We are living in very unique times. After the shocking events of Charlottesville, Virginia a few weeks ago, a new light as been shed on speaking out against hate groups, white supremacists and neo-nazis. Companies like Spotify have pulled music from any and all white nationalist bands, and others have been trying to shed a light on the issue.
But, it seems the Calgary Police Service is shedding the light in the wrong direction. The police force issued a leaflet titled Signs of a Child Being Part of a Hate Group, and they include some basic misnomers like "show's a lack of interest in school," "staying out late," "changing their appearance," and perhaps the most offensive of all "playing loud, heavy music with violent lyrics." Here is the full list the Calgary police released:
It's odd to me that "wearing or displaying Nazi propaganda" is so far down the list. YOU WOULD THINK THAT WOULD BE THE FIRST SIGN THAT YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE A NEO-NAZI BUT HERE WE ARE.
Toronto Metro reached out to the Calgary Police Service for further comment and they defended including "listening to heavy music" on the list by saying their internal research shows that people involved in these groups tend to listen to heavy music. “We’re not saying all people who listen to rock music are part of hate groups, but there tends to be a correlation – people who are involved with hate groups tend to be involved in that kind of music,” Calgary police spokesman Corwin Odland said.
Odland added that listening to heavy music alone shouldn't be considered a warning sign, but that in addition to other factors on the list might be cause for concern.
The list is still ridiculous, 80% of the "warning signs" displayed are evident in virtually every teen coming of age. Of course, this is the same bullshit that metalheads have been dealing with for 40 years now, but in the past, metalheads have tended to be accused of being satanists and not Nazis.
It's no secret that there is a neo-nazi heavy metal scene, most notably the Nationalist Socalist Black Metal (NSBM) genre, but that is such a microcosm of the depth and breadth of metal that it's ridiculous to paint with such a broad brush.
It honestly gives me a whole new level of sympathy to fans of Insane Clown Posse, who have been labeled a gang by the FBI and look to protest that labeling by a march on Washington. It's ironic, perhaps, that the Juggalos will be running into a bunch of white supremacists, members of the alt-right, and members of alt-lite, while staging a protest in Washington D.C. later this month.