News / USA

Shooting Puts Neo-Nazi Music in the Spotlight

Wade Michael Page, 40, is seen in this undated picture from a myspace.com web page for the musical group 'End Apathy.' Racist skinhead music is in the spotlight after the recent shootings at a Sikh temple.Wade Michael Page, 40, is seen in this undated picture from a myspace.com web page for the musical group 'End Apathy.' Racist skinhead music is in the spotlight after the recent shootings at a Sikh temple.
x
Wade Michael Page, 40, is seen in this undated picture from a myspace.com web page for the musical group 'End Apathy.' Racist skinhead music is in the spotlight after the recent shootings at a Sikh temple.
Wade Michael Page, 40, is seen in this undated picture from a myspace.com web page for the musical group 'End Apathy.' Racist skinhead music is in the spotlight after the recent shootings at a Sikh temple.
The murder of six worshippers at a Sikh temple in the American midwest has put the spotlight on a violent type of music embraced by racist groups around the United States. Experts say the music, which glorifies the white race and heaps hate on other ethnic groups, is used to attract new members and spur them to violent action.

“It’s the chief recruitment tool of the entire movement,” said TJ Leyden, who spent 15 years in the white-power movement but now works to counter its influence. “It’s what hooks the kids. That’s how powerful music is.”

The racist skinhead movement is just one type of white supremacist group. Others include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and academic white supremacists. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there are probably 100,000 active white supremacists in the U.S., but the number of racist skinheads is hard to count. 

Skinhead music has its roots in the hardcore punk scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is usually  loud and aggressive, and the angry lyrics are often violent and filled with racist messages.

Wade Michael Page, the shooter who killed six Sikhs at a temple in the midwestern U.S. state of Wisconsin, was heavily involved in the racist skinhead music scene. Page led a band called End Apathy, whose lyrics talked about genocide against Jews and other minorities. He also played in a band called Definite Hate, whose album “Violent Victory” featured a “gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama.

In a 2010 interview, Page told a white supremacist website that he became active in white-power music in 2000, when he left his native state of Colorado, and started End Apathy in 2005 in Nashville, North Carolina.

Whether music can spur actions such as the August 5 mass shooting is hotly questionable but there’s no doubt it plays a crucial role in the racist skinhead movement, said Marilyn Mayo, the co-director of the Anti-defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

“White power music has always been the focal point of the skinhead movement,” she said. ”The white power music scene hasn’t changed in all these years. It promotes ideology, brings them together from all over the country, and the music has a violent subtext. It has always been a culture with a lot of violence.”

Targeting Teens

Leyden said teenagers are prime targets for recruitment into white power groups, often because they’re seeking a connection. Music, he said, is a very effective tool because it’s more appealing to kids than written material or speeches.

“Think about how often you get a song stuck in your head,” he said. “Think if that song was talking about racism. That gets stuck in your head. That’s what these guys hope for. They’re hoping to attract one of those kids into the movement.”

Band members freely allude to recruitment as one of their goals. In a recent interview posted on the pro-white power Label56 website, “Josh,” of the band 96 Brigade, said the following about his band’s music:
It's fast, mean, and aggressive. I didn’t hold back any punches with any of the content. My hopes are that it might allow a young skinhead, or even just some kid somewhere, the ability to make a more educated decision on politics.
Leyden added that music is also something kids can easily hide from their parents, as some of it is available on iTunes, a popular music download service.

“They can go around their parents,” he said. “They don’t have to have a CD, and as a parent, you may never find out what your kid is listening to.”

The music is also available for free on the Internet via numerous streaming radio stations. According to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2005 a station called RadioWhite maintained six different 24-hour music feeds, with more than 5,000 songs on its playlists. The site is defunct, but has since been replaced by others.

Call to action?

One of the best known white supremacist record labels is Resistance Records, located in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Sample songs from the bands the label distributes are available on its website. Many of the lyrics are racist and profane.

“The message is consistent,” said Mayo “They usually attack and dehumanize blacks, Jews and other minorities.”

The lyrics are also overwhelmingly depressing.

According to Leyden, the end-of-the-world rhetoric is a call to action.

“They’re trying to make it look like everything is falling apart, that the world is on the verge of collapse,” he said. “Here’s the problem. There’s only one solution: To act.”

Distancing Themselves

Erich Gliebe, the CEO of Resistance Records, the self-proclaimed “musical branch” of the white-supremacist group the National Alliance, said in an email statement that his company “distributes a wide variety of pro-White music for purposes of education and entertainment, and to provide a rationale for the alienation young Whites experience today.”

The statement noted that Page was not a member of the National Alliance. It did not condemn the shootings.

Label 56, the company that distributed Page’s music, did not respond to requests for interviews, but said in a statement on its website that all “images and products” for Page’s band End Apathy had been removed from the website.

Mayo called the responses of Resistance and Label56 typical.

“The modus operandi is to distance themselves from the incident,” she said. “They claim they are not promoting violence, but when you look at the ideology, there is an undercurrent of violence.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 09, 2012 1:34 PM
This is the unwanted form of liberation and freedom. But why not, American children are taught to recognize no supreme being that is responsible for their existence. They are taught to believe that all men came from some sort of bang, ape, plant or even microbes - what a laugh! Therefore they believe the world is their own and why do you blame them if they refuse to cohabit? Killing is not only when shooting; it can also involve breaking of someone's heart in senseless divorce, rejecting the unborn in abortion, refusing to procreate in the natural way, etc. But the worst shooting is diverting the intellect from rudimentary recognition of their source of life, and the denial of the relationship between man and God. America should return to the drawing board and retrace their route.

by: Robert George from: Dubai
August 09, 2012 1:24 AM
Nazism seems to be rearing its ugly ahead again, with Neo-Nazis venting their anger indiscriminately. It’s unfortunate that this time the target was a group of Sikh worshippers. In the last century, Nazis targeted the Jews, which ended in the holocaust. Presumably, the Neo-Nazis mistook the turban-clad Sikhs to be Moslems. Arguably, the key target of Neo-Nazis is fundamentalist Moslems, who have been terrorizing the civilized world, while the media and governments seem to be pandering to their fundamentalism. These marauders, who show no mercy to their victims, have become the scourge of the modern world. Incidentally, though incidents such as killing of Sikh worshippers take centre stage, the ongoing massacres of the Christians in Nigeria by Islamists draw nary a murmur or complain.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs