More teens buying white power music

Chicago Sun Times/March 19, 2001
By Lucio Guerrero

White supremacists now are using more than pamphlets and racist books to get their views across--they are increasingly turning to the music industry to spread their propaganda.

"Right now we have eight to 10 pages of white supremacist music groups that cover almost every genre," said Devin Burghart, the Chicago author of Soundtracks to the White Revolution. "A few years back, there were only a handful."

A coalition of 10 North Shore suburbs is so concerned about the trend that officials have asked Burghart to give them some ideas on how to stop white power music from creeping into their communities. He is scheduled to meet tonight with the group, which includes officials from Glencoe, Winnetka and Wilmette.

New Trier High School also has asked Burghart to speak to its students. It's especially sensitive to racism because of the 1999 shooting spree by Benjamin Smith, a North Shore resident and former New Trier student, who targeted minorities during a two-day trek through Illinois and Indiana. And it appears that more and more kids are turning to white power music--a medium that could do more damage then other tools used by racist groups, Burghart said.

"With a pamphlet or a book, kids can read it once and throw it away," Burghart said. "With music, they can memorize the songs and start to absorb the words." Getting their hands on the music is also becoming increasingly easy for teens. Along with Internet sales and catalog orders, some local music stores are also making the white power records--by groups such as Intimidation One, Skrewdriver and Hate Society--easy to come by.

One store in particular, Record Breakers in Hoffman Estates, has been chastised in the past for carrying a full line of white supremacist music. "We don't agree with what they sing about, but we also don't believe in any type of censorship," said John Coakley, manager of the store. "We are not going to be the moral judge of every CD on the shelf."

The store started carrying the supremacist labels about nine years ago to fulfill a customer's request, Coakley said. Since then, it averages about one or two sales a week of the racist labels, he said.

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