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Hate groups and organizations

 

​​Response to concerns about this webpage:

Recent media coverage has caused some to understandably question the signs we provided on this webpage for parents as possible warning signs a child may be involved in a hate group.

This webpage was published several years ago and was not created in response to recent events, nor is it part of any current campaign or leaflet.

It was meant to provide information to parents about the hate groups that were operating in Calgary at that time, some of which still operate. We have published similar information about other forms of radicalization and gang involvement.

The early warning signs we publish online are supported by academic research and our experience with these groups in Calgary. For example, this article from the Intelligence Report and this article in The Sociological Quarterly​ both support that heavy, violent music is often part of the culture of the hate groups we see in Calgary. While heavier genres of music are not the only types of hate music used by these groups, it is the most popular by far.

Each warning sign needs to be considered in context with other warning signs and the child in question. They are not, in and of themselves, something to worry about. Many teenagers change their appearance, push boundaries, listen to heavy music and lose interest in school – which is perfectly normal.

However, if all these things start happening at once, are a change for the child, and include other signs of a child adopting troubling views, then parents should investigate the reasons behind the changes.

In most cases, the changes are normal teenage behaviour. But, these signs can in rare cases also indicate there is something more serious going on, which why it is worthwhile for parents to consider these signs.

The impact of hate and bias is far reaching and can cause severe stress for all members of the community. Hate groups are set of individuals who perpetuate this by targeting specific groups. Hate groups are sometimes responsible for hate crimes and incidents.

Hate groups often attempt to recruit young people of high school and college age. They use many forms of media in order to recruit others to their causes, including posting and distributing flyers at schools or on the street, and using the internet to provide access to their ideologies.

Hate groups are also increasingly using hate music bands to recruit. Some hate groups even try to appeal to younger children by including games and child friendly content on their websites.

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. Prime targets for recruitment are youth who are abused, angry, unemployed, dropouts or runaways. Groups befriend students and invite them to meetings, making them feel wanted and important, providing membership cards, titles and a sense of belonging. Through rituals and impressive ceremonies, individual youth can be easily impressed and recruited, often due to their lack of identifiable future.

Members of racist groups provide a false camaraderie and friendship that is motivated by reasons that the target is unaware of. 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.

Examples of hate group propaganda symbols include:

  • 88 - Represents the eighth letter 'H' hence HH - Heil Hitler.
  • 311 - Represents the 11th letter 'K' hence KKK - Ku Klux Klan.
  • 18 - Represents 1st and 8th letters 'A' 'H' - short for Adolf Hitler.

Signs of a child being part of a hate group

If your child is involved in a hate group, these early warning signs may be a clue:

  • Sudden lack of interest in school.
  • Adopting new groups of friends and staying out late without any explanation.
  • Violence or secretive behaviour.
  • Overt hostility to parents and family, disobedience, rudeness.
  • Racist graffiti, drawings and doodling.
  • Playing loud, heavy music with violent lyrics.
  • Stereotyping and scape-goating of certain groups; name calling, 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.
  • Wearing or displaying Nazi propaganda and symbols such as swastikas or the Iron Cross and/or military clothing and paraphernalia.
  • Changing their appearance.

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