Prime-Time Supremacy

By Alston, Joshua | Newsweek, March 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

Prime-Time Supremacy


Alston, Joshua, Newsweek


Byline: Joshua Alston

Harlan is not the charming, genteel Mayberry you'd expect from a small town in Kentucky with a population around 2,000. At least not in Justified, the new FX series starring Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a maverick U.S. marshal dispatched to Harlan after he gets trigger-happy on a suspect in a Miami restaurant. Raylan's boss thinks sending him back to his quaint small town will be the ultimate punishment. As it turns out, Raylan's childhood friend Boyd (Walton Goggins) now leads a white-supremacist group so brazenly violent, they fire rocket launchers at black churches and rob banks in broad daylight. Maybe it's just my naivete, but having lived in cities large and small, both north and south of the Mason-Dixon, I can't recall ever having seen a skinhead wash his car, or eat an ice-cream cone, or even glower from a dusky corner.

It turns out that Harlan's little local white-supremacy group is part of a real and growing problem. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, membership in white-extremist groups is ticking upward, as downtrodden, angry Caucasians seek an outlet for their anxieties about a black president, illegal immigration, and a leaky economy. Still, the supremacy surge seems to be much more acute in Hollywood than anywhere else in the country. The second season of Sons of Anarchy centered on a turf war in the town of Charming, Calif., between a white-separatist group called the League of American Nationalists and a motorcycle gang who are plenty unsavory, but at least they're not bigots. …

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