White supremacist groups spread more racist, anti-semitic and otherwise xenophobic propaganda last year than at any point since the Anti-Defamation League began recording such incidents, according to a new report released Wednesday (March 17).
In the study, entitled “White Supremacist Propaganda Spikes in 2020,” the ADL’s Center on Extremism showed that hate organizations leaving flyers, banners and other paraphernalia in public areas went from 2,724 reported cases in 2019 to 5,125, averaging more than 14 daily incidents.
The propaganda material appeared in every U.S state except Hawaii and the highest level of activity was recorded in Texas, Washington, California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
“Hate propaganda is a tried-and-true tactic for white supremacists, and this on the ground activity is now higher than we’ve ever previously recorded,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL. “White supremacists appear to be more emboldened than ever, and the election year, the pandemic and other factors may have provided these extremists with additional encouragement.”
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The report also says that through 2020 the propaganda was distributed by at least 30 hate groups, but three groups in particular, Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association and the National Socialist Club were behind 92 percent of the activity.
Meanwhile Ku Klux Klan affiliated groups were behind 55 incidents in 2020, up slightly from 53 in 2019. But despite their much longer history of racist terrorism in the United States, their total number of incidents amounted to two percent of the total hate propaganda distribution.
“Propaganda gives white supremacists the ability to maximize media and online attention while limiting their risk of exposure or arrest,” Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said on the organization's website. “The literature helps to bolster recruitment efforts and spreads fear by targeting specific groups, including the Jewish, Black, Muslim and LGBTQ+ communities, as well as non-white immigrants.”
Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images
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