Re­port: Racist rhetoric rising on cam­puses

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NATION & WORLD - By Michael R. Sisak

NEW YORK — Col­leges in the U.S. are see­ing more racist rhetoric on cam­pus, a new re­port finds.

In­stances of white su­prem­a­cist pro­pa­ganda show­ing up on col­lege cam­puses trended higher in the re­cently com­pleted aca­demic year, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port pub­lished by Anti-Defama­tion League re­port.

That fol­lows a ma­jor spike in doc­u­mented cases of white su­prem­a­cist fliers, stick­ers, posters and other ma­te­rial in the 2017-2018 aca­demic year, the hate watch­dog group said.

And it’s only get­ting worse.

The just-com­pleted spring se­mes­ter saw more ex­trem­ist pro­pa­ganda on cam­pus than any pre­ced­ing se­mes­ter, the ADL said, with 161 in­ci­dents on 122 dif­fer­ent cam­puses across 33 states and the Dis­trict of Columbia.

The ADL re­port doc­u­mented 313 cases of white su­prem­a­cist pro­pa­ganda on col­lege cam­puses be­tween Sept. 1, 2018, and May 31, 2019, all of them stem­ming from or­ga­ni­za­tions as­so­ci­ated with what’s known as the alt-right move­ment.

That was a 7% in­crease from the pre­vi­ous aca­demic year, when there were 292 cases, ac­cord­ing to the ADL.

The 2017-2018 tally marked a 77% in­crease from the pre­vi­ous aca­demic year.

Oc­cur­rences of white su­prem­a­cist pro­pa­ganda in non-col­lege set­tings also spiked, with 672 in­stances in the first five months of 2019, the ADL said.

The re­cent surge in col­lege cam­puses points to greater ef­forts within hate groups to re­cruit young, im­pres­sion­able minds, while the over­all in­creases re­flect a po­lit­i­cal cli­mate where white su­prem­a­cist rhetoric is in­creas­ingly tol­er­ated, ADL CEO Jonathan Green­blatt said.

“There’s no doubt that these ex­trem­ists feel em­bold­ened when they’ve sud­denly be­come pre­sent in the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion,” Green­blatt said.

White su­prem­a­cist groups are work­ing so­cial me­dia to push their mes­sage to the masses and, in turn, have achieved a level of in­flu­ence in the po­lit­i­cal dis­course not seen in decades, Green­blatt said.

Some elected of­fi­cials are echo­ing white su­prem­a­cist mes­sag­ing and retweet­ing their memes, Green­blatt said. Their phras­ing, he said, “has lit­er­ally be­come sta­ples of dis­cus­sions on ca­ble talk pro­grams.”

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