American Skinheads Essay, Research Paper The closely shaved scalp and spouting white-supremacist beliefs are difficult to miss. Indeed, American skinheads have carved out a niche for their radical and very violent approach to what they deem as social and racial injustice, much the same way the Ku Klux Klan has achieved for its members throughout the twentieth century.
American Skinheads Essay, Research Paper
The closely shaved scalp and spouting white-supremacist beliefs are difficult to miss. Indeed, American skinheads have carved out a niche for their radical and very violent approach to what they deem as social and racial injustice, much the same way the Ku Klux Klan has achieved for its members throughout the twentieth century. As the world continues to spiral toward complete and utter eradication, there exists a select sector of the population that refuses to allow this to happen without at least a good fight. American skinheads have long been at the forefront of controversy in their indignation toward racial intolerance. These ordinary citizens believe the very social bureaucracy that it is supposed to protect is deceiving the entire country ? and even the world. They staunchly support the idea of running headlong into the alleged racial problem, wheeling firearms and taking control, just as much as they believe this to be the only way that white supremacy will ever dominate social thought. “Skinheads have a view of the world; it may be coarse, but it is not empty” (Mousavideh 70). I. LEGAL PERSPECTIVE While their efforts are born out of a desire to protect their particular race, American skinheads have been credited with scores of violent offenses, often inappropriately representing their ultimate cause. It is with great respect and dedication to their race that these militants work toward defending the world from negative impact of racial integration; however, in spite of their underlying desire to clean up the social wrongdoing, their actions oftentimes prove detrimental to their quest. Indeed, it can readily be argued that American skinheads are no different than any other militia group when it comes to attempting to assert its myopic opinion upon the general population. “The US states should pass and enforce laws banning private militias, and the federal government should enact backup legislation, to protect us all from unaccountable private armies. The Second Amendment protects state militias acting in the name of, and accountable to, the entire people. Private armies may act in the public good, but there is no way other than violence to enforce this. Democracy means that differences are settled and problems resolved by public debate and discussion, not armed force” (Dees et al A19). Because they believe they are doing right by the white race, they also believe that they are “exempt from the laws and regulations” (Freeh PG) that all others have to follow. This defiance to abide by accepted principles is a primary reason why they are often regarded as trouble-making societal fringe desiring nothing more than to cause problems and wreak havoc. Therein lies the decisive factor of the matter: that these American skinheads truly endorse their questionable activities as being in the best interest of the entire white race. In spite of the fact that their intentions may certainly be honorable in their eyes, the execution is what has led them to acquire less than admirable reputations with the law, other ethnic groups and the general public. One of the many legal issues at hand is such that those who partake in violent demonstrations do not readily perceive of their activities as being socially or racially unacceptable; instead, they truly believe that they are doing the white race justice by protecting them from the infiltration of other races. As the influx of skinheads has steadily increased over the recent years, the inherent threat associated with their existence has become even more of a grave concern. Not only are ethnic groups paying close attention to their activities, but average citizens have also grown cautious of the militant attitudes that supposedly protect white supremacy. One of the primary focal points of concern with regard to skinhead activity is the intrinsic connection to extremism and terrorist agendas. Radicals like the skinheads who engage in criminal acts commit a wide variety of criminal activities. “The overriding concern now facing law enforcement is how rapidly the threats from terrorists and criminals are changing, particularly in terms of technology, and the resulting challenge to law enforcement’s ability to keep pace with those who wish to do harm to our nation and our nation’s citizens” (Freeh PG). II. RACIAL PERSPECTIVE American skinheads formed as a means by which to voice their opposition to any racial infiltration. In their quest to separate the white race from all others, such assemblages were formed so that Caucasian society may reap the benefits of their assertive actions. Espousing the praises of white supremacy, the core group of such American skinheads is most assuredly Caucasian; just as much as they believe that their duty is to save people from racial infiltration, they view themselves as “sovereign citizens” (Freeh PG) who have