“What does it mean to be a Proud Boys Whisperer?”
No, it doesn’t mean I am a white supremacist or fascist sympathizer.
No, it doesn’t mean that I am a Proud Boys Girl or support them.
What it means is I have dedicated my life to helping people leave violent extremism and white supremacy. That is an actual field of study and it is my life’s work.
At the end of 2015 I took a theory course. Here I learned about terrorist history, tactics, and groups, but saw very few stories about those who could find it in themselves to leave terrorism behind.
This kind of person fascinated me and led me to my first research project: reading memoirs of former extremists to see how they were able to disengage. This project ultimately led me to focus on the psychology of terrorism and de-radicalization.
I’ve never looked back.
I am a subject matter expert on the Proud Boys and trusted source of insight and intel on emerging far right threats. I understand what it is like to fall in with a bad crowd, and how hard it can be to leave. I live for great conversations, hate preaching to the choir, and love making complex ideas accessible.
Come to office hours here!
“To understand the Proud Boys, it is important to understand one of the primary stages of their recruitment, “taking the redpill.” The redpill is the gateway into the conspiratorial thinking which drives the majority of far-right violent extremism. Through the redpill, Proud Boys choose a new reality that frees them from personal responsibility—a reality where they frame themselves as victims.”
“They’re really attempting to increase visibility and that’s kind of the connection between how they adopt the boogaloo aesthetic,” she said of the Proud Boys, “It is less about how they identify, because their views on Black Lives Matter differ from many self-identified boogaloo boys, but they will adopt the boogaloo aesthetic if it helps them maximize their visibility.”
Little scholarly research exists on participants in crypto-fascist extremist organizations. In this research paper, Samantha Kutner, MA, communication studies, explores the scripts and narratives that attract a certain demographic of men to join the Proud Boys. She discusses how the broader themes of self-categorization, precarity, and deliberate provocation manifest themselves. These themes are embedded in a fascist agenda and are expressed through the group’s recruitment, communication, and in-group identification.
“I view the Yellow Vest appeal in Canada as more strategic than ideological,” Kutner told National Observer. “It is more of a strategy to launder hateful ideology under what began as legitimate populist grievances.”
The yellow vest movement in France started as “a symbol for a populist movement against the elite in regard to oil and gas tax hikes,” Kutner said. But in Canada, she said, it “has been removed from its original context [and] is fuelled by entirely different content.”
The Proud Boys incident map and dashboard are data driven rebuttals to claims that the Proud Boys are a misunderstood fraternal drinking organization.