Social Movements That Embrace a Racist Ideology
The majority of racist movements follow and closely resemble the standard depiction of social movements. These racist social movements are broadly categorized into four distinct branches based on their development and respective ideologies: the Ku Klux Klan, the Christian Identity and neo-Pagan racists, Racist Skinheads, and neo-Nazis. Despite having far-reaching influence and motivations, these four factions were conceived within the US. The first Ku Klux Klan emerged in Tennessee in 1866, following the American Civil War. The group developed as a fraternal order that would allow Confederates to continue to meet up after the Civil War.
Their doctrines quickly evolved to the maintenance and protection of white supremacy in the face of the reconstruction era. The ranks of the KKK swelled with the emergence of the black civil rights policies in 1868, expanding into almost every Southern state and increasingly becoming more violent. The federal adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, however, led to its disbandment. The Klan would, however, re-emerge in its second era in 1915 in Alabama, Georgia, with the doctrine of preserving 100% Americanism, which advocated for the maintenance of the racial purity of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans.
Christian Identity espouses theological justification for white supremacy based on interpretations of the Judeo-Christian Bible. The most prominent Christian Identity sect was the Aryan Nations / Church of Jesus Christ Christian, founded by Richard Butler in 1974. However, the group was bankrupted and splintered following its leader’s death in 2004. The result was three different sub-factions, based in Lexington, South Carolina, Lincoln, Alabama, and Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. However, the movement also persists in many small independent believer cells linked by a variety of websites dedicated to the cause.
Neo-pagans follow a pre-Christian approach to justify their racist agenda. They subscribe to a social Darwinism theory of Odinism and Asatru that calls for the survival of pure whites at all costs. Racist neo-pagans often have drawn upon Norse Mythology to elucidate the heroic and mystical nature of European folk heritage, constructing racial sensitivity and solidarity around the worship of Norse deities: Odin, Thor, and Freya. They see these particular deities as pure and untainted by modern Christianity.
Neo-pagans are not unusually structured and are instead interspersed throughout more extensive racist networks, spreading their motifs in other factions. Their warrior imagery widely resonates with separate racist wings, and neo-pagans broadly provide them with a collection of symbols, imagery, and ideals that elucidate their ideology of white power. This translates to the widespread transference of Neo-pagan ideology.
Neo-nazis embrace the Nazi symbolism, and their networks are present through the white power music scene, websites, and parties. They embrace eugenics and revere Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. Their most mainstream emergence was the American Nazi Party (ANP) of 1958, which popularized Holocaust denial and encouraged merging with Christian identity churches. Neo-Nazi ideology is linked with the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma by Timothy McVeigh, and the most sustained faction under this ideology is the National Socialist Movement (NSM).
Finally, racist skinheads comprise the youngest version of the racist movements and incorporate a blend of neo-Nazi ideas and symbolism. They congregate in loosely structured gangs and activist groups. However, the largest organized groups, such as the Hammerskin nation and Volkfront, command a web presence and hold numerous white-power concerts. They developed in the late 1970s in the US following increased economic pressures, Asian and Latino migrations, and the growth of minority street gangs. Despite the affiliation, these Aryan movements feature inherently racist and anti-Semitic agendas.