the inherent right to engage in the various — and sometimes violent — activities in which they participate. Their belief is that fire must be matched with fire, giving license for their use of military force and other violent applications. Local governments are also feeling the pressure of American skinheads that attempt to impose physical violence as a means by which to prove their point. It has become quite obviously that the one-time small majority of violent mongers have, indeed, taken over in earnest with regard to how American skinheads operate. Why do American skinheads feel that the only way to address the perceived problem at hand is to take a violent approach? For the most part, it is due to the fact that they are convinced that without such a show of force, no one would listen to and truly hear their white supremacist message. Being that their overall mission is supposed to protect the white citizenry rather than do it harm, they have convinced themselves that the only way to be noticed and to have everyone recognize them as a force to be reckoned with is through a strong show of violence. While this approach might have had merit in theory, the reality has brought American skinheads anything but support. Indeed, the ongoing and escalating violent tendencies have proven to be the potential manifestation of dangerous events. Without question, not all American skinheads pose a dangerous threat to society, given the fact that all demonstrations are not necessarily of a violent nature. However, those who indulge in violent activity cast a wide brush over the entire American skinhead movement, branding all races as a potential threat to the future of white supremacy. As evidence that more and more skinheads are geared toward the violent approach to address racial intolerance, multiple situations have been recorded to demonstrate this allegation. The inherent and underlying threat that inherently accompanies American skinhead activities has been instrumental in stipulating the ongoing presence of threatening racially intolerant activity. “One day soon, one of these groups is going to declare war” (Anonymous 62). Indeed, an individual who espouses racial intolerance as part and parcel of being a human being is not an individual many others would appreciate being around, that is unless the other person shares the same inclination toward white supremacy. “The challenge of living among diversity is to construe morality in such a way that it is flexible enough to accommodate very diverse circumstances and life-styles, but not yet to give up on a vision of a shared conception of the good life. An ethic of responsibility challenges us to recognize that there are alternative visions of the good life that can coexist within a social web of relationships” (Davis 240). Racial tolerance is at an all-time low in the United States. With all the immigrants who have made America their home, it has now become difficult to travel any part of the country without seeing evidence of a multi-cultural nation. This fact has not set well with American skinheads who feel their country has become nothing more than a dumping ground for the rest of the world. The people drawn to American skinhead groups represent an ever-growing population of angry youths undergoing an identity crisis as a direct result of empty school and family lives. “It wasn’t his mother who made him bad. It was the men in his life. Those who failed to provide him with an image of what a good man could be are just as much to blame as those who waded in to take advantage of his weakness. Perhaps it is here, in male culture, not in mothering, that we should look for the seeds of violence and crime” (Phillips 32). That society is responsible for giving birth to such aspects of disillusionment and anger, it only stands to reason that groups like the American skinheads represent a means by which to attempt to escape such unmitigated social discontentment. “The simple solutions offered by this and other supposedly ‘radical Left’ organizations provide a quick-fix for their identity problems as well as an outlet for their anger and aggression. The success of these organizations is the distressing result of the Left’s failure to build an effective alternative to the hateful and victim-blaming ideology of the Right. If the politics of meaning could reach this constituency, I sincerely believe that it could provide a viable alternative. The failure to fill the political, educational, and social void of America’s angry and leaderless youth could have disastrous consequences for the country’s future” (P 62). Even today, there is still a considerable amount of white privilege permeating throughout the country on account of American skinheads; one would have thought that by this time on the evolutionary timeline that human beings would have come to accept one another as the individuals they are, without branding one race as better or worse than the other. However, that is far from reality as skinheads continue to spit out their racial hatred toward all other races. After all this time of seeing how racism and white privilege drives such a cultural wedge among and between societies, what is the answer to effectively stop its unceasing continuation? Will there ever come a point when the white race will step down from its self-constructed cultural tower and acknowledge the worthiness of all other races? Characteristic of humanity’s constant quest for the concept of meaning, the journey of understanding has come to represent countless things to multiple people, ultimately rendering any universal explanation virtually impossible. The problem with meaning as it applies to racial intolerance is attempting to successfully pinpoint a single yet comprehensive implied meaning to its concept; however, this cannot be achieved as long as any two individuals harbor decidedly different interpretations. Establishing values is an integral component of personhood. Indeed, it can readily be argued that the concepts of valuing and values are the fundamental basis of humanity’s duty and obligation to accept all racial sectors. The American skinheads are void of any social conscience, just as much as their primary objective is to further segregate the already isolated race relations. III. CONCLUSION It is nearly impossible to escape racial stereotypes, for they exist all throughout society. From where do such harmful and often distorted images originate, and why have they not decreased over the past several decades? If one considers the fact that each person is a product of his own environment, it is easy to see that the influence of his surroundings is critical to forming his racial image. Overcoming stereotypical racial images is not an easy accomplishment; indeed, to achieve this goal and ultimately bring harmony among American skinheads will require a great deal of personal soul searching. Generations upon generations have — for lack of a better word ? been brainwashed into believing that the white race is far superior to all others. Reprogramming such intrinsic concepts is not something that will be carried through in any short amount of time. In fact, each step forward toward a smidgen of cultural harmony is often met with a significant force of resistance from those like American skinheads who believe that white privilege is the manner by which the world was constructed. It is the considerable “ignorance of the legacy of racism” (Bivins ARC) that continues to drive the wedge even further. However, it is essential to recognize the misgivings of the past in order to effect positive growth in the future. The moral and political commitments that arise from this application are essential to the continued growth of humanity, in general, and the individual races, in particular. Some contend that by removing the negative influence that such organizations as the American skinheads bring to society, it would be the same as removing a significantly important process of life. Indeed, there are innumerable negative aspects to society’s existence, but each and every one is instrumental in molding subsequent generations. “It will make as much sense to deny young learners access to the darker chapters of our history as to banish most of the literature that we treasure as part of our cultural achievements” (Nash 39). Indeed, to mask such “somber episodes” (Nash 39) as being an important part of global history is to deny that there exists white supremacy or racism. In order for the next generation of children to impart a fair and unbiased view of all race, class and gender, history must then be allowed to emerge from the depths of tragic consequence in order to benefit them a more tolerant perspective than what has been reflected by the American skinheads. Those who adopt such stringent convictions must also understand that if people are never to know the horrors of the past, ultimately they will not be successful at defending themselves against “those who would abuse or annihilate them” (Nash 39).
References Anonymous. “Militia terror..,” Maclean’s, vol. 111, (1998) : January, pp. 62(1). Bivins, Larry (1998, September). Ignorance, stereotypes block constructive dialogue on race, report concludes. Gannett News Service, pp. ARC. Broad, Kendal; Jenness, Valerie. (1997). Hate Crimes: New Social Movements and the Politics of Violence. (Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York). Davis, Burnet V. (1997, September). The socially responsive self: Social theory and professional ethics. Perspectives on Political Science, vol. 26, pp. 240(2). Dees, Morris; Williams, David. “Militia claims baseless.,” The National Law Journal, vol. 18, (1996) : May, pp. A19. Freeh, Louis J. “World wide threats to national security: Louis J. Freeh.,” Congressional Testimony, (1998) : January, pp. online. Gay, Kathlyn. (1997). Neo-Nazis: A Growing Threat. Issues in Focus, (Enslow Publishers, Inc.). Hamm, Mark S. (1993). American Skinheads: The Criminology and Control of Hate Crime. (Praeger Publishers). Mousavideh, Nader. “Civil wars: From L.A. to Bosnia. (book reviews).,” The New Republic, vol. 211, (1994) : November, pp. 70(4). Phillips, Angela. “Like father, like son. (causes of juvenile delinquency).,” New Statesman & Society, vol. 6, (1993) : November, pp. 32(2). Polakow-Suransky, Sasha. “From apathy to activism: challenging America’s disempowered youth.,” Tikkun, vol. 21, (1997) : January-February, pp. 62(2).
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