White Supremacists and the Mainstream Right-Wing

In an interesting new video called “White Power U.S.A.,” filmmakers Rick Rowley and Jacquie Soohen explore the contemporary white supremacist movement and the overlap with more mainstream right-wing political movements, such as anti-immigration groups (h/t to @June4th via Twitter). The video originally aired on Al-Jazeera on January 6, and is in the format of a news magazine story; it’s on the long side for web video (23:58) but well worth the time to watch:

Part of what I appreciate about this video clip is the attempt by Rowley and Soohen to connect the extremist groups with the more mainstream groups, an argument I made in my earlier book White Lies (1997). Another interesting bit near the end comes when a “new recruit” says something off the script of white supremacy, and the organizer of the group explains this by saying that people really become indoctrinated into the ideology once they’re in the organization and begin reading, and internalizing, the movement rhetoric. This is a point that I mentioned in the earlier book and develop in the most recent one, Cyber Racism (2009). This story illustrates how social movement recruitment tends to work. People are recruited into social movement organizations through personal connections: by neighbors, friends, relatives. Then, once inside the organization, they read and internalize the movement rhetoric.