Years ago, the skinhead subculture originally began in the United Kingdom, before making its way overseas to the United States. All skinhead groups are not racist or radical organizations. On an international level all skinheads are not white supremacists preaching violence to their members. This article is only a discussion of the actions, and history of racist skinhead organizations within America, and the white supremacist organizations affiliated with them. It is certainly not a commentary on conservatives. It is also not asserting that all white Americans are racist or trolling hate websites.
“Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.” -A. J. Heschel
White power groups use the political climate and economic issues in our country, as recruiting tools to strengthen their numbers, and to spread their separatist ideologies. Many hate groups are citing increases in membership, as well as online website traffic according to leaders of these organizations, and groups that track their activities.
Before Obama took office as president, Billy Roper who runs the White Revolution in Arkansas, said the following in the Washington Post.
“I haven’t seen this much anger in a long, long time. Nothing has awakened normally complacent white Americans more than the prospect of America having an overtly nonwhite president.”
Over the years, the neo-Nazi racist skinhead organizations in this coutry focused on disseminating hate within modern society, often effecting harassment, assault, and murder against non-whites and homosexuals. Today it is an entirely different ballgame for many skinheads. In the grand scheme and vision of spreading their propaganda, and separatist ideals, many skinheads have realized that actions like assaulting homosexuals, abusing unarmed citizens, throwing rocks through the windows of synagogues, and murdering minorities can be put on hold.
Nowadays, many of the white supremacist groups in America have a large following of racist skinheads. Over the years, as many skinheads age and outgrow their “crews,” they often transition entirely into the more adult white supremacy organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and Volksfront.
Although their ideologies have common characteristics, the racist skinhead subculture is considered a distinct entity from other extremist groups promoting white supremacy. It is separate from the widely known white supremacist groups like the KKK and Volksfront, but in many cases racist skinheads have been affiliated with these organizations and others.
The basic ideologies overlap, because all of the groups belief systems are firmly entrenched, in ideas of white power, racism, separatism, and anti-Semitism. For many of the racist skinheads, their ideology has even included Holocaust denial, which is connected to the conspiracy theories they spread about people of Jewish descent.
In the 80s, the United States had around 2,000 neo-Nazi skinheads, and since then the number has increased. The groups of the 80s are no longer the archetype for skinhead organizations today. Historically, the demographic of the racist skinhead group in the United States, has been a young, male of European descent in his teens or 20s. Today images of a white male with swastikas emblazoned across his body, and a shaved head still exist, but are less prevalent. The current focus for many of these groups is how to “divide and conquer” mainstream America. Many no longer dress in the obvious fashion normally associated with this particular subculture.
With resources like the internet and music at their disposal, racist skinhead groups focus on spreading their messages throughout the general population and the media. The internet and music serve as useful tools that allow these groups to reach much larger audiences, in a variety of cities and countries throughout the world.
Affiliated with the record label 9% productions, the most organized racist skinhead group in this country is the Hammerskins, a group established in Dallas, Texas in 1988. In the United States, less than 10 active chapters of the Hammerskins exist, but chapters also exist internationally in England, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand and Australia, providing an entire network for its members. On the Official International Hammerskin Nation Website the following words appear.
“The Hammerskin Nation is a leaderless group of men and women who have adopted the White Power Skinhead lifestyle. We are blue collar workers, white collar professionals, college students, entrepreneurs, fathers and mothers.
“The Hammerskin brotherhood is way of achieving goals which we have all set for ourselves. These goals are many but can be summed up with one phrase consisting of 14 words.
“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White Children.”
Focus on Middle America
Many of the current white power and hate groups have drastically altered the tone of the rhetoric, and the overall approach, in order to gain support from various segments of middle class America. The groups focus on subjects like non-white immigration, and refer to themselves as “patriots” in order to appeal to larger audiences in the country, and to prey on the fears of mainstream Americans. The rhetoric today often involves themes that are against Mexicans and the American government, and also anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-minorities.
Years ago, the white power group Volksfront, that is associated with the Hammerskins, disappeared from the public for a while after legal issues, and the incarceration of numerous group members for violent crimes. In theory, they reemerged as a more organized, respectable organization claiming that, “Volksfront does not employ reactionary ‘race hate’ or violence to achieve our aims. We feel that the best means for the improvement of the position of Whites is through strict organization and united effort.” They currently employ various tactics in the media to spread their messages of hate and anti-Semitism to the masses in middle America and in other nations.
We exist in an age where our nation’s economy remains in an atrocious state, and the country has its first minority President. Americans are dealing with a myriad of socio-economic issues, and many are in a constant state of turmoil. Membership for white supremacy organizations is predictably on the rise, allowing many people to voice their anger and fear. As opposed to attempting to come up with solutions to our nations problems some of these people find solace in groups that promise they can make everything better in society. Many of the Americans joining these groups do not view themselves as racists, merely as people who are trying to “preserve and protect the White race.”
“Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” – Oscar Wilde
USA Today: Hate Groups
The Washington Post: Hate Groups’ Newest Target
Ku Klux Klan
ThinkExist: Quotes on Racism and Society