When Hate Comes to Your Town

–Engaging White Supremacist Groups Where You Live

Not a week goes by without hate crimes making national news — which is bad news for America. The headlines are harrowing. Consider two media reports this week:

Law enforcement officials characterize some egregious hate crimes by white supremacists as acts of domestic terrorism, as FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told Congress:

A majority of the racially motivated violent extremist domestic terrorism is at the hands of white supremacists.

— FBI Director

The persistent problem of hate crimes by white supremacist groups appears to be getting worse, not better. This is cause for concern for all law-abiding citizens and people of goodwill. That’s why a new book extensively examining the issue is a must-read: When Hate Groups March Down Main Street: Engaging a Community Response (Roman & Littlefield). Co-authors and Marc Brenman present a disturbingly vivid account of the historical evolution of hate groups and their radical racist ideology. The book also provides smart citizen engagement strategies. Both authors are nationally-recognized experts in the fields of diversity and inclusion, cultural competence, social justice, and equal opportunity.

  • “Our goal is to utilize the Big Data of this new environment by organizing the information, tracking trends, reporting on community responses, and recommending strategies that are practical and implementable,” the authors write.
  • “By learning what others have done and from scholarly and academic studies, we hope to equip communities to protect themselves and preserve democratic values and the American Dream of social equity and fairness.”

How would you react if neo-Nazis or the KKK demonstrated in your town, perhaps on the street where you live just feet outside your home?

  • Would you run or hide from KKK incited violence?
  • Would you ignore neo-Nazi propaganda?
  • Would you confront racist skinheads wielding tiki torches?

These potentially perilous questions should not be ignored. Although a hyper-localized extremist hate march directly affecting you may appear remote, “The threat is real” — as the authors astutely articulate.

Disturbing Trend

If you think radical white supremacists won’t demonstrate where you live, then you may want to think again. Just ask the citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia, or countless other cities from coast to coast and border to border where racial, religious and ethnic hatred and violence have surfaced at the hands of white supremacist groups.

Hate crimes increased by nearly 20% in 2017, according to the latest FBI data available.

More recent reports suggest this figure may rise again when new annual statistics are issued. Moreover, the number of hate crimes officially reported represent only part of the picture, as many incidents are unreported or incorrectly classified for various reasons. Consider recent data from a 2019 report on hate crimes in 30 big cities across America (conducted by The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University):

  • “Hate crimes rose 9 percent in major U.S. cities in 2018, for a fifth consecutive increase, to decade highs, as cities with increases outnumbered those with declines two to one. In contrast, crime overall in major cities has declined in both of the last two years.”
  • “Preliminary partial year 2019 data also show increases in a majority of cities surveyed…early double-digit percentage increases.”
  • “The most common victims for hate crime reported to police in major cities in 2018 were African Americans, Jews, and Gays, but Whites and Jews experienced the biggest percentage increases, as anti-Semitic hate crimes and assaults also rose internationally.”
  • “Jews were the direct target of half of the bias/extremist homicides in 2018, in the worst year ever for anti-Semitic killings in the United States.”

As Levine and Brenman point out in When Hate Groups March Down Main Street:

  • “Neo-Nazis and related hate groups desire a country or a state reserved only for whites who practice their perverted form of Christianity.
  • “They want to revert to a time of segregated schools and housing. No locale is too big or too small to be a target for their message.”

The racism promoted by these [hate] groups is intended to generate fear and hatred of immigrants and people of color.

When Hate Groups March Down Main Street – AMERICAN DIVERSITY REPORT CHATTANOOGA, TN. – As the alarming number of hate groups and hate crimes continues to surge nationwide, the American…

Comprehensive Content

The comprehensive topics covered by chapter title in When Hate Groups March Down Main Street include:

  1. The Local-Global Context
  2. Hate and Neo-Nazis
  3. Hate and White Supremacists
  4. The Hate Message Online
  5. Hate Crime Connection
  6. Corporate and Legal Context
  7. Community Organizing
  8. Recruitment and Radicalization
  9. What Is Our Moral Obligation?
  10. Globalization and Economic Disparities
  11. Bias, Prejudice, and Hate
  12. The Special Responsibility of Schools
  13. Holocaust Education
  14. Interfaith Efforts

Additionally, the book contains 11 appendices to help foster an effective community response to hate groups, including:

  • Example of Anti-Nazi Resolution
  • Sample Hate Crimes Policy
  • Sample Bias Incident Response Protocol
  • Bomb Threat Check List

The topic of hate groups is especially relevant at a time when some assert that President Trump allegedly supports and condones hate crimes against citizens and non-citizens alike based on race, religion, sexual identity and national origin (whether explicitly or implicitly).

Remember that hate groups thrive on spreading lies, conspiracy theories, distortions and misinformation to their cult-like followers and potential recruits, including unknowingly to teens and children online.

Remain vigilant and don’t fall prey to reprehensible rhetoric and racist tactics of white supremacists.

Final Thoughts

When Hate Groups March Down Main Street is a critically important book at a critically important time. More people of goodwill can benefit from a meticulous educational overview of the origins, ideology, and evolution of hate groups and their callous crimes. The authors share key statistics, case studies, legal and anecdotal evidence, as well as practical leadership lessons and strategies for a new generation of young people, and people of all ages, to combat heinous hate groups.

