According to Wikipedia, the ‘Proud Boys’ are a far-right, neofascist, and male only organization. They encourage political violence, they also encourage white men to join, yet in the past they have claimed to be “non-violent” and “not white supremacists.” In November 2018, the FBI stated that the Proud Boys are officially an extremist group with ties to white nationalism. They have been known to be misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, anti LGBTQ+, and anti-Semitic.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Gavin McInnes, the former co-CEO of VICE media, founded the group in 2016. He essentially started the group as a “fraternity” for men to drink and talk about western culture, but then the Boys started becoming violent. Many times, they have insisted that the “rumors” of their violence and racism aren’t real and that they acted out of self-defense, but these claims have been proven false as members of the Proud Boys have been convicted of violence on multiple occasions. There are multiple chapters of the Proud Boys around the United States and there are leaked videos of the Proud Boys being violent during protests and other gatherings.
According to splcenter.org, the Proud Boys are a hate group who believe that by spreading violence and white nationalism, they will create the “modern world.” Ironically, this would take us backwards, not to a better, more modern world.
In the past, President Trump hadn’t shared his support for the Proud Boys. However, in October 2019, Trump Jr. posted a photo of him with the Proud Boys. And on Tuesday, September 29, Trump announced during the debate for the Proud Boys to “Stand Back, and Stand By,” when he was asked to condemn white supremacy. Instead of condemning racism, President Trump insinuated he was in support of the Proud Boys.
According to adl.org, the Proud Boys have participated in quite a lot of protests:
1.) The California protests at the University of California-Berkley in 2017
2.) The neo-Nazi “White Lives Matter” rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee in October 2017.
3.) The “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017.
4.) The Protest in Oregon on August 22, 2020.
These are just a few of many protests that the Proud Boys have been a part of, and often disrupted or caused violence.
No one really talks about the Proud Boys when it comes to violence in protests. Especially with the far-right, they tend to blame the protesters, saying they started it, or its “ANTIFA’s fault.” However, according to data gathered from sources like acleddata.com, nearly 95% of the protests are peaceful. So, this makes us wonder, what about the other 5% then? Is it safe to say that the violence from the other 5% could be started by the Proud Boys, a hate group that is not only known for its white supremacy, but also for their violent nature? Is it safe to say, that President Trump not only backs them up, but so does their founder?
All these questions bring up needed conversation; we should be talking about this more. The Proud Boys aren’t brought up enough when it comes to issues like the Black Lives Matter peaceful protests, or violence during protests in general. Perhaps if we start addressing this issue, then actions will take place to dismantle such a violent group.