Monday, October 22, 2007

NGC Exposes American Skinheads

The rhetoric can be violent and the crimes brutal: “It’s time to start killing these people … that’s the only way!” Out to destroy anyone who threatens the purity of the white race, racist skinheads are aggressively waging a racial war in the United States. And their numbers are growing.

On Wednesday, November 14, 2007, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) delves into one of the fastest-growing and most violent segments of the white power movement in the United States today — American Skinheads. Featuring first-person insight from racist skinhead leaders, sociologists, law enforcement agents and undercover investigators, this compelling one-hour special takes an inside look at how the racist skinhead movement has evolved since its inception in the United States almost 30 years ago. National Geographic Channel cameras take you inside a secret white power meeting in Indiana where members are encouraged to eschew the traditional skinhead shaved head and steel-toed boot look to blend into mainstream society — “Pretend you’re something you’re not … to get the job done.” From secret codes on the Internet to blatant violent lyrics in head-banger metal music, racist skinheads are finding more and more ways to get their message across and fuel their revolution.

American Skinheads also features interviews with another kind of skinhead — who may still sport the shaved head look but not the racist philosophy. Meet James (pseudonym), a member of Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP), who claim “pride without prejudice.” They feel pride in their race and their working-class roots, but they ideologically oppose racism and often protest racist skinhead rallies and marches. Andre Aggro (pseudonym), a former racist skinhead who now considers himself a traditional skinhead, talks openly about how he changed his life and works to pull out members that he himself recruited.

Once a radical fringe group comprised of anti-establishment punk rockers and white supremacists, racist skinheads have developed an underground nationwide revolutionary movement with secret meetings, elder statesmen and an ambitious agenda — to overthrow the government and put the white race firmly in control. Their beliefs are similar to Nazi ideals: People of color as well as Jews and homosexuals are inferior to the white race. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there are more than 110 recognized racist skinhead organizations in the United States, and since 2001, the total number of racist skinheads has doubled to an estimated 10,000.

American Skinheads takes a look at a variety of groups and their violent methodologies, from the white supremacist gangs in Arizona who hunt down illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican-American border, to the vicious kicking and beating of a white man mistaken for a drug addict in Tacoma, Wash., by four skinheads, including a pregnant woman who wanted to earn “red laces” to prove she had participated in a violent criminal act. The victim, Randy Townsend, was attacked because drug addicts and dealers are considered a threat to the purity of the white race. Perhaps the most tragic detail of this horrific crime is that Randy was indeed on drugs — to treat his schizophrenia.

“In the past several years there has been a real resurgence of racist skinhead activity in the United States … the amount of criminal activity generated has been considerable,” according to Mark Pitcavage, Ph.D., director of research, the Anti-Defamation League. “This is a movement that hates…. They have an ideology that is … centered on … hatred of people who are not like them and it … compels them to act against those people.”

Also featured in the program are the following:

Andre Aggro (pseudonym), former Volksfront (racist group) member
Randy Blazak, sociologist, Portland State University
Detective Matt Browning, Mesa, Ariz., Police Department
Sandra Harrell, Sister of Washington hate crime victim Randy Townsend
Michele Lefkowith, undercover investigator for the Anti-Defamation League
Loretta Ross, formerly of the Center for Democratic Renewal
Detective Jeff Shipp, Tacoma, Wash., Police Department

Keith Carney, Pennsylvania skinhead
Martin Cox, skinhead leader, California
Erich Gliebe, National Alliance leader and president of racist record label Resistance Records
Dennis Mahon, former Ku Klux Klan leader
Tom Metzger, radio host (“The Insurgent”) and former Ku Klux Klan member
Jason Tankersley, Maryland skinhead and co-director of racist record label Label 56

American Skinheads is produced by M2 Pictures for the National Geographic Channel. For M2 Pictures, series producer is Raymond W. Walsh; producer, writer and director is Mike Sinclair; and editor is Andrew Monument. For NGC, the executive producer is Chris Valentini and the senior vice president of production and development is Juliet Blake.