Music to Hate By
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Last October, ABC News profiled 14-year-old twin sisters Lamb and Lynx Gaede and their white supremacist band Prussian Blue. It branded them the new musical spokes-kids for white supremacy -- which ignited rage and disgust in their hometown of Bakersfield, California.
The sisters' mother said she wanted a whiter place to live, and moved to Kalispell, Montana. That didn't quiet the furor. A group of enraged townspeople are now circulating flyers headed, "No Hate Here" and demanding that the family pack up and leave.
That may or may not be a good thing. After all, as odious as their hate message is, the twins and their mom have the right to say and sing what they want. But even if they were given the swift boot from town, their music and the influence they may have over some impressionable and naÃ¯ve white 13 to 19-year-old teens (their target audience) can't easily be booted away.
Prussian Blue pumps their music through the 24-hour Internet Radio White and other websites. The sites feature more than 5000 youth-oriented white supremacist songs on their playlists. They market their songs through record labels and websites.
The twins cleverly mix personal, introspective, giggly teen chatter in their lyrics, along with patriotic appeals to fight for freedom, to a stomp-down toe-tapping rock beat. That appeals to the musical tastes of many youth. The songs can easily be slipped into an MP3 player and listened to away from the prying ears of adults.
In "I Will Bleed For You," for example, they make a plea for pride and dignity: "Have you no pride in your heritage, and no pride in your name. I'm glad that I'm not like you. I know my children are proud of me. Mine will always stay free."
White supremacist groups quickly spotted a good thing in Prussian Blue. A critic on the National Vanguard website gushed over the release of the group's second album, "The Stranger." He hailed it as the first white nationalist album that appeals to young (white) girls. The potential tap of the mainstream alternative rock market potentially could translate into millions of listeners and thousands of sales.
The twins' lyrical deception is crucial in order to sell their race-baiting ideology to teens. Much of the public frowns on the crude racism and anti-Semitism of the old Klan. Racial and gender slurs and assaults against minorities, women, gays and feminists are considered publicly impolite. And white supremacist groups have adjusted to the times. They borrow the technique politicians perfected during the past quarter century to win white votes. They use racial and gender-inferred double speak, code words and code concepts.
In the 1960's, it was law and order, crime in the streets, rampant permissiveness, and out-of-touch federal bureaucrats. In the 1970's it was high taxes, crime and OPEC. In the 1980's and 1990s it was heavy-handed government, welfare cheats, drug dealers and gang bangers.
The federal government is an omnipresent force for Americans. White supremacist groups have transformed the government into an evil instrument that wrings hard earned tax dollars from the shrinking incomes of the white middle-class. The money, they rail, goes to subsidize welfare scamming women, crime prone-blacks and Latinos and assorted social and gender deviants. Many white males are gripped by the ultra-paranoid delusion that the government conspires with minorities, women and the poor to marginalize them.
Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, punched all the code buttons in angry letters in 1992. He railed against crime, high taxes, corrupt politicians, government mismanagement and the "eroding American Dream." McVeigh made only a passing comment on race and nothing on gender. It wasn't necessary.
The new breed white supremacist groups are also helped by the storehouse of dodge tactics many Americans employ to mask racism. They accuse blacks of always "making an issue out of race." They avoid having any physical or personal contact with blacks. They get angry or defensive when racial issues are raised. They resist programs for ostensibly non-racial reasons that they perceive directly or indirectly benefit minorities.
The immigration reform battle has created a fertile new field for white supremacy groups to slip in their race- coded bigotry, and corral new recruits. They play on the anxiety and fears of many American over illegal immigration, and cloak their message of white purity in a call to defend the borders and halt an alleged alien invasion. The Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks 700 hate groups, in its latest Intelligence Report notes a jump in the number of threats and outright physical attacks on Hispanics. The Klan, Neo-Nazi and racist skinheads have also staged anti-immigration rallies and marches. The twins appeared at one of those rallies and sported "Stop Immigration" t-shirts.
Prussian Blue's disarming lyrics and soft-sale marketing has touched off warning bells among the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that monitor hate groups. They warn school officials to be on the alert for sneaky efforts by the hate groups to recruit youth through catchy rock songs. The popularity and deadly innocence of two 14- year-old singers give the warning even more urgency.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is a political analyst and social issues commentator, and the author of the forthcoming book The Emerging Black GOP Majority (Middle Passage Press, September 2006), a hard-hitting look at Bush and The GOP's court of black voters.