend's party to find that a black child had also been invited, Kemp made his children go home. When Stephan was six, his father reluctantly took him and his sister to swimming lessons at a public pool where one of the children turned out to be black. "He told us to get out and that we were leaving," said Stephan, who now uses his mother's maiden name. "I was still pretty young so I didn't really understand what was going on."
Kemp's attitude didn't change even when his children's health was at stake. When the family was living in Britain, he plucked his 6-year-old daughter, Joanne, from the dentist's chair rather than allow her to be treated by an Indian dentist, Karen Mills said. As a result, she suffered for three days with a tooth abscess.
When his children grew older, he allowed them to listen only to "white resistance" bands. Rap, especially, was prohibited. Although baseball caps, sneakers, baggy pants and big T-shirts were in fashion, he considered these items "ghetto nigger" clothing and wouldn't let his children wear them.
He also relished showing them articles and statistics that purported to prove that blacks were inferior. He contended that blacks could never be race car drivers because they have poor depth perception, that they cannot swim because their bones are too dense, that they are not as intelligent because their brains are smaller.
"The children were actively encouraged to be vocal about their views and to challenge their peers," Karen Mills wrote. "In Stephan's case in particular, this resulted in him being ostracized and made an outcast as he followed his father's lead."
Stephan said he had few friends until his first year of high school. At times, he suffered from depression because his father's brainwashing had so alienated him from his peers, his mother said.
"I wasn't really someone that people wanted to hang around with," Stephan said. "They regarded me as weird because I was constantly talking about Hitler."
Karen Mills said she initially went along with her husband's views to please him, but the marriage grew troubled as he devoted himself increasingly to far-right politics. She refused to read his opus on white superiority, March of the Titans: A History of the White Race, and criticized him in front of their children.
With his marriage collapsing, Arthur Kemp became violent, especially toward Stephan, Karen Mills said. Once, when Stephan was about eight, he hit his son's face until his nose bled and blood spattered on the bedroom wall, she said. He stopped only when the maid's screams brought Karen rushing into the room and she pulled Kemp off Stephan. Later, Kemp allegedly beat Stephan while his mother was at work. The backs of Stephan's legs were so swollen that he could not bend them to get into his bath. "If you ever hit my child again," she told Kemp, "I'll kill you."
Still, she did not report the incidents to the police. "You try to block it out because maybe it's more than you can deal with," said Mills, a lawyer who now works for the South African government. "You hope that it'll resolve itself and turn a blind eye."
Kemp dismissed the allegations from his former wife in an E-mail to the Intelligence Report. "It is all a pack of lies from a mentally ill person," he wrote. "I am disappointed that you would stoop to exploiting a person with severe psychological problems in this way." Karen Mills responded that Kemp has always claimed she's mentally ill simply because she disagrees with him.
Mills still feels guilty for allowing her children to suffer what she now sees as both physical and emotional abuse. "Why couldn't I do something?" she asked. "I just never stood up to him."
Kemp's persistence in forcing his beliefs on his children — along with his disengagement from their lives as he immersed himself in white nationalism — led them to question their father and the values he espoused, Karen Mills said. In a September 2008 post on the anti-racist site Lancaster Unity, Stephan called his father a "racist ass" and said he should be deported to South Africa. He wrote: "I remember almost every night when we would ask for a bedtime story (when most NORMAL fathers would read their children a normal book) he would instead tell us stories about how the white race was all supreme and then read us chapters from his horrible book "March of the White Titans" [sic]. Well dad if you ever read this or even hear about it I just wanted to let you know that I HATE YOU!! You have no idea what i went through at school because of you, you twisted my mind and made my entire childhood a horrible misery."
As his wife and children lost respect for him, Kemp withdrew further from the family. Karen Mills believes that's because they no longer fit his image of the model right-wing family that would help him achieve his political goals. "His political beliefs are the absolute be-all and end-all of his life," she said. "I think the reason why he's cut the children off is they don't conform to his political beliefs and aspirations."
Instead, "he began to seek out people who admired him and particularly his book," she recalled. "The admiration, and in particular the view of him as this great right-wing academic, became his main driving force."
He left the family in November 2006. "Picture this situation," Stephan wrote in November 2008 on Lancaster Unity. "I am fast asleep on thursday morning and when i wake i find that he is gone and then i receive a phone call from him telling me he is on a flight to London… THIS ASSHOLE DIDNT EVEN HAVE THE MANNERS TO SAY GOODBYE TO MY FACE!! I have not seen my father in now [a]bout two and [a] bit years."
Karen Mills said Kemp has had almost no contact with his children since the divorce. "I don't think there's any way that Arthur could fix the broken relationship with Stephan," she said. Nonetheless, "Stephan has gone through something of a catharsis." In addition to his posts on Lancaster Unity, he chose to discuss his father when he was assigned to give a school speech on someone who had influenced him — only he said his father's influence had been entirely negative. Now, his social life is improving, and he has resolved to be as unlike his father as possible. "I am stuck with some of his traits and characteristics — Mom used to joke with me that I have the Kemp laziness gene — but definitely not his political views," he said.
Yet there's no bringing back the years he lost to his father's hate. "You," he wrote to him in the September 2008 Lancaster Unity post, "will never understand what you have done to me."
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I do not believe that there is EVER a morally acceptable contingency where a vote for The BNP is acceptable.
A vote for The BNP may well be the lesser of two evils but I consider it a vote for evil on any occasion.
NEVER FORGET that The BNP has failed/refused to repudiate its association with White Supremacist Extremists and the murder of some 4-5,000 mostly young men BECAUSE they are coloured - including an elected Black Mayor January 2008 & a Mexican American 2009. Similarly they have failed to renounce their past association with extreme anti Judaism.
To VOTE BNP is to Vote for Evil.