Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement

Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement

Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement

Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement


Kathleen M. Blee's disturbing and provocative look at the hidden world of organized racism focuses on women, the newest recruiting targets of racist groups and crucial to their campaign for racial supremacy. Through personal interviews with women active in the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi groups, Christian Identity sects, and white power skinhead gangs across the United States, Blee dispels many misconceptions of organized racism. Women are seldom pushed into the racist movement by any compelling interest, belief, or need, she finds. Most are educated. Only the rare woman grew up poor. Most were not raised in abusive families. Most women did not follow men into the world of organized racism.

"Inside Organized Racism offers a fascinating examination of the submerged social relations and the variety of racist identities that lie behind the apparent homogeneity of the movement. Following up her highly praised study of the women in the 1920s Ku Klux Klan, Blee discovers that many of today's racist women combine dangerous racist and anti-Semitic agendas with otherwise mainstream lives. Few of the women she interviews had strong racist or anti-Semitic views before becoming associated with racist groups. Rather, they learned a virulent hatred of racial minorities and anti-Semitic conspiratorial beliefs by being in racist groups. The only national sample of a broad spectrum of racist activists and the only major work on women racists, this well-written and important book


At a racist gathering on the West Coast, Frank, a skinhead from Texas, sidled up to me to share his disgust at an event so mild it was “something you could see on the family channel.” At his side, Liz echoed his sentiment, complaining that she felt trapped in a “Baptist church social.” We chatted some more. Frank boasted that this was nothing like he expected. He made the long trip to “get his juices going, ” not to be part of something concocted by “wimps.” Liz agreed, pointing with disdain to a group of women hauling boxes of hamburger buns over to a large grill.

I found their reactions baffling. To me, the scene was horrifying, anything but mundane. Frank's arms were covered with swastika tattoos. On his head was a baseball cap with a comic-like depiction of an African American man being lynched. Liz's black skirt, hose, and boots accentuated the small Klan cross embroidered on her white tailored shirt. The rituals of historical hatred being enacted in front of us seemed far from disappointingly “tame, ” as Frank and Liz's complaints suggested. A cross was doused with gasoline and set ablaze. People spoke casually of the need to “get rid” of African Americans, immigrants, Jews, gay men and lesbians, and Asian Americans, or exchanged historical trivia purporting to expose the Holocaust as a Zionist hoax.

Later that night, the rally's leaders called everyone into headquarters to don robes and hoods. It was then that I regretted not taking notice of people's shoes earlier in the day. After our initial conversation, I de-

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