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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid