White supremacist groups in the United States have been distributing propaganda at historically high rates in recent years, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. It seems to be part of a backlash against America’s growing diversity – a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future. Resistance to incitement to hatred must come especially from responsible conservative voices, which are less likely to be rejected out of hand by those who might be sensitive to these toxic messages.
Because these groups generally identify as conservatives, responsible conservatives should take the initiative to push back against this misrepresentation of their ideology. A stronger and more specific condemnation by GOP leaders against Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar for participating in a recent white nationalist event in Florida, for example, would go a long way to conveying this message and countering this toxic propaganda.
Those in society who are most susceptible to this poison aren’t likely to listen to the Joe Bidens of the world — but they might listen to prominent Republicans. These leaders have a vested interest in spreading the message that no matter what these dastardly groups say, true conservatism and white supremacy are not parallel belief systems.
The Anti-Defamation League report found more than 4,800 cases of white supremacist propaganda in 2021. That’s down slightly from 2020, but well above the previous three years in which the organization has tracked. such propaganda. Propaganda includes racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ banners, flyers, stickers and graffiti plastered in neighborhoods, on synagogues, on bridges over highways and on college campuses. It conveys messages such as “Hitler was right”, “Reclaim America”, and various interpretations of the white nationalist trope of “replacing whites” with non-whites.
Some of them are pandemic-themed — blaming Jews or immigrants for the coronavirus, for example — which may partly explain why such incidents began to rise in 2020, the year the pandemic began. pandemic. But the broader phenomenon of the American population becoming more racially diverse also seems to be a factor. The report’s author, Carla Hill, deputy director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told the Washington Post that the mounting incidents reflect racist groups becoming “increasingly desperate, losing luck that America is white”.
Coordination among various white supremacist groups in the distribution of propaganda has also increased. “This activity is more coordinated than ever,” Oren Segal, vice president of the Center on Extremism, told National Public Radio.
Recruiting new members is a big part of what drives propaganda. The hope is that disgruntled young white people, perhaps already nervous or angry about changes in society that they believe have diminished their power, could be pressured to take the next step and join supremacist organizations. white or anti-Semitic and to participate in their events (which are also increasingly numerous and frequent).
editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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