Number of Hate Groups Has Declined, While Online Hate Crimes and Extremism Is on the Rise, SPLC Says
Many of the hate groups have moved to social media platforms and use of encrypted apps, while others have been banned altogether from mainstream social media networks, CBS reported.
The number of hate groups in the U.S. has declined, but hate has not, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which released its annual report Monday. According to the report, "The Year in Hate and Extremism 2020," the number of active hate groups in the U.S. declined as far-right extremists have migrated to online networks, which are more difficult for white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups to track, CBS News reported.
Many of the hate groups have moved to social media platforms and use encrypted apps, while others have been banned altogether from mainstream social media networks, CBS reported.
The SPLC noted that many online platforms allow individuals to interact with hate and anti-government groups without becoming members. This emboldens likeminded people to maintain connections and take part in dangerous acts, including the assault on the U.S. Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters and members of far-right groups, which resulted in five deaths, including a Capitol police officer, CBS reported.
The report’s 2020 Hatewatch list identified 838 active hate groups operating across the U.S. in 2020, a decrease from the 940 documented in 2019 and the record-high of 1,020 in 2018.
Florida is home to 68 different hate groups, slightly higher compared to 2019, when SPLC tracked 67 hate groups in the state, clickorlando.com reported. And, at least 10 hate groups have chapters in Central Florida, SPLC. California was the only state in the U.S. with more active hate groups: 72.
The non-profit organization monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists,including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, antigovernment militias and Christian Identity adherents. The SPLC is currently tracking more than 1,600 extremist groups operating across the country.
The report, first shared exclusively with The Associated Press, stressed the importance “to understand that the number of hate groups is merely one metric for measuring the level of hate and racism in America.”
“The decline in groups should not be interpreted as a reduction in bigoted beliefs and actions motivated by hate,” read the report.
The report also noted white nationalist organizations, a subset of the hate groups listed in the report, declined last year by more than 100. Those groups had seen huge growth the previous two years after being energized by Donald Trump's campaign and presidency, the report said. And, the number of anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBTQ hate groups remained largely stable.
"What’s important is that we start to reckon with all the reasons why those groups have persisted for so long and been able to get so much influence in the last White House, that they actually feel emboldened," SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang told the Associated Press.
Since the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, federal authorities have charged at least 172 people and are investigating hundreds. Authorities have also linked roughly 30 defendants to a group or movement, according to an AP review of court records.
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