The Proud Boys, founded in 2016 by VICE media co-founder Gavin McInnes, have recently gained national media coverage after President Trump told the group to “stand back and stand by” during the first presidential debate on September 29.
Recently, a local Proud Boys chapter gained attention due to their presence at an area fall festival. Many viewers were interested in knowing more about the group and their point of view.
According to their website, the Proud Boys’ tenets are: minimal government, maximum freedom, anti-political correctness, anti-drug war, closed borders, anti-racial guilt, anti-racism, pro-free speech, pro-gun rights, glorifying the entrepreneur, venerating the housewife and reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism.
“We are not an “ism”, “ist”, or “phobic” that fits the Left’s narrative. We truly believe that the West Is The Best and welcome those who believe in the same tenets as us,” states their website.
Despite the claims of being anti-racist, the organization is widely perceived by the media and others to promote white supremacy.
So where did this perception of racism come from?
The idea seems to stem from the organization’s affiliation with some alt-right extremists, comments that founder McInnes has made, and the mention of the group in relation to white supremacy during the 2020 presidential debate, for example.
In response to the racism claims, Wade, secretary of Oklahoma City Proud Boys, states that he and his chapter denounce it. Wade chose to withhold his last name.
“It’s ludicrous. I am not white. I am Lebanese and Italian, like I’m the furthest from white that you could possibly be. The Proud Boys include all races,” said Wade. “I denounce racism. There’s no place for it anywhere… It’s an outdated philosophy… It was a generational deal and it’s just the way that they were raised. But I wasn’t raised like that by my parents, and so I don’t raise my daughter like that and none of us do,” said Wade.
“The notion of us being racist or bigots, it’s really tiresome and it’s easily debunked now,” said Aaron, one of the founders of the Kansas City Proud Boys. Aaron also chose to withhold his last name.
Wade explains that any man is welcome to become a Proud Boy after passing a background check and other security measures.
“Everyone needs to know that anyone is welcome… All races, all colors, all creeds. We have gay men in there, we have black men, there’s Asians, everybody’s in there. And what’s so funny is that the media casts this light on us like we’re racist but everybody in there gets along… We all have common goals and we all have pride in our country,” said Wade.
Although anti-racism is one of the Proud Boys’ tenets, white supremacists have tried to permeate the Kansas City Proud Boys in hopes to convert other members of the group, claims Aaron.
“We do have white nationalists and stuff try to infiltrate our clubs and chapters and stuff like that, but they are quickly weeded out… I, myself, have had guys like that in my chapter that I had no idea about but then once we found out, they’re swiftly kicked because we don’t want anything to do with that… No racists allowed, no racism has been a core tenet since the very beginning,” said Aaron.
Along with anti-racism, anti-racial guilt is also one of the Proud Boys’ tenets.
“Every country has its own deal. We all have dark histories and a dark past, but you can’t just focus on that. You’ve got to look at the broader picture of all the good that this country has done for the entire world,” said Aaron.
Wade further elaborates.
“We are anti-racial guilt… Like slavery, like reparations, all that stuff – we could give two sh*ts about that. It’s not our fault, we weren’t around. I never owned a slave, my family never owned slaves. So I’m sorry there was a tragedy… The trail of tears, smallpox, all that stuff, I didn’t do any of that and I would never do that to anyone. And if a government tried to do that today, all hell would break loose. So why am I made to feel guilty about a tragedy that happened, I mean, two, three, four generations before I was born?” said Wade.
“I just feel like that in the last four years there’s just been an attack on white men and women and it’s unjust and unfair,” said Wade. “We’re not going to apologize because of tragedies that happened during the creation of the greatest civilization, or country, this world has ever seen.”
The Proud Boys’ decree states: “I am a Western chauvinist and I refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.”
“It’s a sense of pride or nationalism, that’s what chauvinist means… We think that the West is the best… Everything that’s made America great, not to use Trump’s words or whatever, it has come from Western society. It hasn’t come from Africa, it hasn’t come from India, it hasn’t come from any third world nation. It’s all because of Western society,” said Wade.
“To me, it’s just kind of being proud of who you are in general… Any race has the right to be proud of their ethnicity, no matter what… No matter what ethnicity you are, it’s okay to be proud of your heritage,” said Aaron. “The West did help create the modern world, we ushered it to where it is now… This is without a doubt the greatest country in the world.”
Being a Proud Boy brings a sense of community and pride to its members.
“It’s brotherhood, it’s fraternity. So I mean that’s the most important part of being a Proud Boy, building relationships with people that you might not have ever met that have the same interests as you. I definitely get a sense of pride from it… I feel like, regardless of how your politics align with each other, I feel like we’re on the right side of what’s going on right now in the nation,” said Wade.
Wade stated that the Oklahoma City Proud Boys communicate daily and meet once a month for a meeting. They encourage entrepreneurship and helping one another.
“The main point of the Proud Boys, I mean, other than drinking beers or whatever, is to kind of network and it’s our responsibility as a group to build each other up to get everybody into a better spot,” said Wade.
Above all, being a Proud Boy means promoting traditional family values to Wade and Aaron.
“We promote the nuclear family, the right for the woman to stay at home if she chooses to. We prefer that. But if you want to go to college and start a career of your own, that is fine and dandy too. We try to promote the housewife, if that makes any sense,” said Wade.
“The West is great; we’ve got the nuclear family. And that was very much proven that a great society can be built on top of a great family unit. That’s extremely important and I think we really need to get back to the core fundamentals that made the country so great: raising a great family and kids that can understand that you treat people with respect no matter what color they are, what they believe in religiously or who they identify with in a political party,” said Aaron.
“Guys like the Proud Boys are trying to get back to the core fundamentals, trying to get people together and trying to repair the foundation of this country through, you know, lots of beer and good conversations,” said Aaron.
Wade explains that each chapter is independent from each other, as there are hundreds of chapters of the Proud Boys across North and South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
“We’re all autonomous, so we all govern independently… The rules that we have set in place in Oklahoma have no jurisdiction anywhere else. So everybody kind of is independent,” said Wade. “It’s real funny that’s it’s all these individual chapters but we all get grouped together and called terrorists and racists…”
Wade and Aaron do not represent all of the Proud Boys or their individual chapters.
Attempts to interview the Ozark Mountain Proud Boys were unsuccessful.
Visit last week’s article regarding the Ozark Mountain Proud Boys’ presence at a local fall festival.