White Supremacy in the United States
Bruce C. Abbott HLSS523: Domestic Terrorism and Extremist Groups Instructor: Holly Shenefelt January 27, 2013
Introduction In the United States, there is approximately 25,000 hard-core Americans believing in the ideology behind white supremacy, which when considering this number, is a small fraction of the white population. These white supremacist activists are organized into approximately 300 different organizations to further their belief in white supremacy. In breaking these groups down, no two groups are the same, and range from religious sects, tax protesters, militant style, and the extreme violent groups such as the Neo-Nazi skinheads. Today’s society produces approximately 150,000 to 200,000 believers in white supremacy that subscribe to a variety of racist publications, attend white supremacy rallies and marches, and further donate money for their belief. To further this white supremacist hardcore belief, approximately one hundred hate line sources are in operation, providing messages of hate-motivated speeches toward the non-white population. Because of the advances made in electronic technology, media based on white supremacy can be found on approximately 150 radio and television shows that air weekly in the United States. These media sources, reach thousands of white supremacist sympathizers daily. In helping the reader to understand white supremacy, this paper sets out to achieve several objectives in this understanding. The first objective for this paper is to give an understanding or definition of white supremacy. The second objective of this paper will give a history of white supremacy dating back to the Civil war and Europe. The third objective for this paper to accomplish for the readers is to give an ideology or philosophy behind white supremacy, such as that associated with the Ku Klux Klan, Christian Identity, Aryan Brotherhood/Nation, and other white supremacist groups. The fourth objective will give key white supremacist groups within the United States that pose a threat to homeland security. The fifth objective will identify cases of white supremacy violence from the 1960s to present day. The sixth objective will address white supremacy and the military, further making these individuals prime candidates for this movement. Understanding white supremacy The meaning of white supremacy has different meanings to everyone whom hears the word. To some people these words mean a social, economic, or political system based, on beliefs that the white race is superior to the non-white race (Baysinger 2006). To other people the belief is based on racist motivation, in regard to the systematic discrimination on non-white people in the area of human activities, such as economic, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, and sex. Through researching the many definitions, this paper will place emphasis on white supremacy as a belief no matter what the white race is far superior to people of other racial backgrounds (Baysinger 2006). To further defining white supremacy, the term is most often used to describe a political ideology that preserves and upholds the social, political, historical, and industrial dominance of the white race. White supremacy gains it roots from ethnocentrism, which is considered the judgment of another culture, based exclusively on the values and standards of one’s own culture (Baysinger 2006). The ethnocentrism ideology is based on judgment of other groups relative to his or her own individual ethnic group or culture, especially in regard to behavior, customs, and religion. As a result of this belief, violence against non-whites most often occurs. No matter what definition of white supremacy is used in modern society, historical beliefs were based on non-white races being exterminated or living separate from the white race. History of white supremacy In the following paragraphs, this paper will give a brief history of white supremacy. Although not a lengthy history, this portion of the paper gives the reader a general overview of the early history of hatred, violence, and an ideology based on the white people being the superior race. The history of white supremacy can be traced back to the early establishment of the Ku Klux Klan. The beginning of the white supremacist movement began after the civil war, further leading to a white underground resistance group to restore the south (Lentz-Smith 2010). The first white supremacist wore white robes and headdress to conceal their identity from others. The Klan was best known for burning property, whipping its victims, assaults, and murder of whites that supported non-whites (Lentz-Smith 2010). By the end of the 1870s, the Ku Klux Klan had almost disappeared, and although violent acts still continued in some areas, they were not as prominent as they once were (Friedman 1981, 162). Some 45 years later, in 1915 the Ku Klux Klan reemerged, and this time the group added a new target to their list in the way of attacking immigration, communism, and being anti-Semitics (Lentz-Smith 2010). By the 1960s, the civil rights movement was well underway, and the KKK stirred an interest in participating in this movement for the support of their ideology (Lentz-Smith 2010). During this time, Klan members started terrorizing civil rights workers, and participants further contributing to violent acts in regard to bombings, beatings, and shootings (George et al.1996). With strong violent tendencies among Klan members toward civil rights workers and participants, the Klan was ultimately unsuccessful in the prevention and expansion of the civil rights movement for African Americans, and once again membership declined (Hoffman 2005). In the 1970s and 1980s, this white supremacist movement was revived, but most members were in small towns throughout the south (Baysinger 2006). Being the predominant leader of white supremacy, the Ku Klux Klan lost this title in the early 1990s to other white supremacist groups, such as Aryan nation and Neo-Nazi groups. One of the most powerful groups that took this title from the KKK was Neo-Nazism. The Neo-Nazis based their belief of white supremacy of Adolph Hitler (Evans 2008). Ideology of white supremacy The white supremacist ideology is based on the belief that all Nordic people are the master race over all people, especially those that are black, brown, yellow, or any mixed races. This ideology was very popular in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially in European countries. Nordicism gained popularity, as a mainstream acceptance throughout Germany as National Socialism. In society today the white supremacy ideology believes that the United States is controlled by influential non-whites and Jews, and in most cases a combination of both (George et al.1996). Today, white supremacists are supporters for changing the Zionist occupation government or (ZOG), through terrorist acts or violence, further becoming more political to influence mainstream politics within America (Blake 2012). To further this ideology, most white supremacist believe that America is a Christian nation, placing emphasis on a special relationship between religion and the rule of law. Because this ideology and belief gives the white supremacist divine permission from God to hate, this group usually doesn’t see that their actions are driven by hate. White supremacist makes claim to loving God and the white race, showing hatred, and extreme prejudice toward other races (Blake 2012). The white supremacist movement continues to strive toward creating a society totally dominated by whites, further excluding and denying the rights of non-white and the Jewish people (Blake 2012). Key white supremacy groups There are many players in the white supremacist movement, some with violent history, and those with no recorded violence at all. As mentioned in the previous paragraphs approximately three hundred white supremacist motivated groups exist in the United States. Under the three hundred types of white supremacy groups exist such organization as the Kingdom identity ministries, red shirts, American front, imperial Klan of America, liberty lobby, and the white patriot party. Of the three hundred, six groups surpass the others in their beliefs, ideology, motivation, and violent tendencies. The following paragraphs will identify six white supremacist groups that society must become concerned about. Neo-Nazi groups One of the first white supremacist groups considered a threat to homeland security is Neo-Nazism. This group consists of an ideology based on social and political movement seeking to revive Nazism, as it was in Germany during World-War II, under Hitler’s rule. The Neo-Nazi movement is on elements borrowed from the Nazi doctrine. Some of the elements within the Nazi doctrine that fuel the Neo-Nazi movement include militant nationalism, racism, and Holocaust denial. Some of the elements that Neo-Nazism hatred and violence is directed toward is Xenophobia, or a fear and dislike for people from other countries.
The next element of importance is homophobia, in which there is a negative attitude and feeling toward homosexuality, and those individuals perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The last element borrowed from the Nazi doctrine is Anti-Semitism, which is hatred toward the Jewish culture. Within the United States, there are many Neo-Nazi groups. One of the largest groups is the National Socialist Movement, which boasts a following of approximately 400 members, covering more than 30 states (Blake 2012). In identifying one of the 30 states that activity is prominent, North Carolina is very active in regard to Neo-Nazism. This group of the National Socialist Movement was founded in 1994, and bases its foundation on the Nazi doctrine. The North Carolina group of Neo-Nazi members focuses on theatrical and provocative protests. Among the provocative protests come violent acts toward the Jewish people. The motto of this Neo-Nazi group is “All non-white immigration must be prevented. The National Socialist Movement demands that all non-whites currently residing in America be required to leave the nation forthwith and return to their land of origin, peacefully or by force (Blake 2012). Ku Klux Klan The white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan has a distinct past and present history and ideology of being far-right extremist. To further the clarification of the Ku Klux Klan is that this group is considered a racist, anti-semitic movement with past and present commitment to extreme violence to achieve its objectives of creating racial segregation and white supremacy. Although many right-wing hate groups exist in the United States, the KKK is still considered one of the largest and most organized groups, in regard to white supremacy (Lancaster 2012). Since foundation in 1866, more than 40 Ku Klux Klan groups have emerged. To add to this number of Klan groups in existence, there are approximately 100 Klan Chapters, or “Klaverns” (George et al 1996). With a far-right wing extremist history, 5,000 plus members take up with this white supremacist ideology (George et al 1996). For many years, the Ku Klux Klan remained quite, and non-violent. However, in 2006 Violence among the KKK spiked spreading fear in America regarding gay marriage, homosexuality and immigration matters (Baysinger 2006). Aryan Brotherhood According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Aryan Brotherhood is considered to be an extremely violent white supremacist group, mainly inside the prison systems of the United States (Appel 2003). The Aryan brotherhood boasts a following of approximately 20,000 inmates and supporters on the outside the prison system (Appel 2003). The Aryan brotherhood constitutes approximately one percent of the prison population but is known to be responsible for 20 percent of the most violent acts within the prison system as a whole. The brotherhood, as it is most often known as, was founded in the 1960s in the California prison of San Quentin, as it is one of the toughest prisons in the United States (Appel 2003). Although most law enforcement and correctional professionals would say that the Aryan brotherhood is a violent criminal organization, the brotherhood will disagree with the statement. The Aryan brotherhood considers them selves not to be affiliated with any type of criminal