Predicting Rise in Hate Groups, Ignoring Racism

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has uncharacteristically shifted its focus away from terrorism overseas and toward right-wing terrorism here at home. Yet remarkably, the recently released report points to the failing economy rather than racism as the culprit.

The new report, called Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, points to the economic recession, the election of America’s first black president and the return of a few disgruntled war veterans as key factors in the predicted rise in white power groups.

Unfortunately, the major thrust of the report is on the current economic decline as a driving factor in the rise of racist groups.  Not surprisingly, there is virtually no discussion of the pervasiveness of racism as a root cause for this phenomenon.   About the closest the report gets is in the discussion of immigration:

“Over the past five years, various rightwing extremists, including militias and white supremacists, have adopted the immigration issue as a call to action, rallying point, and recruiting tool.”

According to one news report, this new emphasis on domestic terrorism could signify a shift for Homeland Security under former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. A German magazine quoted Ms. Napolitano as rebranding “terrorism” as “man-made disasters.” Since it was founded (in 2003), the department has focused primarily on radicalization of Muslims and the prospect of homegrown Islamist terrorism.


  1. I am starting to hear reporting that Obama’s election is part of the problem. And, of course, it’s funny, admittedly disturbing too but kinda funny, that so many conservatives are calling foul!

    I too, regret that the reports aren’t clearer about the threat of racism. I wonder if this was done in an effort not to offend white people, or maybe, hopefully, not to tip off too many groups that they’re being watched. I also wondering what would’ve happened if they had discussed the threat of white supremacy groups in full disclosure. Would the conservatives still holler like a hit dog, or would they, ever claiming not to be racist, back down.

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