Since 2016, a new group has entered the American social and political world: the Proud Boys. The group was relatively unknown until the first presidential debate in 2020 when President Trump asked the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” according to The Guardian.
In reaction to President Trump’s statement, The Guardian said members of the Proud Boys have begun wearing Make America Great Again hats and showing their support for the President.
According to the Washington Post, the Proud Boys identify their group as “a ‘Western chauvinist’ men’s club that believes in ending welfare, closing borders and adhering to traditional gender roles.”
Both The Guardian and the Washington Post cited the violent rhetoric and actions by the Proud Boys at their own rallies and at other, oftentimes left-wing, rallies using militaristic gear and wielding guns among other weapons.
“Members are pro-gun rights, against feminism and gender equality, and take a libertarian stance on issues such as welfare,” The Guardian reported.
USA Today reported that several Proud Boys appearances at rallies have resulted in actions requiring law enforcement to step into the conflicts.
“When the Proud Boys met with counterprotesters in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in August, the tensions boiled over into fights requiring law enforcement to step in,” the USA Today article said.
The Proud Boys reject supporting racism, but The Guardian said the group “incorporates elements of the ‘white genocide’ conspiracy theory.”
“‘White Genocide’ is a term coined by white supremacists for propaganda purposes … that the white race is ‘dying’ due to growing non-white populations and ‘forced assimilation,’ all of which are deliberately engineered and controlled by a Jewish conspiracy to destroy the white race,” the Anti-Defamation League said on their website.
The Proud Boys’ national attention has “validated” the group, according to USA Today, which worries some extremism and nationalism experts.
While still a small group, the Proud Boys have members across the country and show no signs of ceasing their efforts against the left political wing.