With the announcement that the Northwest Hammerskins are planning to hold a white power music concert in Seattle next weekend, it’s time again to look at what can be done to stop white power music. Here are a few simple tips you can use to counter the threat of white power music. For more detailed information, see the resource kit from which these ideas are excerpted, below.
Nine Ways to Stop White Power Music
Get to know the warning signs.
One of the clearest indicators of white nationalist activity in a community is the appearance of their symbols of hate. White power organizers can sometimes be identified by the symbols they wear on T-shirts, pendants, and patches. Familiarize yourself with these symbols, and keep your eyes open for them.
Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late.
Club owners and people in your scene need to be prepared well in advance for a time when they might have to respond to white power organizers attempting to recruit or intimidate individuals in your scene. If you know of white power activists organizing in a club or venue, alert the owner, promoters, and local media to the problem.
Exposing white power bands, ’zines, and record labels by distributing information at local shows can take away some of their power. Don’t hesitate to ask your favorite local band or DJ to participate by speaking out. When you discover white power music, find out that a white power show is scheduled for your town, or come across racist literature, make sure you let other people know about it. IREHR is set up to help share that information worldwide. Contact us and we can help you get the information out to everyone involved.
Speak out. Spread the word.
Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. One of the largest obstacles in countering white power music is lack of knowledge about the problem. Even within youth subcultures, there is not a clear understanding of the threat that organized bigotry presents. Talk to your peers, parents, children, teachers, and religious leaders about white power music. Remember, “Knowledge is power.”
People may not know that the band they are listening to promotes white power. Most scene ’zines and sites running ads from white power distributors, interviewing white power bands, and reviewing white power albums and CDs, do so without any awareness.
When this happens, don’t stay quiet.
Write a letter to the ’zine or site and let them know what’s going on. The best way to get people to turn down white power music is by making sure they know exactly what it is. You can also talk to your teachers and school administrators. Suggest that a speaker come to talk about the problem and discuss possible solutions. Schools can play a vital role in responding to white power music. By letting them know the problem exists, you help them get positioned to respond to it.
Talk To Local Venue Owners and Managers.
White power bands are fond of coming in through the backdoor and tricking venue owners into hosting their shows. You can make a pre-emptive strike against this tactic by talking to the owner or manager of your favorite nightclub or bar and warning them about what might be coming.
Peruse your Local Record Store and Favorite Spaces For Downloading / Streaming Music.
Take a look at the catalogs of your local record store and online music sources and do a little investigating to see if they’re carrying white power music. You might be surprised.
If you find white power music, there are some simple steps you can take. First, alert the store management. Often they do not know that they are selling the stuff. Second, notify your friends and partners about the store. If you do not find the music on the shelves, thank the store manager and give the record buyer or manager information about white power music to ensure that they won’t begin to sell it. Encourage the store to take a stand against white power music.
Get Your Favorite Band Involved.
Bands taking a public stance against hate are an important part of the struggle to build a culture of anti-racism. Write your favorite band or singer and encourage them to condemn white power music and the hatred that it represents.
Unite! And Do Something
Form your own anti-bigotry group in your school, place of worship, community center, or wherever you and others gather regularly.
Set a positive example by getting involved in the struggle to keep youth subcultures hate-free. No matter what role you play, there are ways to set a positive example that others can follow. Set up a table or make a presentation at a show. Hold a rock against bigotry concert. Create a website. Pass out fliers at the mall. Have a group over for a dinner party or house meeting.
Whatever it is that you choose to do, you will help spread the word among your friends and families that promoting white power music is not okay. Even if at first it appears to be harmless, let your people know that they are supporting things that will ultimately come crashing down on your scene.
Support Anti-Bigotry Organizations
Get active with local, national, and international organizations working to counter bigotry. If you can’t volunteer your time, consider supporting the work financially.
For more ideas and suggestions, check out this resource kit and booklet explaining white power music below.