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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs