Hate Groups’ Evolution in the USA in 1949-2009


The United States is considered to be one of the most successful multi-religious and multiethnic societies in the world; despite this fact, the history of the country is blighted by a number of deplorable incidents of ethnical, racial, homophobic, and antireligious violence motivated by social prejudices. (Schaefer, 2010) It should be noted that the country did not face the problem until 1980, when the increase of gender, sexual and gender orientation consciousness was observed in American communities.

It is important to understand the principal types of hate groups and identify the reasons of their promotion throughout the world in order to realize the basic causes of their crimes. Over the last 50 years the number of hate groups evolved in the USA has increased due to various social, legal and religious factors.

Hate Groups Overview

The identification of the hate group can run as an organized movement advocating verbal or physical aggression aimed at refusal to contact and interact with persons through certain characteristics these people possess. (Dozier, 2003) It should be noted that characteristics, that hate groups discriminate against, are connected with ethnic origin, sexual orientation and religion. In 1990, the president of the USA, George Bush, introduced the concept of ‘hate groups’ and ‘hate crimes’ through the federal Statistics Act of Hate Crime. (Giles, 2002)

As a result, hate crime legislation was developed in major states of the country; for example, in New Jersey, hate groups violations are expressed through the property or human sufferings on the basis of creed, ethnicity, or color discrimination. Characteristics causing the violence are connected with a number of social and national factors, though there is a fixed classification of hate groups’ categories covering such aspects as religion, ethnicity, and race. (Giles, 2002)

Hate appeared to be the overwhelming threat to national peace as it leads to the number of terroristic and nationalists’ actions based on prejudices. It is also the cause of genocide episodes observed not only in American history, but throughout the whole world. The researches demonstrated the relation of hate groups actions to the hate-based ideology; in accordance with this conception, a person’s worldview is the principal factor motivating human behavior and attitude to people, so hate groups are stimulated by general victimization and superiority highlight, striving to demonstrate their dominance over the mass. (Dozier, 2003)

Classification of Active Hate Groups of the USA

Hate movements have a global character covering all the states of the USA; hate groups are organized in accordance with their principles and goals, though there are four basic movements being spread in current period:

  • Neo-Nazis;
  • Ku Klux Klan;
  • Racist Skinheads;
  • Black Separatists; (Dozier, 2003)

In the USA Neo-Nazis covers a great majority of hate groups which is about 157. The interests of this movement are concentrated around Nazi Germany and perceiving Jews as the principal enemy. The hate groups, belonging to this movement, commit crimes against homosexuals, minorities and Christians. Such groups are protected in the USA by the First Amendment; they direct their activities at publishing the material, and supporting their worldview on the Internet in order to transfer their ideological vision of American and European society. One of the principle groups of this movement is National Alliance, which has been active for years in the USA. (Hate Groups, 2003)

The Ku Klux Klan is considered to be one of the oldest and largest movements; it integrates two major hate groups such as Brotherhood of Clans and Imperial Klans. Its key target of violence is considered to be black Americans, though it is also attacking Catholics, homosexuals and immigrants. Being formed in 1865, it managed to expand being motivated by a number of political and theological ideologies. Its historical development showed that the group was weakened under the impact of internal conflicts and government infiltration in 1970s; though in current period it has about 8000 members acting across the states under the name of Ku Klux Klan movement. (Potok, 2006)

Racist Skinheads is an old movement with a large history of attacking people of African American origin; this hate group is considered to be a white supremacist movement, supporting other movements of racial attacking character. (Potok, 2006)

Black separatists organize hate groups, discriminating against racial intermarriage, and calling for national institution division. All the groups of this movement are considered to be anti-Semitic and anti-white; their ideological worldview is focused on the fact that black people are the Biblical nation chosen by God. (Giles, 2002)

The analysis of four principles hate movements gives an opportunity to evaluate the principal factors causing aggressiveness of the part of such organizations; it is necessary to underline the fact that the principal problem of the US community is focused around racial and ethnical aspects, being the central issues of hate groups’ activities. (Schaefer, 2010)

Recent Expansion of Hate Groups

According to the project created by the Southern Poverty Law Center, aggressive maneuvers have significantly increased over the last several decades. (Giles, 2002) The factors influencing this rise of hate movements are different, being connected with social and political activities of the country. It is important to underline the fact that principal reasons for attacks are connected with racial and ethnic factors. Thus, one of the campaigns developed by a hate group was called “Operation Schoolyard”; it was connected with the attempt to distribute the racist music among schoolchildren in 2004. Besides, Westboro Baptist Church, one of the anti-gay groups, caused the wave of aggressions stressing that God pushed the USA to tolerate homosexuality.