Again, as the authors suggest, ask yourself the following about extreme white supremacist groups who may come to your town to cause trouble:

“Are you prepared to handle their intimidation, threats, and actions?”

If not, the time is overdue to get ready.

David B. Grinberg
David B. Grinberghttps://www.linkedin.com/in/davidgrinberg-pr/
DAVID is a strategic communications consultant, ghostwriter and former federal government spokesman based in the Washington, DC-area. In 2018, he was named by Medium.com as a "Top Writer in Journalism, Government, and Social Media." In 2017, he was selected as a global brand ambassador by beBee.com and an advisory board member for AmericanDiversityReport.com. David is also a featured contributor for PRDaily.com, ThriveGlobal.com, SocialMediaToday.com, and GovLoop.com. His work in government and politics includes the White House for President Bill Clinton, OMB, EEOC, Congress, and global consulting firm GQRR.com. A native New Yorker, David has a journalism degree from the University of Maryland and was a reporter for BNA.com and U. Magazine (Colleges.com) prior to his public service.
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Joel Elveson

David, thank you for writing an article that was long overdue in being written about. Hate crimes have become a very disturbing problem in this country with Law Enforcement Officials at a loss as to how to tackle it. My wife and I reside in Brooklyn, NY where hate crimes against people like us (Orthodox Jews) are out of control. A day does not go by where another attack of some kind is reported. My wife and I are very noticeably Orthodox because of the way we dress. Some of these attacks are anti-Jewish taunts or verbal threats. Our synagogues are not forced to hire armed security personnel to protect the congregants or have a professional teach self-defense mechanism or evacuation procedures in case of a shooter. Neo-Nazi’s, White Supremacists and alike are obviously deeply disturbed individuals who have become consumed with hate for one group or another. Feelings of hate are bad enough but when these feelings lead to violent action many steps must be taken on many different levels. This is not America our forefathers dreamed of or could ever be thought possible. There is no one-step solution to this problem. Our beloved politicians (meant sarcastically) talk big but as per their usual, there is no action behind it. There is a former Assemblyman by the name of Dov Hikind who served the Boro Park Community ( an overwhelming Orthodox Community in Brooklyn) has been fighting hate crimes by going into different neighborhoods and talking to people. He is one of the few who not only speak out against these crimes but also organizes rallies in addition to working with the New York City Police Department. One powerful tool we can all use is prayer. We should pray to whomever we worship to make hatred stop.

David B. Grinberg

Joel: Many thanks for taking the time to share your important insights, which are most appreciated.
To reiterate, as noted above:
“Jews were the direct target of half of the bias/extremist homicides in 2018, in the worst year ever for anti-Semitic killings in the United States,” according to The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.
This is a sad reality for which I’m reminded of the following two quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

1) “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bare.”
2) “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

On a personal note, I still painfully remember my first encounter with anti-Semitism as a teenager several decades ago: I was working one summer on the loading dock of a hardware store carrying inventory off 18-wheeler trucks. A white non-Jewish coworker in his early 20s had just experienced a bad breakup with his girlfriend, who left him in a deep state of remorse. He was an angry and bitter bully who was ready to lash out. I quickly became his verbal punching bag via religious harassment based on my Jewish faith. He would say things to me like: “Hitler should of taken care of you people” and “Shut up or I’ll send you to the gas chambers.” This was quite shocking to a young person growing up in the predominantly Jewish small town of Roslyn, Long Island (NY). But it goes to show that religious discrimination and anti-Semitism have no geographic or moral boundaries. The irony is that my family was “reformed” — which you know is the least observant sect of Judaism. Nonetheless, my last name was all the bigot needed to know.

Looking back, I often wonder whether I should have sought revenge against the bigoted bully that summer. However, it would have been a David versus Goliath battle because he was an older muscular weight lifter, whereas I was a skinny teen. Still, maybe I should have hit Mr. Bigot over the head with a crowbar or a large piece of lumber when he wasn’t looking. Regardless, I refrained from stooping to his level, while also standing my ground. I verbally protested to his supervisor about the hateful religious rhetoric — which stopped shortly thereafter. However, in looking back, those unprovoked anti-Semitic attacks so many summers ago still sting.

Joel Elveson

For many years my wife and I lived in Nassau County so I am no stranger to Roslyn which from what I remember was a great place to live and raise a family. We lived In Oceanside which was a mid to upper-middle-class town when anti-semitism reared its ugly head. This going back to when my son was not even in his teens yet (he is now 33 years old) and we were unaffiliated. Brooklyn has several areas (Boro Park, Marine Park, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Midwood, and Williamsburgh) which are predominately Orthodox. These are areas where the vast majority of these arracks are taking place. We are not yet in a position to move to Boro Park but hope to be soon. These communities are very welcoming to people of all races, faiths, etc. but any Jew who walks on the street or any Yeshiva, or Shul is a target. NOBODY should have to live in fear in their own neighborhood. Hate is bad enough but hate in conjunction with violence no matter who it is directed at is unacceptable and must be dealt with from all angles. Thank you again, David, for writing an article that sadly has so much relevance in society today.

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