Calgary Police Criticized For Suggesting 'Loud, Heavy Rock Music' Links Kids To Hate Groups

September 5, 2017

Police in Calgary has been accused of promoting outdated stereotypes about heavy metal and rock music with the release of a pamphlet advising parents of possible signs that their child might be in a hate group.

In an information leaflet titled "Signs Of A Child Being Part Of A Hate Group," the police force lists "playing loud, heavy rock music with violent lyrics" as an "early warning sign."

A spokesperson for the Calgary Police defended the list, saying that listening to heavy rock music is a "common trend" in 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," Corwin Odland told Toronto Metro.

He added that the point isn't meant to be taken by itself — it's in context with other items on the list, like "making racist or bigoted comments," "wearing or displaying Nazi propaganda" and showing "overt hostility to parents and family."

The Calgary Police quickly came under fire after publishing the list online.

Speaking to Toronto Metro, a hardcore music fan accused the police of promoting outdated stereotypes about heavy metal and rock music.

"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," said Robert Riggs, adding that the stereotype was like the idea that video games cause violence.

"It's not monkey see, monkey do," he said. "Kids see their parents go to work all time, and they don't suddenly get up and find a job at seven years old."

The list has since been updated to remove the word "rock" from the description, although the reference to "heavy music" remains.

Spotify last month removed a number of white-supremacist acts from its streaming service that had been flagged as racist "hate bands" by the Southern Poverty Law Center three years ago. The removal came after Digital Music News, in the wake of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, identified at least twenty-seven "hate bands" from the SPLC list on Spotify.

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