ADL Warns of Hate Groups

The Anti-Defamation League has released a report documenting a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups in Texas and across the country. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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The ADL report says the Klan and groups like it have been getting more vocal and more visible just in the past two years. ADL Southwest Region Director Martin Cominsky says this renewed interest appears to be growing out of grass roots reactions to illegal immigration, gay marriage and urban crime.

"We see new activities posted on the websites of the Klan groups. We see more people attending those events, from the research that we do, and photos that we see. We see the use of the Internet and more websites, and use of Internet radio to have KKK Radio. So all those things are indicators that there's a resurgence in the Klan's movement."

Cominsky says the Klan and other white supremacist groups have always had a knack for using hot button issues to arouse fear and anger and recruit new members, and if there's one issue that's guaranteed to set people off in Texas, it's illegal immigration and the anti-Hispanic sentiment it's creating and fueling. It's bringing all the hate groups together because it's one of the few things they can all agree on. Cominsky says there is some irony in their use of high technology to spread their message.

"Sure the Internet allows a lot of great conversations to happen, but it also allows small groups of people to spread hate very broadly, and that's what we see. They're certainly using that hate against immigration, against issues like urban crime, gay marriage. Just using the Internet to spread fear about these things."

Cominsky says the good news is that it is possible to fight the hate groups.

"We believe that hate is a learned characteristic and that we can unlearn it as well as learn it. And that's why we work so hard with our Community of Respect Initiative, and No Place For Hate in the schools, to teach kids that diversity is good for our country, and pluralism is what has made it a success."

There's a link to the full ADL report on the resurgence of hate groups on our website KUHF dot org. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.