As if juggling student loans and a respectable GPA weren’t hard enough, a new report claims college students have racist rhetoric to contend with as well.
The Anti-Defamation League reports that during the 2018-19 school year, there were 313 documented cases of white supremacist propaganda found on US college campuses, a seven percent jump from the previous academic year.
Of particular note: The 2019 spring semester had more documented cases of extremist campus propaganda than any other.
From the ADL:
For the 2019 spring semester alone, January through May, ADL documented 161 incidents on 122 different campuses in 33 states and the District of Columbia. California (34), Kentucky (18), Oklahoma (16), Ohio (13) and Utah (10) had the highest number of incidents.
College campuses are brimming with ambitious, impressionable minds, making them an ideal incubator for the next generation of white supremacists. The ADL notes that campuses have been strategically targeted since January 2016, but extremist propaganda—which includes fliers, stickers, and posters—didn’t yield any real results until the fall semester of that year.
One of the primary reasons propaganda campaigns are the preferred methodology of white supremacists is because they allow its practitioners to remain anonymous. It’s far easier to contaminate college campuses from the shadows, where free speech is welcomed but hateful rhetoric is explicitly prohibited. Plus, anonymity protects white supremacists from risking public exposure and in turn jeopardizing their livelihood.
The biggest perpetrators are the American Identity Movement (AIM), rebranded from Identity Evropa earlier this year, and Patriot Front, which defected from Vanguard America in 2017.
AIM, which favored messaging espousing the virtues of “nationalism not globalism” and that “diversity destroys nations,” was responsible for a jaw-dropping 71% of all campus propaganda during the 2018-19 school year. Patriot Front, which relied on a more extremist ideology, distributed propaganda on campus 30 times during the 2019 spring semester. Their messaging included phrases like “reclaim America” and “not stolen, conquered.”
Other groups named in the report include the Daily Stormer Book Club, the Church of Creativity, and the New Jersey European Heritage Association, who spread their own “it’s alright to be white” and anti-Semitic messages, but to a far lesser degree.
You can read ADL’s full report here.