Tech + Health

04.24.14

The Psychology of Frazier Glenn Miller’s Racist Homophobia

Frazier Glenn Miller, a former KKK leader and anti-Semitic murderer, was once arrested with a black, cross-dressing hooker. According to psychology and history, it’s not that surprising.

Former KKK leader Frazier Glenn Miller appeared in court today charged with the murder of three people outside a Jewish retirement home in Kansas. The neo-fascist wrote his own Declaration of War (PDF) in 1987, expressing his hatred for “Niggers, Jews, Queers, assorted Mongrels [and] White Race traitors,” and created a sinister scoring system, placing bounties upon the groups he so vehemently despised. “Influential Jews (25), queers (5), white race traitors (10)…” he wrote. The list goes on.

Miller’s checkered criminal past began most notably in 1979, when he was ousted from his post as an army sergeant after being found guilty of distributing racist literature. He went on to orchestrate the (now defunct) White Patriot Party—a group promoting nationwide domination and the murder of individuals and groups perceived as opposition—in his home state of North Carolina the next year. Miller quickly rose to prominence in the supremacist movement, in spite of a later sentence ordering no contact between him and fellow fascists.

A 1987 raid on his home then uncovered a deluge of weapons including dynamite, pipe bombs, and crossbows, landing him three years in jail, but his penitentiary time was short-lived after the authorities contracted him as an informant. Paid to snitch on other supremacists in a bid to crack down on his compatriots, his testimonies were often flawed, or relied on hearsay Miller knew would not lead to convictions.

But the most fascinating aspect about the hate-filled life of Frazier Glenn Miller is that he had previously been arrested “mid-act” with a black male transvestite prostitute. J. Douglas McCullough, federal prosecutor on Miller’s charges in the 1980s and now a judge on the North Carolina state court of appeals, learned of this particular episode during their investigation. “It was pretty shocking because of his personal stances that he had taken and what he was now accused of engaging in,” he told ABC. Although unwilling to go into the specifics filed in the police report, McCullough described the events as “rather salacious.”

The notion of becoming sexually involved with a person of the group one discriminates against dates back to America’s slave trade. “The history of white supremacy is defined by whites seeking profit, power, and pleasure from black bodies,” explains David J. Leonard, associate professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University, Pullman. This need for control, as opposed to strict racial segregation, can be exemplified through the proximity of white families to African Americans in the immediate aftermath of slavery’s abolition, with black women in intimate household roles such as wet-nursing.

“Fetish and fascination has gone side-by-side with racism. It’s about power, it’s about pleasure, it’s about imagining and treating African Americans as objects.”

At the same time, dominance garnered through sexual slavery burgeoned, with white men exerting their power over black women and girls. “There’s a whole history of white males engaging in illicit sex with black people,” Leonard continues. “Fetish and fascination has gone side-by-side with racism. It’s about power, it’s about pleasure, it’s about imagining and treating African Americans as ‘objects’ that exist for white consumption and white utility.”

That a man so extraordinarily committed to spewing hatred onto minorities would be found cavorting with someone who belonged to two of the groups he rallied against seems to connect with this theory of fetishization. But Miller was, unsurprisingly, quick to explain away his actions, claiming that he had lured the prostitute to his car in an attempt to “whip his ass.” During a 2013 phone conversation with Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, he boasted of his “violent history of going around picking up niggers and beating the hell out of ’em, particularly nigger faggots.” Given McCollough’s impression of the police report, though, this defense seems flawed at best.

In a further twist to Miller’s bigoted tale, he became linked to the 1987 Shelby III murders, where three men were executed at the North Carolina bookstore known for its predominantly homosexual customer base. Drafted in by the authorities to do the dirty on fellow supremacists as part of his plea deal, Miller accused Doug Sheets and Robert Jackson —two of his Declaration of War co-conspirators—of carrying out the killings. But the pair had alibis for the night of the shootings. Miller, however, did not, and the case remains unsolved.

Miller is facing several counts of murder for April 13’s shootings, and hate crimes are expected to be added to the list of charges leveled against him. For the families of Kansas’s three victims, and for those killed in the bookstore attack, the wait for justice continues.