organizations or activities. As previous indicated, the Aryan brotherhood was established in the 1960s, however after several decades, the brotherhood changed its focus from killing for racial reasoning to organized crime, drug trafficking, prostitution, and murder within, and outside the prison system. In 2002, the Aryan brotherhood suffered a big hit to its organization, when several high-ranking gang members were brought to trial under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization or RICO (Hoffman 2005). The sole intention was to bring a sentence of death to 21 of the Aryan brotherhood members participated in the organized crime violence (Flint 2004). During this trial, approximately 30 convictions were given to the leaders, but no death sentences were received (Hoffman 2005). Aryan Nation The Aryan Nation is another group that poses a threat as a domestic terrorist. The Aryan Nation is considered a white Supremacist hate group, founded by Richard Butler of Hayden, Idaho in the early 1980s (George et at.1996). As other white supremacist groups, Aryan Nation bases their ideology and motivation on anti-Semitism and white nationalism, which was founded on the ideology from the Christian identity movement. After many years of successful promoting their ideology and carrying out many violent acts on non-white individuals, the Aryan Nation suffered a major setback almost dismanteling the groups activities for good (Flint 2004). This setback can be attributed to a 2001 lawsuit against the Aryan Nation because of their violent acts toward a non-white mother and son in Idaho (Blake 2012). Because of the outcome of the civil judgment, the Aryan Nation went bankrupt, thus loosing their compound in Hayden, Idaho (Lentz-Smith 2010). By 2004, the membership within the Aryan Nation had diminished to a very low number and strength that was in place to promote their ideology. However, violent acts by Aryan followers can still be observed in the news media. In January 2011, an Aryan Nation member placed a backpack bomb at a Martin Luther King Day event (Lentz-Smith 2010). The bomb was discovered, diffused, and never went off, causing the violence that it was intended for. Christian identity The Christian identity movement is another white supremacist threat to homeland security with a creed of “conquer we must for our cause is just” (Baysinger 2006, 200). Although this movement is supposedly Christian, its relationship with evangelicals and fundamentalists have been extremely hostile due to the latter’s belief that the return of Jews to Israel is essential to the end-of-time prophecy, in accordance to the bible (Baysinger 2006). The behind the Christian identity movement is like other white supremacist groups, in regard to anti-Semitics and racist theology. The Christian identity became well known in the 1980s in regard to its ability to command influence on the racist rights. Since the creation of Christian identity movement in the 1980s, approximately 55 chapters, Idaho has the most chapters with approximately 7 (Flint 2004). One of the best known Christian identity movement groups is Idaho is “America’s promise ministries. Members of this group fully believe in an ideology of “America’s greatness didn’t come from blacks, Asians, or Jews, it came from the white race” (Hoffman 2005). Hammer skins The Hammer skin nation can be considered one of the most organized Neo-Nazi groups in the United States. As one of the most organized, comes a higher level of violence toward their intended target, the non-white race. The hammer skin movement evolved from “the wall,” a 1979 rock album by Pink Floyd (Evans 2008). The wall tells the story of a man that sinks to a low point in his life, resorting to drug addiction, thus losing his grip on reality and turning to the practice of fascism (George et al. 1996). One song in particular that promotes white supremacy is the singer expresses his desire to line up all the “Queers,” “Jews,” and “Coons,” in the audience against the wall, and shoot them (Evans 2008). The hammer skin movement became predominant in the United States in the early 1980s, forming in Dallas, Texas. Since their creation, based on the album the wall, many groups within the hammer skin movement have formed. There are approximately 1,200 hammer skins with 19 chapters in the United States (Evans 2008). Cases of white supremacy violence White supremacy in the United States has always a history of violent acts toward many ethnic groups. These violent act’s ranged from domestic violence, and ideological-related crimes such as terroristic hate violence. These criminal acts such as the ones described in the previous paragraphs, occur on a daily basis in the United States. The following paragraphs in this section of the paper will identify several notable white supremacist violent incidents, although many exist throughout history of white supremacy. * In May 2012 a central Florida group of racist skinheads are arrested for conducting paramilitary training, hate crime incidents, weapons, and conspiracy charges. After the arrests of the 14 fourteen members, information was obtained that the group had planned further incidents, including demonstrations in from of government facilities, using weapons to fire into ethnic occupied buildings in their area. Further violence included attacks on an anti-racist event in the area (Blake 2012). * One of the most recent white supremacist related incidents occurred in August 2012 in Wisconsin on a Sikh Temple. Hammer-skin white supremacist Wade Page kills six and wounds four people in the Sikh temple. Page killed himself before he could be arrested by law enforcement. The Federal Bureau of Investigation indicated that the incident was an act of domestic terrorism, and hate (Blake 2012 [Place comma after author name). * In March 2012, several members of a white supremacist outlaw motorcycle group were subsequently arrested in Illinois and Florida on drug, weapons, and explosive device charges. The arrests in the two states were the results of a three-year undercover investigation by law enforcement officials (Blake 2012). * In January 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona, Jeffrey