The father of a man who participated in a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., is denouncing his son, saying he did not learn his “hateful beliefs” at home.
“I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions," Pearce Tefft wrote in a letter published Monday on Inforum, about his son Peter Tefft.
The younger Tefft attended the weekend rally in Charlottesville and spoke to several news sources about his participation.
But his father said he did not raise his son to be racist.
We should be careful about blaming the parents of neo-Nazis for the odious views and actions of their offspring. There are too many factors, including many factors beyond the control of parents, to assume that parents are morally responsible. Certainly we see that bad parenting can lead to bad adult children, but there isn't a 1-1 correspondence, and causation is complicated.
Assuming without evidence that parents are at fault may be a variation of the just-world bias.