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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora