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Inside Organized Racism: Women in the Hate Movement.

by Kathleen M. Blee

University of California Press.

297 pages. $35.00.

Racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan are notoriously patriarchal. But women make up a growing part of their membership.

For this book, sociologist Kathleen Blee interviewed thirty-four women from the Klan, the Christian Identity movements, and neo-Nazi skinhead groups. She challenges common preconceptions about such women and why they join hate groups. Among her most important findings is that most women were not overtly racist before they joined; instead, they were recruited on the basis of social ties and then converted to racist ideology.

Blee examines how groups take on whiteness as an identity, and how practices like cross-burning and racist iconography shape meaning for individual members. Sadly, she doesn't give readers much history of the groups and movements she describes.

Arguing that racism is mainstream as well as marginal, Blee concludes that such movements exploit the widespread bigotry of broader society.
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Author:Rinaldo, Rachel
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 2002
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