Speed Reads

'more emboldened than ever'

White supremacist propaganda sharply increased in 2020, Anti-Defamation League reports

White supremacist propaganda sharply spiked in 2020, according to a new report, reaching the highest level ever recorded by the Anti-Defamation League.

The organization in a report Wednesday said its Center on Extremism "tracked a near-doubling of white supremacist propaganda efforts in 2020," including the "distribution of racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ fliers, stickers, banners and posters." There was a "huge increase" in incidents with 5,125 reported cases, up from 2,724 the previous year and the "highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents ADL has ever recorded."

The white supremacist propaganda was at its highest levels in Texas, Washington, California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, but appeared in every state other than Hawaii, and just three groups were behind 92 percent of the activity, the ADL said.

The ADL also pointed to a 68 percent increase in the distribution of antisemitic propaganda compared to 2019. While there was a "steep" decline in white supremacist propaganda being distributed on college campuses, the ADL suggested this was possibly due to fewer students being on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a 26 percent decline in white supremacist events, as well.

"Hate propaganda is a tried-and-true tactic for white supremacists, and this on the ground activity is now higher than we've ever previously recorded," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said. "White supremacists appear to be more emboldened than ever, and the election year, the pandemic and other factors may have provided these extremists with additional encouragement."