Hate groups within the United States reached an all-time high in 2018. While a variety of hate groups increased, the most drastic rise was in white supremacy groups.
Nonprofit legal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) revealed the alarming statistic in a new report.
According to their findings, there were 1,020 hate groups in 2018. This was a 7% increase from 2017. It is slightly higher than the previous all-time record of 1,018 hate groups in 2011 — when Barack Obama, the first black president, was running for re-election.
A 20-year graph shows a steady increase in hate groups from 1999 before reaching the first peak in 2011.
A decline followed, which reached its lowest number of 784 hate groups in 2014, before spiking again to last year’s record.
Graph showing 20 years of hate groups | Photo: Southern Poverty Law Center
Types of hate groups and their violence
SPLC noted in their report that numerous types of hate groups have increased.
Black nationalist hate groups, which they describe as ‘typically antisemitic and anti-LGBT’, increased from 233 in 2017 to 264 last year.
The sharpest increase in hate groups, however, came from white supremacists. These groups increased by nearly 50% from 100 in 2017 to 148 in 2018.
Violence and death linked to radical right-wing groups also increased. In the US and Canada, these groups killed at least 40 people, up from 17 in 2017.
Last October, there was a mass shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. A man opened fire and killed 11 people, injuring six others.
This is also consistent with the FBI’s findings of a consistent rise in hate crimes in the US over the past three years.
Link to Trump?
The US Census Bureau projected white people will no longer be a majority in the country by 2044.
SPLC believes the rhetoric of Donald Trump fuels hate groups’ ‘fears of a forthcoming white-minority country’. They single out his anti-immigrant and Islamophobic language and policies.
This is seen in Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, depicting immigrants as ‘criminals’ creating a ‘crisis’, or his alleged comments about ‘shithole countries’ like Haiti.
Conversative media also perpetuate these ideas.
Laura Ingraham, a Fox News commentator, said ‘massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people’ and they’ve made it so ‘the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore’, which drew ire from her gay brother.
SPLC also warns of such hate groups’ access to the Trump administration.
Anti-LGBTI groups like the Family Research Council (FRC) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) reportedly ‘meet regularly with high-level administration officials to further their bigoted policy positions’.
Finally, the report states this extremism is gaining ground worldwide and will likely continue in 2019.
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