Tag Archives: white supremacy

On the Rise: Relationships Between Mainstream Researchers and Advocates and White Supremacist Organizations

While the majority of the blogs from last month pertained to explicit activities of white supremacist groups, this blog addresses a more indirect but no less damaging impact of these organizations. Specifically, I suggest that the links between mainstream conservatives and white supremacy organizations are both insidious and possibly on the rise. This can take shape in several forms including funding, research, and advocacy of themes explicitly linked to core white supremacy doctrines and mobilization. This research is used to frame arguments in major national debates within American politics on issues like immigration, welfare reform, and criminal prosecution. In the sections which follow I provide a few examples of blatant connections between racist organizations and movements to the conservative mainstream of American politics. Continue reading

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Framing Invisibility: Why We Continue to Ignore the White Supremacist Movement

By Pete Simi

We all use a “schemata of interpretation” (Goffman 1974) to understand our world. How we “frame” experience renders some aspects of our world more visible and meaningful than others. In this essay, I want to explore the idea raised in several of last month’s essays that social scientists, media, and policy makers frame the world in ways that render the U.S. White Supremacist Movement (WSM) relatively invisible. The WSM’s invisibility flows from inattention (i.e., too many ignore the phenomenon despite knowing it exists) and inaccurate distortions when we do acknowledge it. Continue reading

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Racist and Right-Wing Extremist Movements in the U.S.: Two Things Scholars Know, One Thing Scholars Don’t Know, and the Implications for Antiracist Activism

By Kathleen Blee

What We Know #1:    The relationship between U.S right-wing/racist movements and the population in which they emerge is significantly different today than it was in earlier times.  In the past, far right and racist movements often took root at times and in places in which a significant proportion of the population shared their racist and political values.  The largest racist movement in U.S. history, for example, was the 1920s Ku Klux Klan whose 3-5 million members espoused ideas of white Christian supremacy and nativism that were not significantly different than those held by the white native-born Protestant majority in the early twentieth century.  Similarly, German Nazism, commonly regarded as the prototypical Western racist movement, was nested within a population in which many embraced fundamental aspects of Nazi ideology such as anti-Semitism and nationalism. Continue reading


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Increasing Synergy between the Conservative Movement and the Far Right

By Abby L. Ferber

I would like to take this opportunity to examine my own recent, personal experience with both the “far right” and “conservative right” to raise questions about the ways in which they support each other, and the synergy between them that has been opened up as a result of the internet scene. My own early research on the white supremacist movement argued that the distinction between the far right and mainstream served to disavow mainstream racism, and that we needed to examine their shared assumptions about race. Now, as a result of my own personal experiences coming under attack from both mainstream conservatives and the far right, I am even more convinced of the need for sociologists to examine the synergy between the mainstream conservative movement and the far right. Continue reading

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Racist Movements without Racists?

By Peter Owens

A recent New York Times article captures a disturbing, yet increasingly common, practice in the contemporary American white power movement: the secretive taking over of ostensibly marginal and largely white communities or buying up of marginal land in order to transform them into strongholds of white racist organizing. Most disturbingly, many of the residents of this small North Dakota town were unaware that such a process was unfolding underneath their feet until they were alerted by the Southern Poverty Law Center! Such strategies reflect the importance of creating various covert “free spaces,” as Simi and Futrell have noted, in which movement adherents are able to openly socialize with each other and profess their beliefs. In the case of contemporary white racist movements, the cultivation of these free spaces, often referred to within the movement as “pioneer little Europes” (PLEs), is a significant objective of their activism. Continue reading


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