The “Free Hate” era: Number of US hate groups reaches all-time high – in Colorado alone, 22 groups identified
"Hate" has really diversified in this country.
It is no coincidence that the 4th year of Donald Trump’s presidency also marks the 4th consecutive year that the number of hate groups in America has grown. These groups are popping up all across the country, in every state (except, somehow, New Mexico), like a rampant infestation of weeds.
In Colorado alone, this new research identified 22 different hate groups.
Over the course of Trump’s term in office, the number of these groups has grown by over 30 percent, jumping seven percent just in 2018. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a revered civil rights group that has been tracking the number of hate groups in the US since 1971, this is unprecedented. There are more hate groups operating in America now than there have ever been before — a whopping 1,020 different organizations out there spreading their hateful messages.
“The numbers tell a striking story — that this president is not simply a polarizing figure but a radicalizing one,” Heidi Beirich, the director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, said in a statement about their findings. “Rather than trying to tamp down hate, as presidents of both parties have done, President Trump elevates it — with both his rhetoric and his policies. In doing so, he's given people across America the go-ahead to act on their worst instincts.”
Just as the “free-love” movement defined the sixties, this era in American history might well be remembered for its liberation of hate.
There are anti-LGBT groups, anti-immigrant groups, neo-Nazi’s, black nationalists, white nationalists, male-supremacists, holocaust deniers, racist skinheads and neo-Confederates. A cursory glance over the SPLC “hate map” and you’ll recognize household hate names scattered across the states, chain-groups like the Ku Klux Klan, the Proud Boys and the Nation of Islam. But there are also a lot of grass-roots, one-off groups you’ve probably never heard of before. Local, organically grown groups like Red Ice, the Vatican Assassins, Watchmen of Israel, Label 56, the Pray for Jesus’ Name Project, Wolves of Vinland and the Northern Kingdom Prophets…
Hate, it seems, has really diversified in this country. No matter what brand, denomination or orientation of hate a hater identifies with, there is a group out there for them. It’s an all-inclusive model for exercising prejudice.
The groups identified in Colorado range from general hate groups, like American Guard and the Asatru Folk Assembly, to anti-LGBT groups like Generations, MSR Productions and Family Research Institute. We’ve also got black nationalist groups (Nation of Islam, Northern Kingdom Prophets, Israel United in Christ), white nationalist groups (Identity Evropa, Patriot Front, the Right Stuff), and even a neo-Nazi group known as the Atomwaffen Division. That’s not all, either.
This is a disconcerting truth to grapple with. It illustrates strikingly that, even in a place like Colorado, that feels safe and accepting, that seems to have its hate under control and its head on straight, ugly pockets of xenophobia and ignorance are still boiling beneath the tranquil surface. And not even legal marijuana can stop them.
Most of the groups identified by the SPLC were driven by white nationalist or Christian ideologies. But, the SPLC notes, because these white-power groups are on the rise, a lot of black nationalist groups are also sprouting up in response.
Hate sows hate, it seems, and if this pattern continues, America may find itself stuck in a wild downward-spiral, a positive feedback loop that only breeds negativity.
Is this the era of “free-hate?”
Perhaps. But, as with all things, what goes up must also eventually come down, and hopefully, this rise in American hate-groups is no exception.