A Former Neo-Nazi Explains Why Hate Drew Him in — and How He Got Out
On how the white supremacists of the ’80s and ’90s strategized to make their movement more mainstream
I do think that there were a lot of concerted strategies in the ’80s and ’90s that we’re seeing take hold today. We recognized in the mid-’80s that our edginess, our look, even our language, was turning away the average American white racist — people we wanted to recruit. So we decided then to grow our hair out, to stop getting tattoos that would identify us, to trade in our boots for suits and to go to college campuses and recruit there and enroll, to get jobs in law enforcement, to go to the military and get training and to even run for office. And here we are, 30 years later, and we’re using terms like “white nationalist” and “alt-right” — terms that [the white supremacists] came up with, by the way. They sat around and said, “How can we identify ourselves to make us seem less hateful?” …
Here we are in 2018 and we have a lot of hallmarks coming from political figures, the administration and policies that are very similar to what we espoused 30 years ago. The language may be a little bit more palatable. Dog whistles may be used, but it is still the same underlying theme. It is a white supremacist culture that is being pushed.