The distribution of white supremacist propaganda nearly doubled across the United States in 2020, with 5,125 incidents of racist, anti-Semitic and other hate messages reported by an advocacy group.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said on Wednesday that 2020 had the “highest level” of cases of such propaganda since it began monitoring the phenomenon, an average of about 14 cases a day. There were 2,724 cases reported in 2019, ADL saying.
The release of the ADL report came hours after a gunman shot and killed eight people in several Atlanta-area massage parlors: six of the murdered victims were of Asian descent and seven were women – raising fears that the revelry was racially motivated. The shootings took place amid a rise in intolerance against Asians in the US, which has included harassment and physical attacks.
The ADL Center for Extremism monitored the dissemination of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ + posters, banners, flyers and stickers by members of far-right and white supremacist groups. A minimum of 30 “known white supremacist groups” were responsible for the bigoted propaganda push, which affected 49 states last year.
“Hate propaganda is a tried and true tactic for white supremacists, and this activity on the ground is now higher than we have previously recorded,” ADL CEO Jonathan A Greenblatt said in a press release. . “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.”
The highest incidence of cases was recorded in Texas, with 574 reports, while Washington had 345, California 333, New Jersey 323, New York 308 and Massachusetts 276, respectively. Hawaii was the only state where hate propaganda did not appear, according to the ADL.
Three groups, the Patriot Front, the New Jersey European Heritage Association and the National Socialist Club, were behind 92% of the distribution efforts detected. The Texas-based Patriot Front was behind 80% of all propaganda cases in the United States – 4,105 of these incidents, ADL said.
There were 283 cases that had anti-Semitic language, or that specifically targeted Jewish institutions, a 68% increase over 2019.
However, there was a “sharp drop” in the spread of white supremacy propaganda on college campuses: 303 in 2020, compared to 630 in 2019. ADL reported that there were no major campaigns targeting campuses in 2020, “very much probably due to the pandemic and lack of students on physical campuses ”.
“Propaganda gives white supremacists the ability to maximize online and media attention while limiting their risk of exposure or arrest,” Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL Center on Extremism, said in a press release.
“The literature helps reinforce recruitment efforts and spreads fear by targeting specific groups, including the Jewish, Black, Muslim and LGBTQ + communities, as well as non-white immigrants.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism