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The Resurgence Of Violent White Supremacy In America

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Alt-right members at Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally holding Nazi, Confederate, and Gadsden "Don't Tread on Me" flags.

Neo-Nazi ideology promotes hostility towards minorities, or in some cases the revolutionary creation of a fascist political state. How big of a threat are white supremacist ideologies and what incites someone to commit an act of domestic terrorism in the name of hate?

Washington Post analysis of data on global terrorism shows "violence by white supremacists and other far-right attackers has been on the rise since Barack Obama’s presidency — and has surged since President Trump took office."

On October 27, eleven worshipers were gunned down at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh by a man whose self-professed mission was to kill Jews. It was the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, more people have been killed by white supremacists and other far-right extremists in the United States than any other domestic extremist category.

Internet anonymity makes it difficult to know the full scope of white supremacist activity, but some far-right groups are operating more openly in an attempt to increase their ranks. In Texas, college campuses are the most frequent targets of white supremacist propaganda, according to the Anti-Defamation League. 

The First Amendment protects the free speech rights of neo-Nazi groups.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and crimes across the U.S., says neo-Nazi groups known to operate in Texas include the Aryan Renaissance Society, The Daily Stormer, the Traditionalist Worker Party and Vanguard America. Texas is also considered a key area for a small, particularly virulent white supremacist group known as Atomwaffen. 

How do white supremacist groups operate, what are their motivations and what’s being done to stop them? What are the most effective strategies to combat white supremacy and hate-fueled ideologies that incite violence?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet at @TPRSource. 

This interview aired on December 17, 2018.

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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.