You are hereRacism Review: Racist Groups Online & Off: What the Research Tells Us

Racism Review: Racist Groups Online & Off: What the Research Tells Us


-By Jessie Daniels

February 26, 2011- The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report this week about the alarming rise in hate groups in the U.S.  In the year 2010, there were 1,002 hate groups, the first time the number was over 1,000. The number hate groups in the U.S. has increased every year over the last decade. Because the rise in hate groups has coincided with the spread of the popular Internet, many people conclude the Internet is the cause of this phenomenon. For example, one news report on the SPLC data said the following:

“The growing epidemic of hate and extremism on both sides of the political spectrum is being fueled largely by the Internet, which provides a forum for the groups to communicate and spread their message.being fueled largely by the Internet, which provides a forum for the groups to communicate and spread their message.”

It’s not the Internet. At least, it’s not the Internet-only that’s to blame here.That’s also not what the SPLC report says. To see evidence that it’s not the Internet that’s fueling the rise in hate groups, you only need to look further in the SPLC Intelligence Report. The Patriot and Militia Groups declined from 1996 through 2008, key years in the growth of the Internet. Then, from 2008 to 2010 these groups began to rise again (fuzzy chart from SPLC below, original here).

If the Internet were fueling growth of hate groups across the board, then this bar chart would go up as Internet use increased.   But it doesn’t.  Instead, it dips in the middle, even during a period when Internet growth was growing.

Mainstream news reports also frequently suggest that hate groups are using the Internet to “recruit” new members.  For example, an ABC News Report suggests that a cloaked site I’ve written about here before is:

“a testament to how effectively hate groups have harnessed the power of the digital age to recruit new members, many of them young and vulnerable to such overtures, through Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites.”

Closely tied to this, is an often repeated line that hate groups use the Internet to “broadcast” their message, as in this passage from a 2008 news item:

“The site broadcasts a virtual newscast based on a real crime that morphs a photo of the black suspects into apes and charges that blacks have lower intelligence than whites. …hate groups are using YouTube, Facebook, online games and virtual worlds such as Second Life to target enemies and gain new recruits.”

FULL STORY HERE:

Partners

National Hispanic Media Coalition
Democrats.com
After Downing Street
Progressive Democrats of America
Justice Through Music
National Association of Latino Independent Producers
The Backbone Campaign
Voters For Peace
Chelsea Neighbors United
Locust Fork News Journal
Liberty Tree
People's Email Network
Hispanic/Latino Defamation Coalition SF
DialogueMakers.org
ProsecuteThemNow.com
BuzzFlash.com
ePluribus Media