National debates provided hate groups with a real resonance for violence actions through the active Hispanic immigration. Such factors as the war in Iraq and the promotion of racist music for free among the American population are considered to be the background for hate movements rise in the USA. The chief investigator of the project aimed at hate groups’ analysis, Joe Roy, expressed his considerations, ‘Despite a large number of arrests and the collapse of several leading neo-Nazi groups, the movement continues to grow’. (Hanna, 2009) This conclusion was made on the basis of hate groups’ movement analysis; so, the recent increase of hate groups’ evolution in the USA over the last 50 years is considered to be connected with the following factors:

  • The War events in Iraq: Jews are considered to be the reason for American involvement into the war.
  • Immigration of Latinos, being predominantly illegally performed;
  • The growth in internet development, as there is a great majority of hate sites there being increased since 2004;
  • Racist concerts and music labels, which involved a number of youth into hate groups. (Potok, 2006)

The number of hate groups appeared to rise by 54% over the last decades in the USA; the economic fluctuations and political instability caused hate movement development throughout the whole country.

It is necessary to underline the fact that in accordance with the Southern Poverty Law Center Report, about 926 active hate groups are in the USA in 2009. These findings prove a gradual increase of the hate crimes with every passing year. (Potok, 2006)

Southern Poverty Law Center Report

The American population is roughly tracked by such a number of hate groups; for example, California has the greatest number of hate groups, about 90, which are predominantly concentrated in the southern part of the country. The second place is taken by Texas having about 66 hate groups, South Carolina – 45, Florida – 56, New Jersey and Georgia have about 40 hate groups and Pennsylvania – 37.

The movements organized by hate groups strike society under the pressure of current events in the USA. The Aryan Guard, a hate group that is part of the Ku Klux Klan, tried to broadcast their message in Calgary, Canada. This action caused a lot of concern and interactions in the society. ‘What they stand for is causing a lot of anxiety and concern in the community’, stressed the police officer, Stephen Camp. (Sherr, 2009) The criminal activities of this group are considered to have a victimized character; their replies into the police are expressed through hate and arrogance. The threat of this hate group is transferred through their internal and public activities. This example illustrates the danger of hate groups to the peaceful life of the society. (Sherr, 2009)

Current attacks by hate groups are connected with the sour economical position of the country and the selection of Obama as a US president. (Hanna, 2009) Randy Blazak, the head of the Hate Crime Research Network, stated that current left-wing regime restricted the rights of Americans, and as a result, some white people have been fired because of the color of their skin. Such data caused a wave of aggressiveness on the part of white supremacists and great concerns within American society.

The current economic and political situation appeared to introduce a demographic shift in the minds of white supremacists groups, who consider such changes as the negation of white nation strength on the part of the president. (Schaefer, 2010) Nevertheless, nowadays the USA is considered to be not as racist as 30 years ago; present motivations for hate groups are concentrated on intensified rhetoric. As Abraham Foxman, director of the Antidefamation League (ADL) stressed, rapid economic downfall influenced rhetoric increase targeting Jews; though he noted that current hate groups made use of economic instability in order to realize old myths as to money-hungry American Jews, reflecting it through the global network. (Hanna, 2009)

White supremacists and nationalists have introduced a number of their own religions. For example, the Cosmotheism religion states that God is the result of human evolution. Their religious movements are based on anti-cult activism and discrimination manifestations. (Hate Groups, 2003) There are also a number of hate groups supporting anti-abortion violence, homophobia, and anti-Semitism: Army of God (violence is an appropriate way of abortion ending), Aryan Nations (advocating anti-Semitism and homosexuals murder), Collegiate Network (seeking the replacement of usual public schools with Christian ones).

Such hate groups are among the most widely spread in the USA in current period. So, political and economical instability in the USA and in the whole world are considered to be the principal stimulators for hate groups’ activities and promotion of their messages. (Hate Groups, 2003)


The paper analyzed the promotion of hate movement in the USA and rapid increase of hate groups over the last fifty years. It is necessary to underline the fact that the principal reasons for the high rate of hate crimes are closely connected with government policy, war events, economical instability and religious alterations. Statistical data demonstrated the increase in the number of hate groups for the last decades, proving problematic situations within the state social structure. Genocide, political violence, and social pressure within ethnical communities influence the rate of hate crimes development. (Potok, 2006)

The analysis of the hate groups typology and reasons influencing their activities allowed evaluating the forecast of further hate organizations promotion; elections of the president and economic crisis continue to stimulate the hate groups for the promotion of their message involving a large number of new members into their activities. (Hanna, 2009)


Dozier, R. (2003). Why We Hate : Understanding, Curbing, and Eliminating Hate in Ourselves and Our World. Mc-Graw-Hill Professional.

Giles, Howard. (2002). Law Enforcement, Communication, and Community. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Pp. 265.

Hanna, J. (2009). Hate Groups Riled Up, Researchers Say. CNN. Web.

Hate Groups. (2003). Santa Monica Collge. Web.

Potok, M. (2006) The Year in Hate, 2005. Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sherr, S. (2009). Northern Exposure. Canadian Hate Group Shocks Calgary. Intelligence Report. Web.

Schaefer, R. (2010) Racial and Ethnic Groups, 12th Edition. Prentice Hall.

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