Hate groups proliferate in the U.S. But there’s one tiny bit of good news

Image license CC 2.0 by Evan Nesterak via Wikimedia Commons

Active hate groups in the U.S. are expanding at an alarming rate, according to an annual report by The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The number of groups promoting hateful ideologies has escalated sharply, reaching the highest levels in 20 years, rising seven percent from 2017 alone, and 30 percent from 2018.

And while these groups include Black nationalists, neo-Nazis, and several others, the biggest rise has been among white nationalists, the SPLC notes. There were 264 of these groups reported last year, The Hill reports.

“Much of the energy on the radical right this year was concentrated in the white supremacist milieu,” the report states. “After a lull that followed the violence in Charlottesville, which brought criminal charges and civil suits that temporarily dampened the radical right’s activism and organizing, newer groups gathered momentum.”

President Donald Trump is at least partly responsible for the proliferation of white nationalist organizations, the report indicates, and a majority of the public, including 50 percent of white people, believe Trump is a racist. Not only that but white supremacist groups that came into existence after he announced his 2015 campaign have increased their memberships.

But there is one bright spot in this sea of hate — despite the shocking uptick in hate groups, the popularity of the Ku Klux Klan is declining. That is at least partly due to the group’s inability to connect with younger people who may share its’ ideology.

“The KKK has not been able to appeal to younger racists, with its antiquated traditions, odd dress and lack of digital savvy,” the report states. “Younger extremists prefer Fred Perry polo shirts and khakis to Klan robes. It may be that the KKK, having somehow endured since 1866 is finally on its last legs.”

So the KKK may be its own undoing. Interesting. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer group of people.

But one reason other white nationalist organizations are on the rise may be due to the declining white population in the U.S. Findings by the U.S. Census Bureau show that by 2044, whites will make up less than 50 percent of the population.

The rise in hate groups is also in lockstep with racial violence, spurred by the proliferation of the alt-Right political movement, the SPLC notes.

“In 2018, at least 40 people in the U.S. and Canada were killed by individuals who were either motivated by or attracted to far-right ideologies, embracing ideas and philosophies that are cornerstones of the alt-Right,” the report adds.

And as if that’s not discouraging enough, here’s where the news takes a real downturn: Violence connected to these hate groups may well increase if their members become more disillusioned with politics. This is really scary news.

“Given these trends, there are no signs that the violence, which has been all-too-common over the past two decades, will let up,” per the report. “In fact, if the hate movement abandons politics as a solution to demographic change, as recent denunciations by prominent white supremacists seem to indicate, more angry lone wolves … may see violence as a solution.”

Apparently, our racist president isn’t quite racist enough for them.

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Featured image license CC 2.0 by Evan Nesterak via Wikimedia Commons