Peacefully Fighting the Hate Machine
Via one of the three-too many mailing list that I subscribe to, I received what seemed to be an invitation to take part in protesting the infamous yearly Ann Arbor Klan rally. Since the early 80’s, the same group of ‘white power’ types have clashed with pretty much the same group of opposition, and although this annual melee has almost always ended with the pseudo-nazis fleeing for their miserable lives, they never fail to return the following year… which indicates that the violent means of protest perennially employed by the anti-racists has been anything but successful. Having spent seven years of my life as an avowed racist, I not only fully understand the pathetic fault inherent in that all-too-common school of thought, but I also feel that I have a good perspective on the most effective means of combating racism.
Back when I walked that way, I had taken part in more than a few of these fucked up white power ‘rallies;’ the first of which just happened to be in Ann Arbor, Michigan, back in 1988. We were a bunch of drunk-ass nihilistic punks from Milwaukee who piled out to Detroit, got drunker with the local hooligans, then piled into a U-Haul and drove to Ann Arbor to huddle behind shields made of stolen stop-signs under a rain of big ass rocks, as some fruitcake in a SS getup shouted absolutely idiotic racist tripe through a bullhorn at a completely bloodthirsty crowd. Our alcohol-induced bravery quickly wore off, and we were sent scurrying back into the U-Haul as the enraged mob broke through the police line. One would think that such a fucked up experience would discourage a 17 year old kid from following in them sassy little jack boots, but it was actually the actions of the protesters that led me to become a full-blown racist- not the antics of the pathetic motherfuckers who schemed up the rally to begin with. I remember thinking that I knew damn well what I was standing for, as I stood cowering behind a swastika shield; it was the apparent hypocrisy of the anti-racists that struck me harder than the flying chunks of asphalt. Being attacked by people waving “Peace” banners definitely helped to justify the “White Race vs. The World” mentality that ultimately took me seven years to grow out of.
Looking back on that chaotic day as I poured out a rare response, a few key points came to mind. First off, anything but peaceful protest to public racist assemblies will only serve to re-enforce the fucked up ideas that these confused people have in their heads. I must emphasize the word peaceful because I’ve seen so many people who were supposedly opposed to the absolute shit I had once represented lower themselves to my level by answering my hatred with more of the same. This left us nothing but stronger, regardless of who actually took the physical beating. As skinheads, we lived for conflict and violence- what strength we had was based upon it- those who opposed the very thought of racism and war were not only contradicting themselves by attacking us, but they were playing directly into our hands- trying to beat us at our own game, so to speak. Of all the “white power” demonstrations I’ve taken part in over the years, I can’t recall one where anti-racists did anything but help our cause by providing the conflict that we required to keep that hate driving us along.
Public demonstrations by the klowns (or whatever confused motherfuckers that may unfortunately arise) are meant to serve two purposes; the first being the need to justify and reinforce the ideology of the existing members, and the second is to somehow inspire empathy for their “cause” among the general populace. Violent protest serves both purposes nicely; those already wearing their white moo-moos will have their paranoia confirmed, i.e. “yes, our beloved white race is indeed in danger” and “yes, our little organization is indeed a threat to the anti-white system, otherwise, why would people be so upset by our presence?” I now realize how silly those statements sound, but to someone who strictly maintains such a narrow racial view of life and the world around them, those ideas are as serious as a heart attack. When a person becomes immersed in a reality of that nature, they will seek to proselytize as many others to their way of thinking as possible, and even though they may be outnumbered according to the media, and the protesters, there is inevitably going to be plenty of like-minded dorks who not only orally accept the racist tripe, but happily gargle and swallow the shit because it all-too-easily explains away exactly why they’re a loser slaving away in a factory and Michael Jordan is making straight-up bank playing basketball and selling shoes on der almighty TV. That kind of self-serving prejudice is further fueled when Joe Six-Pack-White-Guy sees hordes of mostly “non-white” protesters tearing out the sidewalk and pelting his fellow rednecks with it on the halftime “instant-newsbreak.” The end result of all this is that the already insecure armchair-racist gets pushed off his fence onto the vehement-racist side of it, as those who were already there congratulate themselves for a job well done.
The solution? The proper means of combating racism? Well, I believe that starting within yourself is the very most important aspect, and I’m talking about myself as much as anyone else. With the help of our dysfunctional, yet beloved “rave scene” or whatever you want to call it, and most of all the love of my five year-old daughter, I’ve managed to put all the hate bullshit behind me. I hope that someday within this lifetime I can honestly put race aside as well. Unfortunately I still find myself taking note of a persons “race” as I kick myself in the ass for being the way that I used to. I’ll hopefully assume that most of you reading this have already got the internal aspect covered, so here’s my bit on the social aspect: The most effective protest of white power dorks I’ve ever seen was on the (unfortunately) now defunct show “TV Nation.” They met a down-home Georgia Klan rally with a high school pom-pom squad singing “Stop In The Name Of Love,” accompanied by a straight-up real live Mexican Mariachi band serenade and a mobile kissing booth chasing the Klan-guys around for a smooch. The KKK was absolutely dumbfounded (surprise!) and came off even more moronic than they could have ever possibly made themselves look. Unable to react with what they know best -violence- the Klan pretty much just packed up their long-johns and goofy hats and went home, laughed off of their stage before they could even talk any shit. I’d wager that at least a few of those particular “Aryans” even had second thoughts about their choice of ideology, and I would definitely say that the vast majority of their target audience watching along at home were too busy giggling to pay much attention to the hate speeches. With nothing more than some cheerleaders and a Mariachi band, Michael Moore (the creator of TV Nation) put the KKK in check harder and more effectively than anybody I’ve ever seen, and nothing was hurt but the Klan’s feelings.
The bottom line is this: love, humor, music, i.e. all that’s positive, is what will someday overcome all fear in the world, and fear is the root of all fucked up shite, in my humble opinion. If you really want to make this world a better place, you must teach yourself and others to answer negative energy with positive; and as more and more people learn to do so, the better off we’re all going to be. Please remember that no matter how twisted and evil the neo-nasties/KKK/skinheads may come off, they are people- people who are afraid and misguided and who need your help much more than your hate. They’ve got plenty of the latter to go around as it is. The most effective means of teaching tolerance to others is to demonstrate it yourself, not by attempting to meet hate with hate, fist with fist.