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Against National Trend, Nevada Hate Groups Haven't Grown

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AP Photo/John Bazemore

In this April 23, 2016 photo, a man walks during a protest at Stone Mountain Park, in Stone Mountain, Ga.

Hate groups are on the rise.

Anti-Muslim groups nearly tripled in the United States last year, and hate groups overall rose by 3 percent, according to the latest report by the Southern Poverty Law Center

In Nevada, however, the number of hate groups remained the same.

Ryan Lenz is an editor for SPLC. He told KNPR's State of Nevada one of the primary drivers of the increase in hate groups has been the "tone and tenor of the presidential campaign."

He said President Donald Trump "blew a dog whistle" for a number of ideologies on the radical right, including when he called for a ban on all Muslims coming to the United States. A promise he made good on when signed an executive order banning people from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.

While SPLC believes these groups have been encouraged by the president's rhetoric on the campaign trail, Lenz said it is hard to tell whether they'll flourish during the Trump era or whether they'll suffer.

What he can say is that some of the white nationalist ideas that neo-Nazis hold are also held by some of the president's closest advisors.

Support comes from

“All indications are that the sentiments and ideologies that compromise the broad spectrum of hate in America are finding welcome and receptive patrons inside the federal government at this point in time,” he said.

A turn of events that he described as "a startling, troubling and terrifying reality to see America where we now are."

Lenz said the groups that have seen the biggest increase are anti-Muslim groups like ACT for America, which he says "paints the entire Muslim world as possible terrorists," and The Center for Security Policy which believes radical Islam has taken over almost every aspect of the federal government.

“These are groups that vilify Americans for what they believe,” Lenz said. Religion, like race, gender and ethnicity, is a protected class in the United States. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map shows the South is home to the greatest concentration of hate groups in the country.

Nevada has four known hate groups, which is what it has been for several years. Lenz said that is due to population. The larger and more diverse the population, he said, the more hate groups will be found.

Lenz said like so many other aspects of society the internet has changed hate in America. 

"The hate landscape in the United States has changed radically in the last couple of years for a number of reasons not the least of which is the internet.”

People no longer have to join a formal group. Instead, they can now join online communities to engage in hate speech with little of the social penalties associated with going to a meeting or rally.

All of the groups researched in the Southern Poverty Law Center report are protected by the First Amendment. 

 

 

Guests

Ryan Lenz, editor, Southern Poverty Law Center

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