many ways white supremacist discourse rearticulates traditional American racial ideology. After all, it was not until 1967 that laws forbidding interracial marriage were declared unconstitutional, and throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, American scientists argued that racial intermixture with "inferior stock" would lead to the degeneration of the white race. In fact, it was American eugenicists who developed the ideas that Hitler appropriated to justify his goal of racial "purity."
The white supremacist movement is able to successfully attract new recruits whose ideas about race have been cultivated by what we consider "mainstream" society. For example, the baseless assumption that people can be classified into biological racial categories and that race and gender identity are immutable and rooted in nature are widespread, yet these assumptions provide the foundation for white supremacist views about race and gender.
As the Anti-Defamation League points out in its report on the skinhead problem, "in those instances where the Skins have had a major impact, it is largely because their views were shared by a broader segment of the population" ( Anti- Defamation League 1996). It is crucial, then, that we explore the ways in which white supremacist ideology is similar to mainstream racial ideologies. I believe that if we are to combat white supremacist activity, the only way to begin is by attacking our own racist assumptions. These may be less overt, but they are far more dangerous.
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