The Racist Mind: 9portraits of American Neo-Nazis and Klansmen

Raphael S. Ezekiel, Author
Raphael S. Ezekiel, Author Viking Books $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-670-83958-2
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-14-023449-7
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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.'' (June)
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