Background: Neo-Nazi Skinheads

Skinheads are generally middle class people who lionized working-class whites. They can be recognized by their shaven heads, pale faces, and the Nazi symbols their have tattooed on their bodies. They express violent hatred towards African Americans, Jews, homosexuals, and other minority groups. Being a skinhead gives them a sense of power and superiority over others. They have been active in both the U.S. and Europe. In the past twenty years they have been responsible for about 45 murders.

Skinheads first began in the 1960s in Great Britain. Gangs of tattooed teenagers in combat boots, started hanging out in the streets. At first their style was a symbol of a tough patriotic, anti-immigrant, working-class attitude, but later groups of Skinheads began accepting Neo-Nazi beliefs. But not all Skinheads became racist. Many openly also opposed racism. This was a time when the groups was not focused mainly on white supremacy.

Today, Skinheads focus mainly on white supremacy. They claim to defend the white pride. They usually distribute literature, attend demonstrations, writing graffiti, fighting and partying. They are into heavy metal rock and are known for attending concerts and starting riots there.

Many youths are thought to have joined because of their backgrounds. Usually they come from dysfunctional families from the middle and lower classes. They are also high school dropouts and loners. But more and more have joined from upper classes and more full time students have joined. There is something about being a Skinhead that is attracting the youth of today.

Those who are young are influenced at an early age because of their troubled environment. Usually the violence goes back to the parents. In a troubled society, the young people turned to what they perceived as comfort, security, and acceptance in the presence of Skinheads. The Souther Poverty Law Center recognized this trend and addressed it in its Tolerance Program.



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