According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the number of active hate groups in the United States has risen drastically in the last year. One, in particular, is the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). After years of apparently fading into the annals of history, the KKK saw a resurgence in activity last year, according to a report published by a hate group watchdog. Yesterday, members dressed as this well-known white supremacy group joined Donald Trump supporters at a Las Vegas high school for the Nevada Caucus.
In 2015, the demonization of immigrants, Latinos and Muslims became commonplace. African-Americans have long topped that list and maintain the crown as the most despised. However, Republican hopeful Trump made headlines early on in his presidential run after referencing Mexican immigrants as drug dealers and rapists. He then called for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration after citing a bogus “poll” by the Center for Security Policy that falsely claimed that a quarter of American Muslims support violent jihadists such as the members of the Islamic State.
On Tuesday evening, alleged KKK members dressed in white robes and cone heads bore signs expressing their support for the presidential hopeful. Regardless of their mission, the presence of this hate group coincides with the release of new data, reported by the New York Times, that quantifies the extent of Trump supporters’ narrow-mindedness. The handwritten signs carried by the garbed supporters outside the high school for the Nevada Caucus read:
Trump speaks 4 me
Trump 2016. Make America great again.
Last year alone, the number of American KKK-affiliated groups increased from 72 to 190. The SPLC noted a serious comeback with a 164 percent increase in the number of active groups. The report pointed to the main reason for the spike in the number being the splintering of two of the Ku Klux Klan’s largest groups: The Fraternal White Knights and the Knight Rider Knights. These two branches basically disappeared in 2015 leaving the majority of the members to go on to form smaller splinter groups. After the murder of nine African-Americans by a white supremacist named Dylan Roof, there were an estimated 364 rallies held across the nation after the South Carolina decided to remove the Confederate flag from its state grounds.
Numbers have dwindled in some hate-filled sections of the country. Ironically, this is also a cause for concern because the report suggests that the decrease in number might be a “reflection, perhaps, that hate in the mainstream had absorbed some of the hate on the fringes.” Simply stated, this could be a major indicator that traditional fringe groups might have finally found mainstream voices that they can get behind.
The percentage of active hate groups had begun to decrease after a high spike in 2011. There are a few possible factors which may have caused the recent rise such as the same-sex marriage ruling, Black Lives Matter movement, the upsurge of ISIS (fears of radical Islamic terrorism entering the U.S.), immigration woes and the rise of Trump. All of these are possible triggers in the insurgence of hate groups.
Hate groups, as designated by the SPLC, are active in 48 states and Washington D.C. The only states without active hate groups are Hawaii and Alaska, the two that are physically removed from the continental United States. One of the major hate groups in the country, the KKK, saw a significant spike in membership over the past year. To the surprise of many, members dressed as this well-known white supremacy group physically joined Trump supporters yesterday at a Las Vegas high school for the Nevada Caucus.
By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
The Public Slate: Ku Klux Klan Members Support Donald Trump at Nevada Caucus
The Washington Times: KKK-style protest mars caucus at Las Vegas site
Fusion: The number of KKK groups in America more than doubled last year
Southern Poverty Law Center: SPLC’s Intelligence Report
The New York Times: Measuring Donald Trump’s Supporters for Intolerance
Top Image by Julius Davis Courtesy of Cathy Milne – Used With Permission
Inline / Featured Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore – Flickr License