White Supremacist Propaganda Increased 182%, ADL Finds

The ADL found that white supremacist groups began stepping up their efforts off university and college campuses in 2018.

White Supremacist Propaganda Increased 182%, ADL Finds

The ADL recorded 319 incidents on 212 college and university campuses.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a leading anti-hate organization, released a new report that found white supremacy propaganda increased 182 percent in 2018.

The group says that as individuals, white supremacists want to remain anonymous, but still promote their ideology. To do both, they turn to propaganda efforts, which limits personal exposure, negative media coverage and possible arrests.

Data also showed that U.S. college campuses saw a lot of propaganda distribution this past year. The ADL recorded 319 incidents on 212 college and university campuses.

The real increase was seen off campus, however, skyrocketing from 129 off-campus incidents in 2017 to 868 in 2018.

Many times, fliers were left on doorsteps and banners were hung on highway overpasses. The subtlety of the fliers is an intentional tactic, the ADL says.

“If you know what you’re looking at, the white supremacist’s banners, stickers and fliers clearly convey racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” ADL senior investigative researcher Carla Hill wrote in Politico. “But the messaging is not always hateful.”

One example of this is Identity Evropa, the country’s largest alt right group, who were responsible for nearly half of the propaganda seen in 2018, according to the ADL. Their latest fliers feature George Washington or Andrew Jackson and say, ‘European roots American Greatness.’

In 2018, there were 1,187 cases of white supremacist propaganda, which is 766 more than in 2017.

The propaganda often includes a recruitment aspect and targets minority groups including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

Recently, other organizations have also reported an increase in incidents of hate. Last year the FBI noted a three-year rise in hate crimes, including a 17 percent increase in 2017 compared to the previous year. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there has been a 30 percent increase in U.S. hate groups over the past four years and a seven percent increase in 2018 alone.

ADL also provides a H.E.A.T Map, a visual representation of where in the country these efforts are taking place. In 2018, incidents were mostly in large metropolitan areas, with the highest activity in California, Texas, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Florida and Virginia.

The map also showed 91 supremacist events tracked by the Center on Extremism in 2018. They found that groups were pre-announcing events to the public less.

By doing this, the risk of individual exposure, negative media coverage and public backlash could be limited. However, fewer pre-announced events often meant fewer attendees.

Private white supremacist events draw larger crowds and are currently the movement’s most-attended gatherings.

To see the full report from the ADL, click here.

About the Author

Katie Malafronte
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Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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