My Dinner at Applebee’s with White Supremacists

(Originally appeared in SF Weekly)

Members of a racist organization peppered Sacramento neighborhoods with white-power pamphlets proclaiming love of their race. Harmon goes undercover to find out why they hate other races.

At a restaurant in Davis, a soccer mom insists her white-supremacist husband should try some of the chocolate-brownie-ice-cream dessert. Her husband, though, is lost in a train of thought about the next meeting.

“Yeah, I don’t think we’ll be talking too much about the tsunami,” he says with a sarcastic smirk.

“Oh yeah, what’s your opinion on that?” I ask. After all, more than 200,000 human beings did die.

“Tsunami?” he repeats.

The proud blond girl with them immediately jumps in with her position: “It’s natural population control,” she says with a smirk.

“What’s that?” I ask, hoping I’m not hearing correctly.

“It’s natural population control,” she says once again without hesitation, as the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.

The white-supremacist husband voices concern over her statement, noting, “Well, there were a lot of Europeans who died in that, too.”

This knocks some sense into her racist head.

“Yeah, you’re right. There were a lot of Swedish people who died.”

“I just think it’s kind of sad,” adds the racist soccer mom while playing with her baby. “All those kids are going to be homeless, and we’re going to have to pay for them all!”

We grow silent.

Under his breath, the racist dad mumbles, almost as if solely for the benefit of himself, “Yeah, I wish one of those tsunamis would hit Mexico!”

Waiter, check please!

It’s a cultural group!

One morning, a fine morning, in February, residents throughout a Sacramento neighborhood awoke to find in their driveways a flier that said “Love Your Race,” featuring the picture of a woman—a beautiful woman. No big deal. There’s nothing wrong with love; only grumpy people wouldn’t like a beautiful woman. And why the hell can’t you love your own race? It’s called cultural pride—having pride for one’s own culture. Oh yeah, there were also two other fliers, both specifically anti-Semitic (with racist quotes from, among others, Richard Nixon—our most disgraced president in history) and anti-black (mocking Black History Month).

Some, the skeptical, would say this fliering blitzkrieg was merely a public-relations ploy to get mainstream media attention. And it did work. The Sacramento Bee wrote a story, with the typical expected quotes (“I’m so damn mad”) from people angry and outraged at the racism in the fliers. Of course that’s going to be the reaction—who’s going to be truly tickled by this crap? The group responsible for the fliers is the National Alliance.

In fact, its Web site responded to how ridiculous it was when residents got upset over the group’s “Love Your Race” fliers as hate literature (though the Web site somehow didn’t really mention the other two fliers). Here’s a sampling of the posts:

Ottar the Simple: One handout contained a picture of a white female with the words “Love Your Race”

OMG eek: Can you imagine such hate!

Kevro: I guess it’s a problem if Whites love their race.

BoyHowdy: I wonder if any jews paid people to make complaints…?

airborne89: “love your race” = hate???

Oh!!: the picture of the white woman = hate. Guess if it were a picture of some black woman holding her 17 kids all by different fathers it would be the lead story on the nightly news touting how wonderful it was.

BoyHowdy: I really don’t think people get all that upset. It’s the same spin where and whenever pro-White fliers are distributed. I notice the language in every news article is almost identical. The media must think we are complete idiots.

Others who posted to the white-supremacist site tried to express their dismay (but also forgot to mention the other two fliers) through something called a little “creativity.” Such was the case in a bit of prose by a Pam Hendon, titled, “And All The Flyer Said Was ‘Love Your Race’”: “…It’s absolutely despicable… All it said was ‘Love Your Race.’ …I’m outraged… All it said was ‘Love Your Race.’ …he saved one of the fliers and is taking it to the sheriff’s department… All it said was ‘Love Your Race.’ I think the sheriff should investigate who’s behind it … who put the bulletins on the ground… All it said was ‘Love Your Race.’”

That’s great. I really liked the use of repetition to express the point (though, again, she forgot to mention the other two fliers—you know, the ones that were blatantly anti-Semitic and anti-black).

So, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for cultural pride—nothing wrong there. One time, in fact, I went to a cultural fair that touted Greek cultural pride. It was great. I ate dolmas. I learned a traditional dance. The only difference between most cultural groups and the aforementioned white cultural group: To the best of my knowledge, at no time, say, during the Greek cultural fair, did anyone call members of other cultural groups “filth.”

