Reader note: I am an American, white male.
They’re the 21st century version of the Ku Klux Klan, fearful that they’ll be forgotten, overrun, or simply ignored. It’s what drives their hate-filled tirade against anyone not male and white. But according to Proud Boys, they’re just a group of guys trying to hold on to old-fashioned Western values. So which is it? Patriots or a terrified majority on the verge of losing their status?
Proud Boys are a far-right organization, male only, with a subservient female version of the group called Proud Boys’ Girls. They were founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, the rich, elite white guy that created Vice Media in 1994 then got booted from the organization in 2008 because of his outwardly spoken racist views. Proud Boys take shelter behind nationalists views and call for “closing the borders”, an odd demand given Gavin McInnes is a two-time immigrant himself (he immigrated from UK to Canada in 1974, then immigrated to the United States 20 years later).
They have an unusual initiation process that includes citing a promise to remain loyal to their cause, reciting pop culture mantras (e.g. “Ready, go, Cheerio!”), getting a tattoo identifying them as a proud boy, fighting someone (preferably Antifa), then agreeing not to masturbate. Seriously guys, I’m not making this stuff up. According to the group, the refrain from masturbation is to encourage members to go out and “meet women”. Now might be the time to mention that McInnes youthful punk-rock band was named “Anal Chinook”.
Proud Boys have a few accomplishments they consider noble. In February 2017 at a McInnes speech at New York University they got knocked around by Antifa after encouraging each other to attack the “faggots wearing black that won’t let us in”. Later that year they rode in a caravan through Islamberg, New York, a community of 20 black Muslim families (the majority of which are women and children). In late 2018, McInnes mimicked an oriental person at the Metropolitan Republican Club which resulted in a Proud Boys/Antifa brawl in which a Antifa smashed a bottle over one of the Proud Boy’s heads.
Proud Boys steadfastly maintain they are a legit conservative political group. Others brand them a band of racist, misogynist, frightened men from Canada, the USA, and the UK who are terrified of becoming a minority. Let’s run through some facts:
- The group’s introduction to the world came via Taki’s Magazine when Richard Spencer, the notable American white supremacist, was the editor.
- Southern Poverty Law Center and NPR’s The Takeaway categorize them as a hate group.
- McInnes has publicly claimed white men and Western culture is “under siege”.
- They often wear shirts that praise Augusto Pinochet, the US-backed dictator that murdered scores of Chilean leftists between 1973 and 1990.
- In 2018, the FBI classified the Proud Boys as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism.
- McInnes has been quoted as saying “I don’t want our culture diluted. We need to close our borders now and let everyone assimilate to Western, white, English-speaking way of life.”
- McInnes has said Muslims “have a problem with inbreeding. They tend to marry their first cousins and that is a major problem in the US when you have mentally damaged inbreds.”
- McInnes penned a missive titled “Ten Things I Hate about Jews”.
- Twitter has shut down McInnes and Proud Boys accounts citing hate-filled content.
Welcome to the new era of white male identity politics.
- They like yellow – and shirts that say POYB (proud of your boy). Shirts are often Fred Perry polos with black with yellow-trim on neck and sleeve.
- They love khaki pants with lots of pockets.
- Their “sign” is an “OK” sign with finger touching thumb and three fingers prominently extended.
- Their logo is a rooster with a “Proud Boys” banner and the tagline “The West is the Best”.
- The Proud Boys Girls logo is either a bloody knife and lipstick tube or a bloody knife and a tampon (it’s difficult to tell).
- They love red MAGA hats and consider Trump their savior.
- They frequently point out that they’re not a racist and have one black friend.
- They really believe “reverse racism” is a thing.