Monday, May 24, 2010

Roots of Racism

My son's history class has been studying WWII the past month and one student recommended the movie "American History X" to understand how the Nazi mentality carries forward today in the organization known as the Skinheads.  The movie is extremely well done and a "muscled up" Edward Norton does a phenomenal job in the lead role. 

The movie does an excellent job of illustrating the evolution of hatred, racism, and xenophobia in the ideologically and emotionally weak. It's easy to "herd" a group of lost souls seeking some place to displace their anger and personal frustration.

After watching the movie, I pondered what the trend might be in hate groups.  The Google Elves tell me this:

"From white power skinheads decrying "President Obongo" at a racist gathering in rural Missouri, to neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen hurling epithets at Latino immigrants from courthouse steps in Oklahoma, to anti-Semitic black separatists calling for death to Jews on bustling street corners in several East Coast cities, hate group activity in the U.S. was disturbing and widespread throughout 2008, as the number of hate groups operating in America continued to rise. Last year, 926 hate groups were active in the U.S., up more than 4% from 888 in 2007. That's more than a 50% increase since 2000, when there were 602 groups.  As in recent years, hate groups were animated by the national immigration debate. But two new forces also drove them in 2008: the worsening recession, and Barack Obama's successful campaign to become the nation's first black president. Officials reported that Obama had received more threats than any other presidential candidate in memory, and several white supremacists were arrested for saying they would assassinate him or allegedly plotting to do so.  At the same time, law enforcement officials reported a marked swelling of the extreme-right "sovereign citizens" movement that wreaked havoc in the 1990s with its "paper terrorism" tactics. Adherents are infamous for filing bogus property liens and orchestrating elaborate financial ripoffs.  Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't just the usual suspects from the white supremacist underworld who sought to exploit the country's economic turmoil and political strife. A key 2008 hate group trend was the increasing militancy of the extremist fringe of the Hebrew Israelite movement, whose adherents believe that Jews are creatures of the devil and that whites deserve death or slavery.  These radical black supremacists have no love for Barack Obama, calling him a "house nigger" and a puppet of Israel. They preach to inner-city blacks that evil Jews are solely responsible for the recession. The rhetoric of white-skinned hate group leaders in 2008 was equally alarming. Last September, for example the cover of National Socialist magazine depicted then-presidential nominee Barack Obama in the crosshairs of a scope, with the headline 'Kill This Nigger?' "
Source: When Giants Fall: An Economic Roadmap for the End of the American Era , Michael Panzner

 This chart from the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates a steady upward trend of hate groups since 2000.

The chart above aligns well with the mass social mood cycle model below with 2000 as the beginning of a new cycle.

The chart below of the Dow/Gold Ratio provides a longer historical reference.

When mammals get fearful, they herd.  Hate groups provide great shelter and support for the fearful and angry.  Keep your eyes open and ears to the ground as this thing unfolds.

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