Fighting for the Right to Be White: A Case Study in White Racial Identity

Dianne Dentice, David Bugg


Membership in extremist groups, such as White Revolution and the Ku Klux Klan, embody specific behavioral attributes. These attributes include practicing endogamy and exhibiting racial pride. There is general consensus among members as to what it means to be part of a socially constructed extremist group. There are also strong motivational factors that support maintaining in-group solidarity and dominant status. By adhering to the rules dictated by group membership, both the self and the group are uplifted based on white racial identity. The process of self-categorization for white racial activists accentuates their own physical similarities along with perceived negative physical differences among racial and ethnic groups. The result is a reinforcement of norms that favor the in-group over the out-group. Subjective belief structures, such as the superiority of whiteness and heterosexuality, legitimize the existence of a universal higher status in-group (at least in the white supremacist worldview). This project is based on ongoing field research that began in July 2009, survey data collected in May 2010, and discussion topics posted on the hate site, in 2013 and 2014. These findings, among others, contribute to literature about why some people join extremist groups, adhere to racialist ideology, and believe that whites are superior to all other groups.

Full Text: