Hate Speech: New study finds that propaganda for White Supremacy hit historically high levels in 2021
The propagation of White Supremacist propaganda in the United States remained at historically high levels in 2021 despite a small recent dip, a new study from the Anti-Defamation League has revealed.
ADL’s research found that although 2021 data indicated a 5% drop in incidents of distributing White supremacist propaganda from 2020 – with 4,851 cases reported, compared with 5,125 the year before – the numbers remain at worryingly serious levels.
Throughout 2021, White Supremacist propaganda was reported in all states except Hawaii. The highest levels of propaganda activity occurred in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland and New York.
There were also more actual events being held by extremist groups. “In 2021, ADL documented 108 White Supremacist events, more than double the 53 events held in 2020, and the most events recorded in any of the past five years,” the ADL said on Thursday.
The ADL found that in 2021, at least 38 White Supremacist groups distributed propaganda, including pieces that presented Ashli Babbitt, a January 6 rioter, as a martyr for their cause. Other campaigns included ones that supported Kyle Rittenhouse – who shot and killed anti-racism protesters in Wisconsin – with propaganda pieces claiming “Kyle was right.”
Among the 38 White Supremacist groups tracked by the ADL, three groups – Patriot Front, New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA) and Folkish Resistance Movement (FRM) – were found to be responsible for 91% of all propaganda activity.
Patriot Front, a Texas-based alt-right group, was responsible for 3,992 of all the propaganda incidents in 2021, constituting more than 82% of nationwide incidents. According to ADL, the group distributed propaganda in every state except Hawaii and Alaska.
The group’s activities were largely concentrated in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas and Maryland and its members were responsible for 82% of propaganda distribution across college campuses and 94% of White Supremacist stenciled graffiti.
NJEHA was behind 219 propaganda incidents last year, making up 5% of the total nationwide propaganda activity, a 57% decrease from their 2020 efforts. Its activities were recorded in 28 states but were mostly concentrated in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.
NJEHA’s propaganda campaigns were found to have targeted various groups including Jewish people, Black people, immigrants or the LGBTQ+ community. Examples of their propaganda slogans include, “They hate you for being White,” “Stop the Third World invasion of America,” “There are only two genders,” “Black crimes matter,” and “Why are Jews censoring free speech?”
FRM, a hate group created with the intent to spread national socialism, was responsible for the third highest number of propaganda incidents in 2021. Additionally, the group was responsible for 50% of antisemitic propaganda incidents last year. Its activities were recorded in 19 states but were mostly found in Minnesota, Mississippi, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
In addition to tracking White Supremacist propaganda, the ADL also found that antisemitic propaganda distribution has soared compared with the previous year.
The ADL recorded 352 propaganda incidents that included either antisemitic language or symbols, targeted Jewish institutions or both, marking a 27% jump from the previous year.