The cases of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses in the United States have tripled in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Ironically, ADL, an organization known for its work behind the scenes to urge universities to crack down on Palestine solidarity activism on campus, said that colleges have been inundated with racist propaganda since President Donald Trump took office.
In a report released this week, the organization claimed that while in 2016 only 41 incidents of students handing out white supremacist flyers were recorded during the fall semester, at least 147 cases were reported in 2017 during the same period.
The report looked at 216 campuses in 44 states across the U.S., as well as Washington, D.C.
According to its findings, ADL learned that Texas was the hardest hit, with 61 incidents of what the group called white supremacist propaganda. California followed closely with 43 reported incidents.
ADL’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, said that the fact white supremacists are spreading across campuses all around the country should make us question if freedom of speech should be supported at all times.
“While campuses must respect and protect free speech, administrators must also address the need to counter hate groups' messages and show these bigoted beliefs belong in the darkest shadows, not in our bright halls of learning," Greenblatt wrote in the statement issued along with the report.
"There is a moral obligation to respond clearly and forcefully to constitutionally protected hate speech," he said.
According to the report, neo-Nazi organization Identity Evropa is responsible for more than half of the incidents. Claiming to be fighters for the preservation of both “white American culture” and the white European identity, the group appears to have considerable presence on U.S. university campuses.
Unfortunately, ever since Trump failed to handle the rise of white supremacist groups in America as he should have following the horrific Charlottesville rally, many have accused the president of protecting people who follow the hateful ideology.
After blaming “both sides” for the violence that turned out deadly, the hashtag #ImpeachTrump went viral. But that hadn't been the first time the president had been somehow associated with white nationalism.
Prior to the incident, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke praised and even endorsed Trump.
Considering that the country’s leader has a hard time fully condemning white supremacist groups, it might not be far-fetched to think that these organizations may feel at ease to spread their ideologies in Trump’s America. So perhaps, the rise of incidents involving white supremacist propaganda on college campuses is not so surprising after all. But it's precisely because we have free speech that we are able to identify these groups, their leaders and members, and do all we can to publicly condemn their actions.
When we start to ban speech that we are not in agreement with, we run the risk of pushing these groups to the shadows, where they grow even stronger and far from our watch.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters,