WNT: Hate, Kids and the Internet

In the suburbs of West Palm Beach, Fla., Derek Black is a young promoter for hate. He runs Stormfront for Kids, a Web site that promotes white supremacy — along with games and a birthday page.

Derek’s father is Don Black, an ex-dragon of the Ku Klux Klan and the Web master of the oldest white supremacy site on the Web.

“This is a media bypass situation where the news and entertainment media … no longer has a monopoly on content,” says Don Black, “so people can access our ideas without any kind of filtering.”

Easy to Be Fooled

It is no surprise that hate groups have found a home on the Web, but the way they present themselves now is subtle, and it’s aimed at kids.

For example, a crossword puzzle on the Church of the Creator site seems harmless enough, but the game is given away by the answers. The puzzle asks, for instance, “Who was the greatest white leader that ever lived?” The answer: “Hitler.”

Kids can also stumble onto a white supremacist site one click away from the site of Pokémon — one of the most popular cartoon characters for the under-10 set.

“They often fool young people into believing that they really haven’t reached a hate Web site at all,” says Jack Levine of the Brunick Center on Violence at Northeastern University.

The message of power and violence isn’t new, but now it is on the Web. For kids, it’s easy to download and free.

“This doesn’t mean there’s more hate groups in America,” says Chip Berlet of the Political Research Association. “It means that they’re better at trying to do recruitment.”

More Propaganda Than Ever Before

Recruitment on the Web has turned William Pierce of the National Alliance, an organization promoting white supremacy, into a best-selling author. His books are promoted all the time. He is the author of The Turner Diaries, the novel that Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh found so compelling.

Pierce is now planning full-screen videos to be produced exclusively for the Web.

“And I hope that we will be ready to take full advantage of that when it’s available,” he says.

No one can say for sure what effect the chance reading of a hate site has on a young mind, but kids cruising the Web can find more hate propaganda than ever before — on a screen that is present in almost every young person’s life.