Hate group and Violence
A hate group can simply be defined as a group of individuals, either well or loosely organized, that exhibit hate and hostility to other people on the basis of their race, gender or ethnicity. The term hate group is relatively and selectively used. It is used mostly by sociologists and academicians and not by the groups that exhibit such behaviors. Such groups usually take offense at such a term claiming it misrepresents their motives and intentions. One key characteristics of a hate group is that it tends to view the world from a high morals stand point and accusing the target of its wrath of being unfit to be in the society.
They do this by pointing out some inherent characteristics of such a group that can be considered harmful to the society. These however are just mere beliefs with no real basis (Schafer,John R. MA & Navarro. Joe, MA, 16). Hate groups use fear as the tool of intimidation by spreading myths and false beliefs to justify their actions. The core factor behind such false hoods and negative assertions is to delegitimize such a group in the eyes of the larger society, to ensure they are secluded and blamed for the ills facing the society.
Hate groups use inaccuracies to label certain groups as extremely inferior and not befitting to be a part of a certain society. Carefully applied to achieve this are conspiracy theories and even scholarly articles that purport to support the hate groups claims. Most hate groups apply violence to achieve their key objective. They use violence to intimidate and coerce the part of the society they feel is unfriendly to their cause. A look at the major hate groups in the world reveals this. Violence however can either be a primary or a secondary means depending on the nature of the hate groups.
The Ku Klux Klan, a hate organization that has been pressing for white supremacy since the late 19th century has applied the use of violence to intimidate minority groups especially African Americans in the southern states. The White Aryan Resistance, an organization driven by the ideals of Nazism also espoused violence to achieve is objectives (Axelrod, Alan, 29). Studies conducted by sociologists on how hate groups operate have indicated that in the process of indoctrination and recruitment these groups make it clear to the news members that violence has to be meted out against the target.
This violence may be either physical or be in terms of a hate speech. Hate speech basically refers to the use of harsh language directed at a certain person or a group of individuals aimed at issuing a threat that is likely to be followed by real physical violence. Hate speech is used in place of physical violence but to has an equal force in terms of impact. The core issue behind hate speech is to intimidate the target groups or to incite group members to engage in acts of violence against the target group. Hate groups stem as a result of societal perceived inequalities.
It is driven by a false believe of we versus them, with one group blaming the other as the cause of certain problems in the society which might include poverty or other social phenomena. Psychologists have recognized the fear factor as the driving force behind hate groups. Though hate groups may have been formed as a result of a number of factors, the centrality of fear has been recognized. This is where one group fears the domination or competition of a section of the society to an extent that it explodes in to violence. Violence is hence seen as a means to arresting such domination or lessening the competition through intimidation.
This is as a result of negative values deeply ingrained through the process of indoctrination. Centrality of violence in hate groups can be seen in the materials they write about themselves, articles books and internet materials written by these groups often contain a call by the members to fight against the other target groups (Schafer,John R. MA & Navarro. Joe, MA, 16). The history of the Ku Klux Klan indicates that it was formed by the confederation veterans; their man tactic was violence especially against the blacks. This violence was sometimes extended to those thought to be sympathizers of the black race.
During the reign of KKK especially in the early part of the 20th century, lynching of blacks was a normal occurrence. They would target blacks’ houses and burn them regardless of whether the occupants were inside or not. A case in point to is noted in Louisiana during a presidential election where hundreds of blacks supporting the Republican Party were killed so as to ensure that all voted for the Democratic Party (Newton, Michael; Judy Ann Newton, 29). The White Aryan Resistance has also been of meting violence against some specific racial groups.
There are a number of neo-Nazi hate groups that exists in the United States and across Europe. Though the application of violence for these groups may have subsided due to the stringent laws and vigilance from the law enforcement agencies, these groups inspiration still stems from the Nazi war when Hitler sought to eliminate Jews to create a pure race. Nazism, during the era of Hitler is an exemplification of how hate groups use violence to achieve their objectives. Hitler ordered the annihilation of millions of Jews and other non pure races (Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah, 124).
The invention of the internet as an important medium of communication brought renewed enthusiasm and rejuvenation of most of the hate groups. The internet provides them with a perfect window of opportunity through which members can publish their hate speeches and urge violence against their target groups. The internet has also brought with it cross border publicity and exposure. There are renewed fears that with such reinvigoration of these groups through the internet may witness increase in hate groups’ violence. Perry Barbara has noted this metamorphosis especially in the United States noting that hate groups have become professionalized.
They have repackaged their messages with an intention of moving themselves into the mainstream politics. With such a metamorphosis, violence is also expected to take new shape and form (2000, 113). According to the Anti Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, produced in 1987, though a number of hate groups have witnessed diminished membership in the United States , there is still evidence of considerable number of incidents of violence carried out by the members. Ku Klux Klan membership has currently fallen to an insignificant proportion.
This form of violence has been in terms of murder and robberies as well as rare incidences of bombings mostly directed towards the Jews and blacks. The reduction of the membership in hate groups has been fuelled by cultural changes especially as the world moves toward increased tolerance. The police have also increased then number of arrests and convictions. Federals laws have also been changed to give more weight to hate crimes. There has also been a number of financial compensation from the hate group organizations to victims of violence that is hate oriented (Newton, Michael; Judy Ann Newton, 24).
There are those who have alluded to the fact that terrorism is also a form of a hate crime only that it is at the extreme end. A look at the motivations behind terrorism indicates that some of the terrorist organizations are hate groups. Terrorist organizations usually cite religious, racial or ethnic concerns. There are those that mete out violence against people of a particular origin or religious inclination. The big difference arises where terrorist organizations are driven by political concerns, concerns that may only be directed against a particular political establishment rather than to the general population.
This paper has established as a fact that most mainstream hate groups always resort to violence as a means to achieving a certain objective. They use violence to intimidate their target victims with the hope that they will diminish their domination or presence in the society. However this does not mean that all hate groups resort to violence. There are others with mundane concerns and mild in terms of their organization and do not necessarily use violence. These ones use hate speeches and literature to prove their point and try to ignite passion in the society against their target groups.
Internet is filled with such groups that only use foul words to disparage a certain group of individuals. However it is important to note that it is these small organizations that later proceed to become large groups with a potential of unleashing terror against their target victims. It is more than apparent that violence is an effective tool used by hate groups to spread fear and incapacitate another racial, ethnic or religious group. A look at the history of Ku Klux Klan indicates that they have always applied violence as a tactic to intimidate a certain section of the society.
The activities of many of these hate groups were more intense and more violent during the blacks struggle for equality, in the recent past however violence has subsided as law enforcement agencies have become more vigilant. The society has also become more tolerant and these organizations are finding it hard to recruit new members other channels of airing their sentiments like the internet have come up.
Perry, Barbara. Button-Down Terror: The Metamorphosis of the Hate Movement. Sociological Focus Vol. 33 .No. 2, May 2000, 113. Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans the Holocaust . Knopf, 1996, p. 124. Schafer,John R. MA & Navarro. Joe, MA . The seven-stage hate model: The psychopathology of hate groups. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin. March 2003, 16 Axelrod, Alan. The International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies & Fraternal Orders. New York: Facts on File. 1997, 29 Newton, Michael; Judy Ann Newton . The Ku Klux Klan: An Encyclopedia. New York & London: Garland Publishing. 1991, 24Sample Essay of Masterpapers.com