A RESURGENT MOVEMENT

Several factors have coincided that have allowed the racist skinhead subculture to stage a comeback:
  • Less competition. From 2002-2005, many of the major established white supremacist groups suffered serious decline and disorganization, typically due to the arrests or deaths of leaders and to serious factional fighting. Especially hard hit were the National Alliance, the Creativity Movement (as the World Church of the Creator renamed itself), and Aryan Nations. The National Alliance, in addition, alienated many racist skinheads because of anti-skinhead remarks made by the group's leaders, William Pierce and Erich Gliebe, at a conference before Pierce's death in 2002. As a result, fewer would-be white supremacists were being recruited into these established groups, causing many to turn instead to the racist skinhead subculture.

  • The Internet:

    • White power music. Since the late 1990s, the Internet has played an increasingly important role in the growth and development of fringe social movements of all sorts. But in very specific ways, it helped enable a new growth of racist skinhead activities. Perhaps most importantly, it gave new life to the white power music industry, around which much of the racist skinhead subculture revolves. Now it no longer mattered that white power music was unavailable in stores, because white power music companies could sell CDs and accessories directly to customers over the Internet. They could also establish marketing tools such as "RadioWhite," an on-line white power music Internet radio station. In 2005, RadioWhite maintained six different 24-hour music feeds, with more than 5,000 songs on its playlists.


    • Recruiting Kids. From its beginning, young people have been attracted to the Internet, and America's youth now grow up with the Internet. This has created an increased risk of young people being exposed to and attracted by white supremacist propaganda. In 1985, few people were likely to come into contact with a white supremacist, but in 2005, anybody can do so with the click of a mouse. Alienated white youth find a welcome reception on-line among white supremacists, hungry for new recruits. Young men and women who do not fit in at home or at school find it easier to fit in on-line. This has made it very easy for young people to be exposed to the online message forums and social networking Web-sites prevalent in the racist skinhead subculture.


    • Global Hate. The global reach of the Internet has allowed the creation of a truly international racist skinhead community, with international groups such as Hammerskin Nation and Blood & Honour. It has made white power music a global phenomenon and created a network of international white supremacist sites that put haters around the world in touch with each other. European racist skinheads, using the Internet, helped to play a role in reinvigorating the American scene. Now, both American and European racist skinheads are helping the subculture to expand rapidly in the countries of the former Communist bloc.

Terror Plot in Tennessee
On October 22, 2008, the Crockett County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), uncovered and prevented what could have been the deadliest extremist shooting spree in years, designed to culminate with the assassination of Barack Obama.


ADL Reports Resurgence of Racist Skinheads in U.S.
Extremism in America
Hate Symbols Database
Upcoming Extremist Events

CAVEAT: NOT EVERY SKINHEAD A RACIST
The skinhead subculture was not originally racist —and, in fact, today around the world there remain many non-racist or explicitly anti-racist skinheads (often called sharps, for “skinheads against racial prejudice”).



2009 Anti-Defamation League