Symbols can serve many purposes. They may serve to identify members of a group and/or affirmation of an idea or ideology. Symbols may also be used to mark out the territory of a group or gang. Organized racist groups use symbols for all these purposes as well as to intimidate and harass the victims of their hatred However, before assuming that a person belongs to a group because they bear a symbol we need to investigate what the symbol means to the person wearing or using it, if possible. Speaking to the person about the meaning of a symbol can serve as an important intervention if conducted appropriately.
What can we do about racist symbols when they are used to intimidate and harass? The first step in dealing with racist symbols is to be able to identify them. Some racist symbols such as the swastika or the iron cross are widely known. Others are relatively new or less well known. You should also familiarize yourself with them and acronyms like ZOG (ZOG stands for "Zionist Occupied Government" and is used to create anti-semitic attitudes), RaHoWa (the acronym of the racist rock band, Racial Holy War), 14 Words (The 14 words are: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." The expression was originally coined by American neo-Nazi David Lane who is now 99 years in prison and has a publishing company and website by that name.) and significant dates in the white supremacist movement.
When you see a racist symbol, record the date, time, location, description of the wearer and particulars of your observation. Take a picture of the symbol, if possible. Report your observations to a law enforcement agency, the BC Hate Crime team and any one of the groups listed on the back panel of this brochure. Community groups are there to help. Some are dedicated to tracking and monitoring hate groups and their symbols.
(Symbols will accompany text)