Harbin, a white supremacist with the National Socialist Movement was arrested for transportation of explosives to use in a white supremacist bombing (Blake 2012). * Massachusetts 2009, white supremacist Keith Luke was arrested for killing two immigrants. Luke further raped and shot another immigrant. Luke indicated at the time of his arrest which he had plans for killing as many Jewish people that he could in a Synagogue in his area, subsequently thereafter killing himself (Blake 2012). * In 2002 a boy/girlfriend white supremacist made a plot to blow up a museum frequented by many different ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Asians, Latinos, and Jewish patrons. The white supremacist pair planned on using a fertilizer type bomb, similar to the one used in Oklahoma City. The targeted museums were related to Holocaust victims in World War II (Flint 2004, 53). * In Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1979, the Ku Klux Klan killed five protestors. The protest was the result of attempts by the Communist party to organize African American industrial workers (Flint, 2004). * One of the most notable cases of white supremacy violence occurred in Mississippi in June of 1963, during this time, Medger Evers, an African American civil rights activist, was assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith (Ribeiro, 2001,16). Beckwith was a member of the white citizens council, which was considered a white supremacist group founded in the 1950s (Martinas 1991). After Beckwith was arrested, he was later released due to lack of evidence, and a deadlocked jury trying to decide guilt or innocence (Ribeiro, 2001,16). However, in 1994 the case was reopened and new evidence was produced in this case, which linked Beckwith to the assassination some thirty years ago. Beckwith was convicted on the crime this time and was sentenced to 80 years in prison (Ribeiro, 2001,16). White supremacy and the military White supremacist groups have for years sought out military experience to promote their cause of white supremacy on the non-white race. To further this initial statement, the leaders of very large white supremacist groups recruit these military personnel because of their experience in the military. This experience need from the white supremacist groups consists of military discipline, firearms, explosives, and tactical training, further having access to weapons and intelligence (Potok 2006). The ideology behind white supremacist seeking out military personnel is to one day rejuvenate the white supremacist movement by manipulating anti-government sentiment among opponents of the overseas conflicts, such as Desert Storm and other conflicts. While white supremacist groups seek military personnel, only a small percentage participate in the extremist right-wing activist (Potok 2006). In recognizing that white supremacy groups were recruiting members of the military, the FBI conducted a review of white supremacist cases from the years 2001 to 2008 (Potok 2006). The findings resulted in approximately 203 white supremacist members were confirmed or claimed to have military experience that the white supremacist groups sought out (Potok 2006). One of the biggest recruiters of military personnel was the national alliance white supremacist group, which totaled 29% military personnel (Potok 2006). The goal of the national alliance was to recruit the highest quality members that it could, and where to get those individuals, was from the military. To further the white nationalist, anti-Semitics, and political ideology, the national alliance sought to recruit former Green Beret personnel that held rank while in service. In the coming years, white supremacist group leaders will continue to strive to recruit as many military personnel as possible, to advance their white supremacist ideology through violence by former military training and tactics (Potok 2006). Conclusion In conclusion, this paper has addressed the growing threat of white supremacy in the United States. This paper has identified several objectives for the reader in furthering his or her understanding of white supremacist, and why they are motivated for their cause. The first objective gave a comprehensive definition of white supremacy, which the white race is superior to the non-white, and it must be, in the name of God. The second objective for this paper was to give a history from which white supremacy emerged into society. The white supremacy movement has been around since the end of the civil war, when it was started for a part of the reconstruction of the south. The 1960s gave way to the civil rights movement in regard to the non-white race. During this time the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan was prominent as they terrorized civil rights workers and participants. In the 1990s, the white supremacy movement gave way to other more violent and motivated groups. The third objective for this paper was to give an ideology that is a foundation for the beliefs, and motivations of white supremacy. In this ideology the white supremacist believe that America is a Christian nation, and God wants them to show hatred and prejudice toward the non-white races. The fourth objective identified the key players in the white supremacist movement. Although there are many white supremacist groups in the United States, the key players identified in this paper are considered a domestic terrorist threat. The paper identified Neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Brotherhood/Nation, Christian Identity movement, and hammer skins. The fifth objective of this paper gave an example of eight cases of white supremacist violence, although history is filled with more violent events that the in the aforementioned paragraphs. The last objective for this paper was to identify a growing concern in the protection of our homeland, and that is when the white supremacy ideology and the military come together. In this objective the paper identified that military personnel are leaving service and subsequently recruited by white supremacy groups because of their weapons, explosives, and tactical training.
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