The White Supremacist
Movement in the
United States Today
ABBY L. FERBER
Prior to the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building and the deaths of 168 people, few Americans were concerned about the organized hate movement in America. This was not, however, an isolated incident. Organizations that monitor the movement have tallied the violence for decades. Klanwatch, one of these organizations, has identified 329 white supremacist groups in existence throughout the United States. Although it is difficult to estimate the often concealed membership of these groups, the general membership in white supremacist organizations is estimated to be around 40,000, while hard-core members number 23,000 to 25,000. An additional 150,000 people purchase movement literature and take part in movement activities, and an additional 450,000 read the movement literature, even though they do not purchase it themselves ( Daniels 1997; Ezekiel 1995). The Anti-Defamation League, an organization that monitors hate groups, estimates that fifty white supremacist periodicals publish on an on- going basis ( Anti-Defamation League 1988, 1). In addition to traditional forms of communication, white supremacists are increasingly turning to the internet to spread their hate, through bulletin boards and worldwide web sites, such as the Stormfront's White Pride, World Wide home page.
Despite commonly held assumptions that white supremacists are uneducated or especially hard-hit victims of economic upheaval, contemporary white supremacist group members are similar to the U.S. population in general in terms of education, income, and occupation ( Aho 1990; Ezekiel 1995). Additionally, there are white supremacist periodicals, such as Instauration, that target highly educated audiences.
The white supremacist movement is overwhelmingly a movement of and for men. White men make up the bulk of the membership, hold all positions of leadership, and serve as the writers, publishers, and editors of their publications. Re