World, Americas

White extremism under Trump presidency rises 55%: Study

Increase in white hate groups driven by 'fear of demographic change,' says Southern Poverty Law Center

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 19.03.2020
White extremism under Trump presidency rises 55%: Study

ANKARA

White nationalist groups in the U.S. have increased 55% since 2017 due to the “fear of demographic change,” according to a recent study by an American nonprofit legal advocacy group specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said in 2019, the third year of U.S. President Donald Trump’s term, there was "a continued and rising threat to inclusive democracy: a surging white nationalist movement that has been linked to a series of racist and antisemitic terror attacks and has coincided with an increase in hate crime."

"The number of white nationalist groups rose for the second straight year, a 55 percent increase since 2017, when Trump’s campaign energized white nationalists who saw in him an avatar of their grievances and their anxiety over the country’s demographic changes," the report said.

Last year, 155 white nationalist groups were counted, separately from the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead and Christian Identity groups, which all could be fairly described as a white nationalist.

The report emphasized that since the turn of the millennium, American racists "have fretted over what they fear will be the loss of their place of dominance in society," and that an attack in El Paso, Texas in 2019, where 26 victims were killed, had been made with the same motive.

Although the FBI upgraded its assessment of "the threat posed by racially motivated extremists to a 'national threat priority’ and "the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a strategic shift toward countering racial hatred" last year, the report said those efforts are hampered by the Trump administration.

"Though the experts appear to understand the threat, they remain hamstrung by the Trump administration, which has hired members of hate groups into high-level positions and has on its staff people like Stephen Miller, the senior policy adviser in the White House who has long been allied with anti-immigrant hate groups," it said.

The total number of hate groups dipped nearly 8% to 940 from a record 1,020 in 2018 and the SPLC said that "this decline does not reflect a significant diminishment of the radical right or a fundamental shift in the general trend of the last several years, given the increased activity among white nationalist hate groups."

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