Hate Groups On The Rise


There are currently 917 organizations classified as hate groups in the United States.

Bekah Redinger

Politics are as polarized as ever right now and it is no surprise that many new groups with contentious views are on the rise. Nationalism is a deep sense of national pride, and is often affiliated with xenophobia, jingoism, and other controversial mentalities, all of which cause problems in society and can often lead to war. For each movement in America, there is a counter-movement, and for the Nationalist groups, there are groups against them, such as many protesters who have been working hard to be seen and heard. On 2/2, rioters succeeded in their plan to cancel a speech that would be given by “alt-right” speaker Milo Yiannopoulos at University of California, Berkeley by setting off fireworks and attacking police barricades. The anti-fascists at this event wore masks and even attacked two Republican-affiliated students. These protests are reminiscent of other attacks that happened in Ferguson, Missouri, and protests during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.

There is a bigger issue, though, regarding the groups rising all over America. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently reported that there are 917 hate groups, defined as a group that “ha[s] beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics” operating all over the country. The last time the number of hate groups was this high was in 2011, the peak group for the number of hate groups in the last 20 years. However, it may be important to note that some of the hate crimes and groups reported may be exaggerated, and therefore the information on the website might be wrong.

There are many different kinds of hate groups in America, including ones from the far right and the far left. The different categories, according to the SPLC, are Anti-Immigrant, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim, Black Separatist, Christian Identity, General Hate, Holocaust Denial, Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Confederate, Neo-Nazi, Racist Music, Racist Skinhead, Radical Traditional Catholicism, and White Nationalist.

The goal of these various groups is to spread their ideologies, and those often end up being the cause of rallies and marches that can lead to crimes motivated by hate. Hate activities are defined as “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing”. It cannot be understated how dangerous acts of this sort can be. Shared sentiments against a group of people, combined with mob mentality, can quickly lead to violence. Only violent acts are illegal, but marches, rallies, speeches, and other things tend to foreshadow bigger issues. For proof, one must look no further than the protests in recent history, such as the infamous Birmingham Campaign of 1963, as well as what happened to protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota.

For people who are angry at the state of American politics or society, violence might seem like an answer. When anger, fueled by fear, takes over a person’s mind, there seems to be no other way out. But if a person allows violence to win, the point they are trying to make is lost.

It is not unreasonable to be frightened at the rise of hate groups, especially if some of them target an identity that an individual claims, and for most people there is at least one against them, whether it be for their race, gender identity, sexuality, religion, or political creed of a person. The fact of the matter is that American citizens have gone through problems like this before, and while there is no denying that most of those times have ended in pain for the victims, minority groups in America have been able to prevail. Whenever there is mass persecution, the most important thing is for all people to band together and become stronger than the oppression. Basic humanity and our love for other people overcomes hate, if we only let it. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”