Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hate Groups on the Rise Nationally, But Not in Tennessee

Posted By on Thu, Feb 21, 2019 at 1:17 PM

click to enlarge A 2018 white Nationalist rally Downtown Memphis
  • A 2018 white Nationalist rally Downtown Memphis

The number of hate groups in the United States rose by 7 percent in 2018, according to a recently released report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).


In its yearly report titled “The Year in Hate: Rage Against Change,” the group said there are now 1,020 active hate groups in the country, up from 954 in 2017. The SPLC defines a hate group as one having "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically their immutable characteristics."


Tennessee is home to 36 of those groups, including neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, and Black Nationalist groups, according to the report.

In Memphis, there were six active hate groups last year — Black Nationalist groups Great Millstone, Israel United, New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, and Nation of Islam, as well as the neo-Confederate group League of the South and the White Nationalist group The Right Stuff.


Although nationally the SPLC reports that the number of hate groups has risen by 30 percent over the last four years, the number of groups in Tennessee has seen a slight, but steady decrease since 2015. In 2015, there were 41 hate groups in the state, 38 in 2016, 37 in 2017, and then 36 last year.

click to enlarge Number of hate groups in U.S. over time - SPLC
  • SPLC
  • Number of hate groups in U.S. over time


However, in Memphis, the numbers have been following the national trend, going from four groups in 2015 to six in 2018.


The SPLC also found that White Nationalist groups nationwide surged by almost 50 percent last year, increasing from 100 chapters in 2017 to 148 in 2018. Meanwhile, the center found that Black Nationalist groups have also been more prevalent, growing from 233 in 2017 to 264 last year.


This trend has been apparent locally and statewide. From 2017 to 2018, the number of White Nationalists groups in Tennessee went from two to four. In Memphis there were no active White Nationalists groups in 2017, and then in 2018 one group, The Right Stuff became active.


At the same time, last year the number of Black Nationalists groups in the state went from six to seven and from three to four locally.

The report attributes the rise in the number of both groups to Donald Trump’s presidency.


“Most Americans are now fully aware that Trump is emboldening white supremacists and helping to grow their ranks,” the report reads. “An October poll by the Public Religion Research Institute shows a majority believe Trump has “encouraged white supremacist groups.”


The SPLC also cites that the U.S. Census Bureau’s projection that by 2044 white people will no longer be the majority in the United States “helped propel hate to a new high last year.”


Read SPLC’s full 2019 report here

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