“'Love Your Race’ is just a euphemism for their hateful racism and anti-Semitism,” explains Nancy Appel of the Anti-Defamation League, who has another take. “Their version of loving who they are involves denigrating others. Other groups who speak about pride in their identities don’t do this.”

I’m confused. Is she trying to say their fliers are like a flier reading “We love hugging puppies, and ice cream is delicious!” handed out by a man at the playground who offers candy to lure kids inside his van? There’s nothing wrong with candy. In fact, it’s delicious. Therefore, there’s nothing wrong with the man with the candy.

But once inside the van, the man behind the mask is revealed.

Now puzzled—one side says cultural pride, while the other says racism—I went to the Web site to find out more about their ideology. Among other things, it offers a movie-review page, a place where members can simply express themselves as lovers of movies:

• Scooby-Doo: “William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have been working together since at least 1944, when Jew George Sidney financed and founded Hanna-Barbera productions. Sidney was also the president of the company for the next ten years, so it’s no mystery as to where the loyalties of these two Goyim ultimately lay. The movie begins with ‘the gang’ (Jew Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jew-Rican Freddie Prinze Jr., Linda Cardellini, and Matthew Lillard in the role he was born to play) solving a mystery in typical Scooby style.”

• Training Day: “Shaved ape Denzel Washington is Hollywood’s top negroid leading man. When the Jews need someone they can pass off to the rabble as strong, clean-shaven, young, sexy, virile, intelligent and multifaceted, Denzel is their favorite chimp.

“Of course, real negroes very seldom have any of those qualities, much less all of them, and the best Hollywood can do is to put their favorite chimp in a nice suit, sober him up, stick him in front of a camera, and let the special effects do the rest (making him speak, etc). Don’t bother seeing Training Day. The negro who made the film will just use the profits to buy more crack, guns and gold chains. Negroes have too many shiny objects already; so do the Jews, for that matter.”

• Corky Romano: “A lot of Jews star in Corky Romano. Several Jews wield power in the production of the film, which may explain why there is not a single negro villain, but plenty of White ones. It might also explain why there are so many jokes about flatulence in the movie. Corky Romano is my least favorite film of the year. Not only is it irredeemably idiotic, it is more anti-White than most other movies out there.

“The sex-and-feces content is so common to the Jew film trade. Then Mom takes the kids home and plops them down in front of MTV (where they can learn about race-mixing) or Nickelodeon (where they can learn about faggotry). The Jews are pressing on with their program of destruction, and it is up to us to stop them.”

Huh?! Though it can be agreed that the movie Corky Romano sucks, to my amazement, the reviews read like they were done by Hitler and Roeper, with popular movies given two Sieg Heils. (Imagine a review of Easy Rider: “Our guys blew away those hippie faggots. Great ending!”)

If these reviews were written tongue-in-cheek, I’d give the group some props, for its members are able to laugh at the image the rest of the planet projects on them. If written dead seriously, then, well, it’s even more hilarious—extremist views have even tainted their viewing enjoyment of Scooby-Doo. My point: All extremist groups whose tactics involve violence or denigrating others—be they the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam or the Jewish Defense League—should never review movies. In this case, the group is the National Alliance.

So many hate groups, so little time

Who are the faces behind the recent fliers? The fliering work was done, faceless, in the middle of the night while the entire city was asleep. (That aspect is not very cultural-pride-ful!) The article in the Bee said an attempt to reach the group for comment was not successful.

After going to the group’s Web site, which rails on about “the Negroid filth churned out by MTV and the other Jewish promoters of anti-White music intended to demoralize, corrupt and deracinate young Whites,” I e-mail the group about its next Sacramento-area meeting.

A week later, eerily sitting in my in-box is an e-mail: “We should have our next meeting coming up mid to late January. I would like to meet with you in person before then.”

Fine. Where?

The local leader—of an organization that is a direct spinoff from the old American Nazi Party and that sees itself as carrying on Adolf Hitler’s dream of purifying the white race and preventing Jews and blacks from degrading “our” culture—has a suggestion: “How about Applebee’s? I’ll be coming with my wife, baby, and one other member. We can meet in the reception area. I’ll be coming with two women and a baby.”

Bingo! I got a date with hate! And who doesn’t love Applebee’s? It has quality dinners and a wide selection—all at budget prices!

They put the “ha” in “hate”

It’s Friday night at Applebee’s, and the place is packed, filled with clean-cut couples, carefree college students and families with happy little kids, as the perky waiters and waitresses bounce with big smiles from one table to another, gleefully taking food orders. How will I find my white supremacists in this packed medium-priced eatery?

Approaching the perky Applebee’s receptionist, I explain that I’m supposed to meet a guy, his wife, a baby and another member of their group.

“They promote our culture, you know,” I say with a wink.

“Right this way,” she answers with a smile, not computing my meaning and leading me past joyful dining families right to the table of three white supremacists—and a baby. I’m actually taken aback. They look normal: a guy with short hair and a button-down shirt; his wife, who wears glasses and looks like a suburban housewife; their baby; and a dumpy, blond college girl (I’m calling her such to prove how not nice it is to generalize about people). The white supremacists are already eating their appetizers; they have frowns on their faces.

“Glad to see that you made it,” says unsmiling Kevin (intentional name change), a guy who works as a computer-software technician. The normalcy is bafflingly disturbing. Maybe the joke’s on me. Maybe they’re not as extreme as I imagined from reading their review of Scooby-Doo.

There’s initial nervousness all around; they try to feel me out but, at the same time, impress me with the merits of their hate group.

“Can we get a menu?” the white-supremacist soccer mom asks the bubbly waiter.

After some arbitrary small talk, without fanfare or a segue, white supremacist Kevin starts laying out hate literature on the Applebee’s table, bearing such bold headlines as “White Identity” and “Our Jewish Keepers” under the publication’s title, Free Speech.

Families around us enjoy their dinners.

“This tells a little bit about our organization, our ideology,” Kevin explains as the table’s baby gurgles. “We also have our application on the back if you decide to sign up.”

“Wicked!” I exclaim. I read: “I am a White person of good moral character, with no ineligibility. I want to build a secure and healthy future for my race by becoming a member.”

“This is another of our publications,” white supremacist Kevin says, doing so while avoiding eye contact. His voice fills with pride. “It deals with current issues. It deals with historical issues.” He pulls out a magazine geared toward “A New Consciousness; A New Order; A New People.” He adds, “It’s kind of like Time magazine, except it’s for us.”

Yes, it’s true. This would be just like Time magazine, if Time magazine ranted on endlessly about hating Jews and blacks. This version of Time is a little short on subtlety, though. I note some of the whimsical headlines: “Jews a Different Race,” “Homosexuality as a Weapon” and “Survival Manual for the White Race.”

Just then, our cheerful Applebee’s waiter comes over.

“OK, who had the salad?” he bellows with a big, eatin’-good-in-the-neighborhood Applebee’s smile.

We, the men of the table, get down to the business of hate discussion while the racist womenfolk make cutesy baby talk to the gurgling infant.

“Crazy baby boy,” coos his racist mom, who recommends reading David Duke’s book My Awakening because it changed her life. “You’re such a good boy!”

Kevin asks where I live. I tell him I’m about to move up from the Bay Area.

“It’s really horrible about the Asian problem there,” the dumpy blond girl chimes in, speaking matter-of-factly, as if making small talk about the traffic or baseball scores.

“Uh, yeah. [Pause] The Asian problem. [Pause] That’s why I’m planning on moving up here.”

A Hispanic couple at the next table shoots a surprised—no, shocked—look, thinking they must be hearing things at cheerful Applebee’s. I’m taken aback by her comment. It’s like someone you’ve just met loudly farting at a quiet, fancy dinner party, making no apologies, and then continuing to do so, completely unconcerned with the reaction from those around her. My point: This woman just loudly farted racism. “It’s probably a lot better up here,” she spews with a vicious, hate-filled laugh. “At least you won’t have to see a lot of Asians. But I’d recommend staying away from the university.”

“OK. [Pause] So, where would you suggest moving?”

“You’re not safe anywhere,” hater Kevin throws out.

We grow silent. I fiddle with my water. The baby starts gurgling.

