Monday, February 14, 2005

The Recrudescence of Racism 

We were talking about climate change directly below, and we have latterly sensed a change in another sort of climate. White Zemblans: have you noticed a distinct uptick of late in the number of blatantly racist jokes told by certain of your presumably civilized acquaintances who, when you react with dismay, smirk and explain that they "love to make fun of political correctness"? We have. We cannot blame Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh or the Bush administration directly for legitimizing these base urges, or emboldening the people who indulge them openly (and feel "hip" doing it). But as needless wars, both military and cultural, continue to divide our world (and our nation) into two discreet camps -- the "us" and the "not-like-us" -- we cannot help but conclude that these are increasingly parlous times for the not-like-us:
White supremacist groups around the country are moving aggressively to recruit new members by promoting their violent, racist ideologies on billboards, in radio commercials and in leaflets tossed on suburban driveways.

Watching with mounting alarm, civil rights monitors say these tactics stake out a much bolder, more public role for many hate groups, which are trying to shed their image as shadowy extremists and claim more mainstream support . . . .

The National Alliance, which calls for ridding the U.S. of minorities, has led the drive to raise the profile of white supremacists.

The local chapter spent $1,500 on MetroLink ads here in St. Louis last month, plastering nearly every commuter train car in the city with a blue-and-white placard that declares "The Future belongs to us!" and lists the group's website and phone number. The same chapter bought airtime on local talk radio last fall, urging whites to unite and fight for the survival of "white America." One member of the chapter, Frank Weltner, has long hosted a radio show that advocates a white supremacist viewpoint.

"We want to use mainstream advertising to say to the public: We're not a shadowy group. This is what we believe in, and we're proud of it," said chapter leader Aaron Collins. "We're trying to give people courage. We want to show them, if you stand up for what you believe in, you're not going to be crucified."
The above link comes courtesy of our revered colleague David Neiwert at Orcinus, who has written a long and characteristically erudite post that touches on white power, radio shock jocks, and NASCAR. We cannot recommend it highly enough.

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