Article by Digital Music News
Following the devastating events in Charlottesville, the music industry and tech companies have joined forces to work against hate. Companies like Spotify have taken down white supremacist and neo-Nazi content from their platforms. In addition, government officials have worked to raise awareness about the dangers of hate groups.
Yet, one organization has taken things just a bit too far.
Titled Signs of a Child Being Part of a Hate Group, the Calgary Police Service issued a list of signs that worried parents should look for in their children. Reading through the list, you’ll find common warning signs like violent behavior and stereotyping certain ethnic or religious groups. The police force also urged parents to remain vigilant for behavior such as children wearing or displaying Nazi propaganda.
But did you know that playing loud heavy rock music also counts as a warning sign? Maybe it’s time to put away your favorite AC/DC and Black Sabbath albums.
Maybe we’re all in a hate group.
In the leaflet, you’ll find some common child and teenage behaviors that Canadian officials list as “early warning signs.” This includes a “sudden lack of interest in school” and “adopting new groups of friends.”
As a child and a teenager, I hardly cared about school. I also made new friends pretty easily thanks to my sarcastic personality. The last time I checked, however, I didn’t belong to a neo-Nazi group. In addition, having Latin roots wouldn’t have allowed me to easily form part of a group that chants Heil Hilter, anyway.
The Calgary Police force also said that “secretive behavior” may show that your child could belong to a hate group. So, if your child hides the fact that they forgot to do their homework, they belong to a hate group. If a married adult (like myself) hides that they forgot to purchase the groceries, they’re most likely a neo-Nazi.
In addition, if your child suddenly changes his or her appearance, name-calls someone, or behaves disobediently, watch out. They most likely belong to a hate group. I now wonder if both of my daughters fall into this category.
Also, do you or your child listen to Metallica, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, or Black Sabbath? Playing “heavy rock music with violent lyrics” is listed as one of the clearest signs of belonging to a hate group.
“My kid loves heavy rock music but he’s not in a hate group.”
The Calgary Police Service quickly came under fire after publishing the list online.
Robert Riggs, a hardcore rock fan, believes that the Calgary Police Service has promoted an outdated stereotype. Speaking with the Toronto Metro, Riggs said that his son loves heavy metal. Yet, that hasn’t defined his personality.
“My son, he listens to heavy metal, and he’s one of the nicest kids ever, but I tend to see him lumped into a group he doesn’t belong in.”
Riggs doesn’t believe that young people who listen to rock or heavy metal will eventually belong to a hate group.
“It’s kind of gone the way of video games cause violence and things like that. It’s not monkey see, monkey do. Kids see their parents go to work all time, and they don’t suddenly get up and find a job at seven-years-old.”
A Calgary Police spokesperson pushed back against Riggs’ accusation. Corwin Odland said that research showed that listening to heavy rock music “is a common trend” among hate groups.
“We’re not saying all people who listen to rock music are part of hate groups, but there tends to be a correlation – people who are involved with hate groups tend to be involved in that kind of music.”
Odland added that people shouldn’t take the point by itself. Rather, they should contextualize it with other items on the list.
Since the story’s publication, the Calgary Police Service has taken the word “rock” out. “Playing loud, heavy music with violent lyrics” still prominently remains, however.
You can check the Calgary Police Service’s website here. You can also find the original, unedited image featuring ‘loud, heavy rock music’ below.