Saturday, January 17, 2009
The Southern Poverty Law Center, there are about 900 hate groups operating now in the U.S., a 40 percent increase from 2000.
The vast majority of these groups promote white supremacist beliefs, and range from skinheads living in urban areas to the KKK ,which is based largely in rural America.
It is no accident the increase happened during Bush’s time as president. The period between 2000 to 2008 saw the rise of the worst U.S. economy since the Great Depression. Rising unemployment, along with cuts to education and social services created an burgeoning underclass of young Americans. Hate groups, aided by the internet, were there to exploit these worsening conditions.
Anger, violence and interest in racist ideology skyrocketed in the hours and days after Barack Obama was elected president in November, hate groups experts said. Interest in racist ideology was so high right after the election that computer servers for two White supremacist websites crashed, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In an interview posted on his website on election night, former Louisiana state Rep. David Duke who is also the former Grand Wizard of the KKK said:
[Obama’s election] “is good in one sense, that it is making white people clear of the fact that that government in Washington, D.C., is not our government. We are beginning to learn and realize our positioning and our position is that we have got to stand up and fight now.”
Law enforcement officials are closely watching white supremacists across the country as Barack Obama prepares next Tuesday to be sworn in as the first African American president of the United States.
Joe Persichini, the assistant FBI director who is helping to oversee security during the inauguration said there “is concern” about white supremacist groups during the inauguration. While racist speech is protected by the First Amendment, violent acts are not and law enforcement finds itself between the two.