More than 900 hate groups are operating around the U.S., including many around our region. While numbers went down slightly earlier in the decade, they have rebounded, said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama.
“We’re still looking at counts that are around 900, which is vastly higher then what we saw during the 1990s,” he said.
While a number of factors may account for the increase, politics clearly seems to be a motivating factor, Potok said, citing the rise in Ku Klux Klan groups.
“Our analysis of that is that came largely as a result of the backlash against the Confederate battle flag” that followed the mass shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015, he said.
In this region, neo-Nazi groups are gaining strength.
“Over the last few years, we have seen an awful lot of skinheads, neo-Nazis, neo-Nazi skinheads,” Potok said. “New Jersey, in particular, had a very real problem for quite a while.”
During a talk with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller, Potok also called out Donald Trump’s campaign and the media for not doing enough to push back against hate.