Negotiating white power activist stigma

Pete Simi, Robert Futrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


This article uses extensive ethnographic data on the U.S. white power movement (WPM) to describe the interactional aspects of managing activist stigma in everyday settings. We describe their stigma management as a form of everyday resistance. In the face of strong cultural codes against extreme racism, they conceal their Aryan identity to avoid the constant ire, indignation, and conflict they face from others. But, concealing their activist identity creates dissonance, which they work out by exploiting opportunities to selectively disclose features of their racist self. Disclosing aspects of their Aryan self while covering the more extreme aspects creates some expressive balance, which activists experience as resistance to social constraints on identity and self-expression that they perceive. We explain variances in the degree to which WPM members conceal and disclose their identity by focusing on structural differences in the common, everyday settings of family, work, school, and other public contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-110
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Everyday activism
  • Hate group
  • Right-wing extremism
  • Stigma management
  • White power movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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