Monday, February 28, 2005
A scary and funny story about Harmon Leon's attempt to infiltrate a white supremacist group in CA. It's long, but worth it. Some choice cuts below.
...I decide to infiltrate a white supremacist hate group by posing as an eager new recruit, a new hater, if you will. I want to put a face on extreme hate, to find out the hobbies of haters, what haters find hot and what haters find not. I want to learn what someone in a hate group really loooooooves. Ice cream? Everyone loves ice cream. I love ice cream. Maybe hate groups love ice cream, too?
The next hurdle: a little new-potential-hater questionnaire I'm asked to fill out. I start by answering with extreme sarcasm:
Ethnic background: "What do you think! Come on!"
Profession: "Children's birthday party entertainer"
What prompted you to want to become a racial activist or at least look into it?: "I really want to get more involved in activism in my community. I work well with others and have good organizational skills. I have a pickup truck if that's needed at any events."
Then I throw in for good measure: "Also, I hate the Jews! Lol"
And in closing I add, "Where shall we meet?"
The local leader of the hate group -- an organization that is a direct spinoff from the old American Nazi Party and that sees itself as carrying on Hitler's dream to purify the white race and prevent Jews and blacks from degrading "our" culture -- responds:
"How about Applebee's? I'll be coming with my wife, baby, and one other member. We can meet in the reception area. I'll be coming with two women and a baby?"
Bingo! I've got a date with hate! And who doesn't love Applebee's? It has quality dinners and a wide selection -- and all at budget prices!
As the menu is being sought, we, the men of the table, get down to the business of hate discussion while the racist womenfolk make cutesy baby talk to the gurgling infant.
"Crazy baby boy," coos his racist mom, who recommends reading David Duke's book The Awakening because it changed her life. "You're such a good boy."
Race hater Kevin asks where I live. I tell him I'm about to move up from the Bay Area.
"It's really horrible about the Asian problem there," the dumpy blond girl chimes in, speaking for the first time tonight, matter-of-factly, as if making small talk about the traffic or baseball scores.
[Long pause.] "Uh, yeah." [Pause.] "The Asian problem." [Pause.] "That's why I'm planning on moving up here."
Before leaving, I ask Kevin, "What made you decide to join the organization?"
He pauses, turning a bit reflective, almost philosophical. Perhaps, I think, he is about to provide a true, meaningful insight into the complex psychology of white supremacy.
"I always hated minorities," he states bluntly. "I've always never really liked being around them. They always made me feel uncomfortable. So when I was 14, I decided to do something about it."
"We were old-school skinheads from way back," the racist soccer mom says perkily.
Now I see it. This is what happens to skinheads when they grow up, have kids, and move to the suburbs. They become fatherly, respectable, racist white supremacists, the kind you'd wave to at the company picnic...
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