In this chapter, White Supremacy as Deviance, the editors are focusing on white supremacy as an extreme deviance. The introduction of the article explains why white supremacy is a form of extreme deviance. The editors claim that there are two answers, “first is that someone espousing such views would be rejected, condemned, denounced, and stigmatized by most (although, unhappily, not all) audiences nearly everywhere in the United States. And the second is that its ideology clashes with mainstream American values” (Goode & Vail 2008). The article continues to discuss the different aspects of white supremacy through the ideas of ethnic cleansing, hostility toward race “mixing”, sympathy for German Nazism, and many others. The chapter begins focusing on two people in particular, Matthew Hale and Tom Metzger. They both are self-proclaimed leaders of high-profiles racist groups. They go into the different groups they have organized and the media attention that they have been able to obtain in order to try and get more people to join. They also talk about the ideologies of the KKK, other white supremacy groups and the ideas of organized racism. Along with this there is an interview with Matt Hale about being the head of a pro-white racial-religious group. The interview discusses this group as a whole bouncing from things such as membership, recruiting and how they view holidays such as Martin Luther King Day. The last article within this chapter is by Tom Metzger titled “What We Believe as White Racists”. The article discusses what white racists believe in concerns with topics everyday people question such as: immigration, abortion, government, and etcetera. To close the chapter, the authors use the idea that if we quit supporting the government we would “starve the bureaucrats out” (Goode & Vail 2008), meaning the government would die without us. These are all beliefs based upon a white supremacy group or following.
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There will always be strengths and weaknesses within a text chapter and the articles presented. The strengths can be small to large things. In the case with this however there is an overall strength and then individual strengths to each item. The overall strength that is presented within the chapter is the collection of information that has been presented by the editors of the text. They editors were able to write a coherent introduction that did not leave you wondering just what they wanted to talk about. They introduced early on that works of Hale and Metzger would be included within the chapter to further divulge information about white supremacy. By doing so they are able to create a concrete idea about white supremacy and introduce various reasons as to why it might be seen as extreme deviance. Also by introducing works by other people about white supremacy, in this case actual “pro-white” people, they are able to gather information upon how these people think.
Going off of the idea that gathering information from “pro-white” people is a strength there are many examples of just why it is a strength for the idea of white supremacy as deviance. The introduction right off claims that Hale and Metzger reject the label supremacy and say that they support “racial ‘separatism,’” and they believe in “the natural superiority of whites and the inferiority of non-whites” (Goode & Vail 2008). It ties in this idea that they no longer believe themselves as supremacy but a more natural superior to all other races, which is not exactly what most white supremacists would identify with. This further strengthens the notion that it is a deviant act because along with that ideology there is claim that Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a large influence within this community (Goode & Vail 2008). By providing this information it strengthens the idea of deviant behaviours because the average person, who knows about Hitler and the Holocaust, does not condone these actions and there is that stigma of being deviant. So if they are following this kind of behaviour in a way to gain white superiority it is only fair to deem it just as deviant. Building upon the strengths of the chapter there are the strengths brought forth within the material from Hale and Metzger. With the Hale interview and Metzger article they both jump into their worlds as pro-white group leaders. Hale talks with the interviewer about his “World Church of the Creator” (Goode & Vail 2008) and how they go about doing things within this organization. They also further dive into things such as religion. Religion is also a topic that Metzger talks about in his article claiming that “the God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam [have] no basis whatsoever” (Goode & Vail 2008). He further talks about religion and in the ways how “Christianity is, in fact, a slave religion” that was adopted by the African Americans one slavery was abolished. Thus by pulling the actual beliefs of white supremacy they further the idea of just how deviant it can be in the eyes of society. However with strength comes weakness.
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A weakness within the chapter could be Metzger himself, who served as “Grand Dragon of the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan” (Goode & Vail 2008). This could be said because of the fact he mentioned that Christianity was the religion of a slave, and of course the slaves were non-whites, however what he fails to mention is the fact that the KKK are Christians (Robb, 2010). But the KKK are redundant within themselves for also disliking Jewish, and even Catholics (Trueman, 1998). However Metzger claims that “Christianity will surely destroy our reformation, if not subdued” (Goode & Vail 2008). While it was in his past that he was part of the Klu Klux Klan, it still weakens the notion that his new pro-white idea of religion is what he has always considered. Metzger is conflicting his own thoughts and theories that he has now with the past. There is a lot of underlying reasons why he would believe religion is no longer a strength to base pro-white ideology upon in the way the KKK does, but without fully divulging that it leaves the reader wondering why he would be a part of the KKK if he does not fully share their beliefs. It is within this ideology of religion that has nothing to do with the white supremacy that the weakness is further deepened.
At the beginning of the Hale interview, Hale is asked about his “racially based group called the World Church of the Creator” (Goode & Vail 2008). Hale responds with the idea that the group is a “pro-white, racial-religious organization” and claims that they have no ties to Christianity. However when they denote the idea of religion, in anyone’s eyes they would be something such as atheists, instead of this religion that they have based upon the laws of nature, they create a conflict. One group is saying that white supremacies or what they see as pro-white groups, have no religious ties, and yet another is saying well we are religious but not a well-known church religion. It is as if they are countering each other and it really does all come back to this idea of the original idea of the Klu Klux Klan and even Hitler who had a religion but this idea of an ideal race. It all begins to come down to this idea of labelling theory in reality. Because all they are doing is labelling themselves something outside of the norm that has an adverse reaction in hopes that people will see past it and want to join in their following. This has been done before in society through Jonestown. With Jonestown it was the idea that they had a pure society and what they did was right and people were after them. They were a cult with a leader who felt they were better off dead then around the rest of society. Jonestown had segregated themselves and made themselves into a community that was only accessible through membership. The people were tricked, or even “brainwashed” into believing that this was okay and normal. In a sense white supremacy is no different because it is this idea that they are better than everyone because they are white and no one else should be able to impede upon that. They have created their own groupings and churches just like Jonestown and believe what they do is okay. However society does not think so, and believe that they are just as deviant as the actions seen by Hitler. This aids in weakening the article because they do not relate the idea of white supremacy to anything, however there are many ideas that it could be linked to other than Hitler to just bring through how deviant it really is.
Overall the idea of white supremacy in the 21st Century is radical behaviour. Within the article the editors and supporting information display the idea of how it operates within today’s society. They also give insight into the life of a pro-white person and provide information on just how deviant it actually turns out to be. However they stumble upon weaknesses within the pro-white society in the case of religion amongst themselves. And they unknowingly give pro-white groups a relation to Jonestown. That being said the chapter gave enough information to understand white supremacy as deviant within society.
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Goode, E., & Vail, D. A. (2008). Extreme deviance. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press.
Robb, T. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.kkk.com/
Trueman, C. (1998). The kkk and racial problems. Retrieved from http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/kkk_and_racial_problems.htm