"Ezekiel's pointed volume is the best available modern source for grasping the psychological foundations of the Radical Right."—Thomas F Pettigrew, Univ. of Cal., Santa Cruz.
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Resentment, anger, and fear ignite the vanguard of white militant racist organizations. Plagued by a fear of the federal government, which they believe to be a tool of a satanic Jewish conspiracy, members create a climate of rhetoric , demonstration, and deed that nurtures hatred, fear, and acts of violence across America. "Praise God for AIDS", they cry at their rallies. Full of animosity and ignorance, they call for the deportation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, and the extermination of Jews, Communists, and gays. Readers can enter this secretive arena by following Raphael Ezekiel as he probes The Racist Mind: Portraits of American Neo-Nazis and Klansmen. Ezekial spent ten years researching Nazi and Klan groups in Idaho, California, Michigan, and Georgia. Mixing personal commentary and interpretation with a series of strikingly candid interviews, Ezekiel paints a chillingly honest and gripping portrait of the racist mindset. He talks in depth with militant leaders and their followers, including young men who idolize Hitler and who fear that the Jewish elite control everything, from the media to business to government. Ezekiel goes one-on-one with members of the "Death's Head Strike Group", a neo-nazi group operating out of Detroit, Michigan. Together, they compose a portrait of young people, most in their late teens or early twenties, with empty lives starved for potency and meaning. Ezekiel spoke at length with major national leaders from groups such as the Aryan Nations, the White Aryan Resistance, and the Southern White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan. The voices of the notorious Richard Butler, Tom Metzger, and Dave Holland resonate throughout the text , as we hear the speeches at major Nazi and Klan rallies. Ezekiel asks what are the ideas that are being expressed and what role do they play in the lives of the people who are speaking? How does the racism of militant organizations relate to the racism of everyday American life. The Racist Mind is sure to be one of the most significant books on this subject. Carefully combining interview material, observation, and analysis, Ezekiel provides a foundation for understanding the personal and the social roots of organized white racism. This masterful and penetrating analysis takes us behind the swastikas to a place that many of us may fear or revile -- but where all of us need to go. -- Midwest Book ReviewFrom Publishers Weekly:
Despite his somewhat diffuse fieldwork, University of Michigan psychology professor Ezekiel offers some solid sociological and psychological insights into the character of contemporary American hate groups and their members. First, he describes the hostility?especially toward him, a Jew?and the chilling illogic he observed at a Klan rally and an Aryan Nations gathering. He then portrays three national leaders?Tom Metzger, of the White Aryan Resistance; Dave Holland, of Southern White Knights; and Richard Butler, Aryan Nations?observing that they and their groups have less to do with action than with venting feelings of victimization. Men like Metzger, argues Ezekiel, are charismatic loners manipulating their "small world." He then offers extensive profiles of the angry, sad and often pathetic members of a Detroit neo-Nazi group?poor whites in a majority-black city whose racial fears differentiate them from national groups that mainly demonize "the Jew." Most of these men, Ezekiel notes, lost a parent when they were young, and they grew up vulnerable and disconnected. The author doesn't divorce such racism from the country's troubled racial climate, but he suggests that teens can be diverted from such militancy via "mentorship and constructive alternatives."
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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