Archive/File: pub/orgs/canadian/league-for-human-rights/your-child-a-target Last-Modified: 1996/01/01 Is your Child a Target? A pamphlet for parents and teachers on the dangers of hate group recruitment in Canada * Hate groups are composed of bigots and racists who hate everyone unlike themselves - particularly minorities such as Blacks, Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Homosexuals - not because of anything they've done, but merely because of who they are. * By blaming all of the past and present problems of society on these identifiable minority groups, hatemongers feed their own self image of superiority. * Hate groups operate through a network of inter-related, pseudo-religious and right-wing political organizations. * In the 1990's, Canada has become fertile ground for groups like the Heritage Front, Ku Klux Klan and racist Skinhead gangs. There are approximately 40 known hate groups in Canada today, networking nationally and internationally to promote their White Supremacist ideology. * They are known to join both political and religious organizations, especially in Caucasian Christian communities, but their ideologies are far from Christian. * Current hate group activities include telephone "hatelines" across the country run by the Heritage Front, Ku Klux Klan, Liberty Net and others; racist rock concerts sponsored by groups like the Church of the Creator [transcription note: now defunct. knm]; paramilitary training camps for young recruits; assaults against anti-racist activists; and an increase in gay-bashing and racially motivated crime. A Brief History Racism and hate propaganda have long been part of the Canadian experience, beginning with the campaign of dehumanization of Native peoples by European settles, resulting in cultural genocide and unpunished abuses. There is also evidence of rampant anti-Semititsm in the early days of Canada, with later hate propaganda against Chinese, Sikh and Japanese Canadians. By the 1920's and 1930's, Blacks, Catholics and Jews were being viciously attacted by hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. As immigration increased after World War I, so did the backlash against foreigners, minority groups and individuals. Hate groups feasted then, as they do now, on tension and turmoil. During World War II, prominent Canadians praised Hitler's leadership, while government policy denied safety to European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. Hate group activity is related to shifts in attitudes towards politics and minority groups. In times of prosperity, as acceptance of diverse groups and communities rises, hate group and overt racist activity decline. Economic downturn is usually accompanied by scapegoating of minorities and immigrants by those looking for someone to blame for their problems. As in the 1920's and 103-'s, the recession of the 1990's has proved to be an opportune time for a rise in hate group activity. In these difficult economic times, many young people, unless parents, teachers and others are observant, can be enlisted through exposure to continuous hate propaganda aimed at recruiting them to the racist cause. The Thread of Hate Groups and Hate Propaganda The goal of hatemongers and hate propaganda is to falsely portray a group as inferior, even less than human, undermining the norms and values of a society by potentially taking control of the culture through power or sheer numbers. Hate propaganda plays on people's doubts and fears. It feeds on misconceptions, increasing barriers to misunderstanding. Hate propaganda contributes to disunity in society, compromises democratic values and maintains inequality and oppression. When one group is aggrieved, we are all aggrieved. Hate propaganda is not a free speech issue. It is the promotion of hatred against an identifiable minority group and is against the law in Canada. The Current Reality Hate groups are growing steadily and are currently at levels not seen in Canada since the 1920's. The League for Human Rights has measured a 200% increase in reported anti-Semitic incidents since 1988. This evidence has been corroborated by police and community groups documenting racially motivated crime. Hate groups such as the Aryan Nations, Heritage Front, Church of the Creator, Ku Klux Klan, Northern Foundation and the Mountain Church are all actively recruiting young people in Canada today. Recently, established white supremacist groups have attempted to co-opt the "skinhead" movement. While not all skinheads are racist, many in Canada are, and show a propensity towards violence. Since 1990, at least 24 racially or sexually motivated murders have been committed by skinheades in North America. Is Your Child a Target? Yes! * Hate groups concentrate their recruiting efforts primarily in high schools and to some extent in colleges and universities. * Young people are more likely to accept at face value the racist ideology of the hatemonger. They are often naive and easily brainwashed by racist propaganda because they don't have the experience or facts at hand to refute the lies and myths being fed to them. * Lonely, marignalized youth seeking a sense of identity and belonging are both the most attractive targets for racists and their most useful tools once recruited. * Emotionally vulnerable or angry young people are easily indoctrinated by hatemongers and are often convinced to engage in violence and to commit criminal acts to prove themselves by following orders. * Eager to be accepted, young recruits don't recognize the abuse of power by the leaders and can be used to intimidate opponents and to recruit other new members. How Hate Groups Recruit * Through rituals, regalia and impressive ceremony, individual youth are easily impressed and recruited, often due to their lack of identifiable future, and are catapulted into an environment of violence and hatred. * Disenchanted youth who are abused, angry, unemployed, dropouts or runaways, and who may be looking for someone to blame for their problems, are prime targets. * Hate groups prey on lonely youth who are socially isolated by learning their weaknesses and drawing them into a group in which they feel accepted. * They befriend students and invite them to meetings, making them feel wanted and important, providing membership cards, titles and a sense of belonging. * Hate groups recruit followers by distributing flyers and leaflets at schools and on the street, attracting young people to meetings, concerts or rallies and inviting them to call a hotline for more information. * Members of racist groups provide a false camaraderie and friendship that is motivated by reasons not readily apparent to the target. * They intimate that their hate group is simply a social club, or a legitimate nationalist political party or movement interested in preserving Canadian culture. * They always lie to new members, never telling them of their true agenda of hatred and violence before it is too late. * Hatemongers either demand "Equal Rights for Whites" or denigrate minorities through racist and bigoted articles, newsletters, rock music and cartoons. * Young people are brainwashed through rituals, rallies, training camps and the dissemination of hate propaganda, until they give up their independent identity, join the cause and become hatemongers themselves. Early Warning Signs A change in behavior or appearance of your teenager may indicate involvement with hate groups. Some of the telltale signs include: * Sudden lack of interest in school * Adopting new groups of friends and staying out late without any explanation * Violence or secretive behavior * Overt hostility to parents and family, disobedience, rudeness. * Racist graffiti, drawings and doodling. * Playing loud, heavy rock music with violent lyrics. This could be the racist rock music of groups such as RaHoWa or Skrewdriver * Stereotyping and scapegoating of certain groups; namecalling, racial and religious slurs in conversation at all times * Making racist or bigoted comments about minorities, immigrants or foreigners * A marked repugnance to consider certain ethnic or religious groups as fully Canadian or even human * The wearing or displaying of Nazi propaganda and symbols such as swastikas or the Iron Cross and/or military clothing and paraphernalia * Becoming a skinhead or acquiring skinhead friends wearing black or red Dr. Marten's combat boots, tight jeans rolled up at the ankles, padded bomber jackets or shaved heads * The writing or tattooing of racist symbols, slogans or codewords such as RaHoWa (Racial Holy War), ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government) and JOG (Jewish Occupation Government) * Preoccupation with military themes, clothing and weapons * The possession of hate propaganda and publications such as Holocaust denial materials, the Heritage Front's _Up Front_ and the Church of the Creator's _Racial Loyalty_, as well as videos, music books, flyers and cards produced by hate groups Once Recruited Hate groups use techniques similar to religious cults in recruiting and retaining members. Once involved, the youth are encouraged to isolate themselves from their former lives (parents, family, friends) and to commit full-time to the movement, which often means engaging in illegal activity. Young people find it difficult, if not impossible, to leave. Hate groups foster an atmosphere of violence, abuse and intimidation, often forcing new recruits to commit criminal and violent acts. The racists learn so much about the recruit's life, that it is next to impossible to withdraw. Youthful recruits with second thoughts often find themselves the target of threats and violence if they try to drop out of the scene. How to Respond * Do not ignore evidence of hate gorup activity - speak up! * Report any overt incidents to your local police service * Most local police departments have either a Hate Crimes Unit or specific officers assigned to deal with hate groups. They are more than willing to help and should be contacted if you have knowledge of hate group activity. * Save any written materials, posters or items that can be useful to police in their investigations. * Your municipal race relations committee, local school board, the League for Human Rights and other agencies have the professionals trained in these areas and have experience in dealing with incidents of hate group activity and recruiting. * If you or your child are victimized by racist hate groups, contact one of the agencies listed on this pamphlet. * Remember that the Criminal Code of Canada prohibits the distribution of hate propaganda and the promotion of hatred, incitement to violence or advocating genocide, and you will have the force of law behind you. Agencies Dealing With Racism and Hate * Most municipalities have a Committee on Community and Race Relations that deals with these issues. In addition, most have Race Relations Divisions or departments within the municipal government that can offer assistance. * Your provincial government should have an Anti-Racism Secretariat in the Ministry of Citizenship and/or Culture to offer assistance and programs in combatting hate and promoting anti-racist education. * You may also need to contact the Attorney General's Ministry or the Race Relations and Policing Unit of the Solicitor General's Ministry if the incident has legal or policing implications. * The Multiculturalism program in the federal government of Canadian Heritage includes anti-racist initiatives; and the Ministries of Justice, Immigration and the Solicitor General also have useful information and expertise. * The Provincial Human Rights Commission investigates complaints of individuals who are victims of discrimination based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. * The Canadian Human Rights Commission investigates complaints in their jurisdiction, such as telephone lines, electronic media and federal agencies. * Contact community based organizations that can mobilize their members, conduct anti-racist training in schools, and can assist individual victims and communities. Remember - You Are Not Alone! This pamphlet has been prepared by the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada, a national volunteer agency dedicated to combatting anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry. The ojectives of the League also include human rights for all Canadians, improved inter-community relations and the elimination of racial discrimination and anti-Semitism. The League accomplishes these goals through educational programmes, community action and legal interventions. League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada 15 Hove Street, Downsview, Ontario M3H 4Y8 Tel: (416) 633-6224 FAX: (416) 630-2159 Ontario: 15 Hove Street, Downsview, Ontario M3H 4Y8 Tel: (416) 633-6224 FAX: (416) 630-2159 Quebec/Eastern Office: 6900 Decarie Blvd., Ste. 219, Montreal, Quebec H3X 2T8 Tel: (514) 733-5377 FAX: (514) 342-9632 Halton/Peel: 7330 Goreway, Unit 1, Mississauga, Ontario L4T 4J2 Tel: (905) 678-9691 FAX: (905) 566-0686 National Capital Region: 151 Chapel Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7Y2 Tel: (613) 789-4922 FAX: (613) 789-1325 Manitoba Office: 370 Hargrave Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2K1 Tel: (204) 942-2597 FAX: (204) 956-2819 Western Region: 10655 SouthPort Road SW, Ste. 1400, Calgary, Alberta T2W 4Y1 Tel: (403) 255-5256 FAX: (403) 278-0176
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