Recognizing White Supremacist Symbols in the US



LAURENS, SC – DECEMBER 5: An American Nazi Party member gathers during a white-supremacist event outside the Redneck Shop December 5, 2009 in Laurens, South Carolina. The American Nazi Party & International Knights of the Ku Klux Klan held their 7th annual White Unity Christmas Party which was publicized as a family event. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

White Supremacist Symbols and Far-Right Propaganda at Georgia State University and in North Georgia

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The storyRacist, Far-Right Propaganda and Threats Against Leftists at Georgia State University: What Does It Mean, Who Is Responsible? was recently published by an anti-fascist group in Atlanta in the wake of white supremacist symbols appearing around Georgia State University in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia.


With this in mind, and with debates about race now a common theme in national and regional political discussions, mnis members consider it important that the general public know what symbols are commonly used by white supremacist hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, National Socialist Movement, Aryan National, American Renaissance, and others. This is an attempt to cover some of the more well-known symbols and habits of white supremacist hate groups, although these symbols and behaviors are constantly changing and adapting to pressure from anti-fascist/anti-racist groups and the general public.

Recognizing Common Hate Symbols:

White supremacist groups, especially neo-Nazis and neo-Fascists use a variety of symbols to reflect their beliefs, many of which are unknown to the general public some of the most common are the following:

  • 14 or 14 words: Code for the white supremacist slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
  • 88: Commonly understood to represent “HH” or “Heil Hitler” (H being the 8th letter of the English alphabet)
  • RAC: Rock Against Communism, represents a white power musical genre opposed to communism, socialism, and other leftist (or anti-racist) political views and music
  • Hate Edge: An offshoot of the straight edge punk movement, which generally swears of drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, and sometimes animal products
  • WP of WPWW: White Pride or White Power and “White Pride World Wide”, commonly used by Stormfront, a white supremacist web forum
  • Stormfront: A white supremacist web forum and news site —
  • Love Your Race: Commonly used by white supremacists to either signify white pride or indicate “victimization” or “oppression” of the white race by other groups or the government.
  • White supremacist groups, especially neo-Nazi skinheads and neo-fascist groups commonly co-opt symbols and musical styles from the punk rock and heavy metal genres. Skinheads were originally part of a non-racist musical movement which united white British youth and Jamaican immigrants and was popular within the ska and reggae genres of the 1960s. When ska and reggae were re-popularized by the punk movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Nazis attempted to infiltrate the punk scene and adopted symbols from the original skinhead movement. It’s important to note there are many non-racist (generally apolitical) and anti-racist (SHARP: Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) around the world.

Recent Developments and Attempts to Co-opt Other Cultures or Infiltrate Mainstream and Leftist Political Organizations:

  • Many white supremacists have recently taken up traditionally progressive leftist causes like environmentalism, veganism, animal rights, and even (only very recently, and only very rarely) support of gay rights. They also have a history or attempting to infiltrate leftist political groups or adopt elements of leftism or socialism into their own movements, the National Anarchist Movement being one of the most notable examples.
  • White supremacists, especially neo-Nazis and neo-fascists (as well as the original Nazi Party) have a history of co-opting ancient folk symbols, especially Indo-European, Scandanavian, or Celtic symbols. This does not mean the symbols are inherently racist, but they can serve as a warning flag. The swastika, an ancient symbol used by many cultures, is the most notorious example of this pattern. There are many others included below, although this is not a comprehensive list. If you see someone displaying these symbols, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a fascist or white supremacist, but these symbols are frequently used by members of these groups. As neo-Nazis and neo-fascists have gained political power in parts of Europe and have made multiple attempts to infiltrate mainstream US politics, trade unions, and leftist (anarchist/socialist/communist) political groups.
  • White supremacist hate groups prey on the ambivalence of young white Americans, especially poor/working class whites in rural or urban areas, caused by racial tension in their region. They also recruit heavily in prisons, where gangs like the Aryan Brotherhood provide protection or a sense of community to whites who often find themselves in the minority. Many of the symbols here, and others are used by white supremacist prison gangs.
  • Recently, “European Heritage” or “White Heritage” groups, which clothe their hatred in business suits and strongly coded language have emerged and are overtaking traditional hate groups like the KKK, National Socialist Movement, and Aryan Nation. Several right-wing politicians, including US House of Representatives member Steven Scalise of Louisiana, have been tied to these groups. American Rennaissance is one of the most notorious of this new breed of hate groups.


More on white supremacist symbols and hate groups in the US:

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Filed under Education and Organization, United States

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