Ku Klux Klan, Skinheads, Neo-Nazis: Experts say the increase is due not only to the economic crisis, but also to Barack Obama’s election as President.
An American study found the number of groups motivated by racist or xenophobic ideologies against specific ethnic groups is growing in America.
The Montgomery, Alabama based Southern Poverty Law Center reported there were 926 “hate groups” active in 2008 in the United States, an increase of 4 percent over 2007 and 54 percent compared to the year 2000.
This includes numerous groups connected to the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Semitic organizations, Neo-Nazis and Skinheads. The Ku Klux Klan, founded in 1865, later outlawed and revived again in 1915, is known for its intimidation, brutality, and acts of arson and murder aimed mainly at blacks and white civil rights workers in the 1960s. The KKK’s membership today is estimated to be between five and eight thousand.
The election of Barack Obama as president upset racist extremists, according to the study’s author, Mark Potok. Their increase in popularity is also due to the economic crisis for which racists blame Mexican and Central American immigrants. Right-wing extremists generally gain in popularity during times of economic downturn.
Hate groups are especially active in the American South. According to the report, there were increased attacks on blacks in the weeks after Obama’s election victory. Exact figures are not yet available for the period, but the FBI reported about 7,600 “hate crimes” during 2007.