The Web site of the National Alliance encourages visitors to download and print racist fliers for distribution wherever “receptive whites” might be.

“How’s that salad?” I ask, to break the silence.

“I haven’t tried it yet,” says the racist soccer mom. “But I’m sure it’s really good.”

So, it seems she hates Asians but loves Caesar salads.

Do hate groups like to rock?

“This is our music magazine,” racist Kevin interrupts, laying on the Applebee’s table a publication that would look like any other indie-hipster music magazine, except for the minor aspect that the music it’s writing about glorifies Germany’s Third Reich and denigrates blacks and Jews.

“We also have a record company,” Kevin boasts, in a manner that seems to say, “Even though we’re white supremacists, that doesn’t mean we can’t ROCK!”

“We have over 750 CD titles,” he confirms.

White-supremacist music, one would think, is a “niche” market—thus a hard business to maintain. In fact, Minnesota-based Panzerfaust Records recently disbanded when it was discovered, after a drug arrest, that the founder was actually … of Mexican descent! Whoops! Talk about white-supremacist egg on his face.

“What kind of music do you have?” I ask. The group’s Web site, after all, described an ideal white utopian music: “In specific terms, this means a society in which young men and women gather to revel with polkas or waltzes, reels or jigs, or any other White dances, but never to undulate or jerk to negroid jazz or rock rhythms.”

“All kinds of music,” racist Kevin boasts again. I almost expect him to strike a racist air-guitar pose.

“Well, your Web site said the kind of music you guys are into is polkas,” I note, raining on his hate-filled music parade. “It said not to listen to rock ’n’ roll and instead to listen to polkas. Do you listen to polkas?” I ask, directing the question at hate-filled Kevin.

He seems mildly embarrassed, professing with a shrug of the shoulders and a slight trace of what seems to be a blush, “Uh, sometimes we have the wrong people working on the Web sites.”

The music magazine, along with a girly calendar featuring neo-Nazi strippers (the most popular named Ice), has caused bitter sentiments among the older, more conservative, members of the group. One wrote on a posting board, “I wouldn’t want him [the founder, who died in 2003] to see what his organization has become. It would break his heart.”

“What kind of music do you like?” asks the dumpy blond girl, quickly changing the subject. Fortunately, I did a little Web research in case the question of white-supremacist music popped up.

“I loooooooove Skrewdriver,” I exclaim with glee, letting out a squeal, nodding my head as I spout the name of one of the most popular Aryan-nation skinhead bands. The white supremacists at my Applebee’s table acknowledge the reference.

(For those not familiar with Skrewdriver, here’s a brief sampling of the group’s feel-good lyrics: “They say all men are equal, there’s no difference at all / Well who’s it that lives in mud huts, yeah while others live in halls? / Yeah do we run ’round with spears? / Do we eat other men? / Are we a gang of bankers? / But the teacher says we’re just the same as them.”)

The organization has branched out into other genres of music and puts on an annual “pro-white” music festival. One of the headlining acts this past year was a pair of blond, 12-year-old twin girls clad in matching plaid skirts with braided Heidi hair (who caused a rift in the neo-Nazi group, by appearing in very short plaid skirts). Here’s the twist: They perform folk versions of classic racist songs by bands like Skrewdriver. These adorable minxes take their band name, Prussian Blue, from the Zyklon B residue that Holocaust revisionists claim was not found in the “so-called gas chambers” in concentration camps. The revisionists claim that this should make people question the inaccuracies of the “Holocaust myth.” Now, that is absolutely adorable!

“Have a chance to check out our Web site?” Kevin asks as I get ready for round two.

“Yeah, I was checking it out today,” I reply uncomfortably. The same Web site that advocated polka dancing was very informative. It calls for what they term “A White Living Space” and complains about “the sickness of multiculturalism” that is destroying America and other good Aryan nations. There’s a call for “a racially clean area of the Earth for the further development of our people. We must have White schools, White residential neighborhoods and recreation areas, White workplaces, White farms and countryside. We must have no non-Whites in our living space.”

As a call to battle arms, it trumpets, “We will do whatever is necessary to achieve this White living space and to keep it White. We will not be deterred by the difficulty or temporary unpleasantness involved, because we realize that it is absolutely necessary for our racial survival.”

With that in the back of my head, I sit at Applebee’s with the local crusaders for the cause, who hungrily pick at their Applebee’s food, deeming it delicious. (It is delicious!)

How do hate groups recruit fellow haters?
Shocker! Gun shows, it seems, are a big recruiting arena. That’s where they piqued the attention of the Williams brothers, who firebombed three synagogues and one abortion clinic in Sacramento. But lately, the gun-show crowd hasn’t produced the type of quality hate-group candidates it did in days of old.

“We put fliers on cars at Ozzfest,” the racist soccer mom says, wiping her baby’s chin. “We also did that Metallica concert.” (Do they know guitarist Kirk Hammett is part Filipino?)

The group also gives out recruitment DVDs at “European” cultural events. “It gives some background into the group and what’s going on in the world,” white supremacist Kevin explains, handing me a copy.

The recruitment DVD is a gem. It’s narrated by a crotchety old man (the group’s founder). But not a loveable crotchety old man, like Wilford Brimley from Cocoon. No, more like a crotchety old man who would throw a bag of kittens into a lake. The DVD, with all the production value of a third-rate public-access show, juxtaposes 1950s shots of happy little white kids dancing around maypoles and entering beauty pageants, with the biggest, baddest booty-shaking rap videos ever. This is to point out the two extremes of culture. (Maypole dancing vs. booty shaking—what will it be?!) The crotchety old man calls to recruit people “inside the machine” and “those who have their hands already on the levers of power”: professors, lawyers, writers, military personnel, technicians, etc. He claims the only other alternative is extinction.

“So, how many members do you got?” I ask white supremacist Kevin, as if I’m rushing a college fraternity and he needs to sell me on the idea of joining.

“We are the largest racial-activist organization of its kind in the country,” he says, explaining that I would pretty much have a racist friend in every major city. “It could be a couple thousand. We have a good-sized unit here. Each meeting we have 30 to 40 people.”

“Most of our other members are in their early 30s and late 20s,” explains the racist soccer mom, bouncing her baby on her knee. “There’s a lot of couples with kids. We’re very family-orientated. In our unit, there’s about 14 kids, total. At the meetings, there will be little kids running around everywhere.”

“Yeah, that sounds like a good atmosphere,” I comment.

“Nancy [intentional name change] is the only one who isn’t married,” the soccer mom says, and the dumpy girl makes a sad face.

Besides meetings, the group also sponsors social events, camping trips, outings to European cultural fairs and, of course, protests in front of the Canadian consulate for its treatment of Ernst Zundel—a leading Holocaust denier and the world’s largest distributor of Nazi propaganda and memorabilia. (“That’s why I hate Canadians!” I explain.) They actually should be protesting the German, rather than Canadian, consulate. For, if kindly Mr. Zundel took his revisionist roadshow back to the motherland, he would be promptly imprisoned. The reasoning, according to the German interior minister: “The endorsing or playing down of crimes against humanity is unbearable.” Forget those maple-syrup-loving Canadians; it’s the Germans who are committing the true crimes against the white culture.

“So, where are your meetings at?” I ask.

“We usually have them at the public library or different restaurants. The last one we had to have at our house. It varies.”

This month, believe it or not, it’s going to be in the backroom of a German restaurant. Claiming I’m an amateur-video buff, I ask if I can film the meeting for their Web site.

“That wouldn’t be a good idea. Like, if we’re planning a certain event, and the opposition [non-racists] sees it, they might plan a protest.”

This flier was distributed in a Sacramento neighborhood a couple of months ago.

“Yes, you shouldn’t let the opposition know what you’re up to,” I agree, confirming that we’re on the same side.

“We want to be as open as possible. But there’s also people out there who hate us, and they want to do anything possible to destroy us,” racist Kevin says, almost with a hint of sadness.

“How do you deal with that?”

“We try to stay as private as possible.”

“That’s a good idea. You guys shouldn’t tell your secrets to anyone outside the group you can’t trust,” I add. “They could spread the secrets.”

Do hate groups hate other hate groups?
The perky Applebee’s waiter with the big Applebee’s smile explains the desserts.

“Do you guys do things, like have get-togethers with other groups like the Klan?” I ask. “You know, like throw picnics or bowling night?”

“We tried it in the past, but it just didn’t work out,” Kevin admits solemnly.

“It wasn’t our ideology; it was more personal conflicts. Some members had a little too much to drink and started arguing. We like to present the best representation of the white race that we can.”

Kevin knows about the Klan. He did a two-year stint but wasn’t happy about the experience.

“The grand wizard was on welfare,” he recalls. His voice contains as much distaste as if he were commenting on Mexicans. “He was about 50 and lived with his mother. It was really depressing. We had to go with him to get his welfare check.”

Still in the mode of a popular kid during rush week, I puff out my chest and state with an air of cockiness, “You know, I’ve been kind of looking around at a lot of other white racialist groups. I’m still deciding which one to join. The World Church of the Creator doesn’t look that bad.” My Applebee’s table collectively rolls its eyes.

“There’s lot of hobbyists,” the dumpy blond girl leans in and adds. “I think, overall, our organization has a higher level of intelligence. I don’t want to sound snotty, but it’s true. I think we attract the best of the best.”

Kevin explains the protocol of the business of racial hating. “At our meetings, we make sure everyone wears a shirt and tie. We make sure of that. We want to represent our race in the best possible manner,” he says. “We try to eliminate the cheese factor.”

Everyone laughs and repeats. “Cheese factor.” (Ah, white-supremacist humor.) The racist baby gurgles loudly.

Kevin goes on. “We just want to give people a good impression. We want to change people’s impression of what a white racialist is. We’re all not evil people,” he says with an air of sympathy. “We’re all not sickos and weirdoes.”

Sure, but don’t bring up the movie Scooby-Doo.

At the meetings, they usually go over what’s happening, generally, with the organization; cover old business; and host a speaker or speakers on relevant issues, such as a lawyer talking on freedom of speech. The baby starts screaming.

Kevin says: “Maybe we’ll discuss the Iraq war?”

“What’s our group’s take on the war?” I ask. Will the words towel head or camel jockey be used somewhere in a sentence?

“They’re taking our money and getting our white soldiers killed,” the racist soccer mom says scornfully, giving her baby its bottle.

“Like, how many of our white soldiers are over there and have died? Like, thousands,” the dumpy girl chimes in.

As other Applebee’s patrons sit laughing, enjoying their meals, I sit here wanting to get the hell home. Finally, as we head toward the door, I say, “I’m going to go back and use the bathroom, but it was really nice meeting you.”

“We’ll wait,” says unsmiling Kevin, now making full eye contact. “Nancy’s going to go to her truck and get you some stickers to hand out.”

I try to spend as much time as possible in the men’s room, hoping the white supremacists will go away. On my return, the dumpy girl hands me a stack of crude, homemade stickers from her truck. They read “Earth’s Most Endangered Species: THE WHITE RACE Help preserve it.”

“I put these on the back of chairlifts when I go snowboarding!” the dumpy blond racist states proudly. Nearby, a young Hispanic woman starts talking in Spanish on her cell phone.

“That really ruins the mood,” remarks the dumpy girl, who hates Hispanics but loves snowboarding—carving turns on snow as white as the society she wishes she lived in.

Before leaving, I ask Kevin, “What made you decide to join the organization?”

He pauses, turning a bit reflective, almost philosophical. Perhaps he is about to provide a true meaningful insight into the complex psychology of white supremacy.

“I always hated minorities,” he states bluntly. “I’ve always never really liked being around them. They always made me feel uncomfortable. So, when I was 14, I decided to do something about it.”

“We were old-school skinheads from way back,” the racist soccer mom says perkily.

Now I see it. This is what happens to skinheads when they grow up, have kids and move to the suburbs. They become fatherly, respectable, racist white supremacists, the kind you’d wave to at the company picnic.

“What were you expecting?” asks Kevin, about my preconception of the evening.

I ponder that for a moment. I was looking for depth, and this is all I got. It’s as simple as this: Hate groups hate. That’s exactly what they do, in a cult-like way, expanding their ranks by preying on the lonely and isolated. There’s no great intellectual explanation for it.

“This was different—a lot different than I was expecting,” I mutter.

I’m given a handwritten address for the next meeting, which is going to be at a German restaurant on Watt Avenue. I can’t make it. But I’ll pass on the information to some people I know at the Anti-Defamation League.