The backlash against same-sex marriage and the nation's first black President has caught Generation Z squarely in its crosshairs, and America's colleges are being bombarded with hate speech that is increasingly finding purchase among a group that has never had their worldview challenged.
“Not Stolen. Conquered,” a flier found in a music building at San Diego State University read. “Your professor is scared of this book,” read a sticker outside a building at New York’s Baruch College, referring to a work by white nationalist Jared Taylor.
White supremacist propaganda on college campuses is on the rise, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. The nonprofit found 292 occurrences on campuses located in the District and 47 states, a 77 percent increase, compared with the 2016-2017 school year. The ADL relied on news reports, community complaints and extremist sources to complete the report, according to Oren Segal, director of the group’s Center on Extremism.
The propaganda typically appeared on stickers, posters, banners and fliers, and it varied from “veiled white supremacist language to explicitly racist images and words that attack minority groups, including Jews, Blacks, Muslims, nonwhite immigrants, and the LGBTQ community,” the report said.
“College campuses and their communities should be places for learning, growing and the future, not close-minded racism and hate-filled rhetoric from the past,” the ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement. “We’re concerned to see that white supremacists are accelerating their efforts to target schools with propaganda in hopes of recruiting young people to support their bigoted worldview.”
[Hate groups make unprecedented push to recruit on college campuses]
The report highlighted Identity Evropa, an organization founded in 2016 that recruits college-age people though banners, stickers and online propaganda.
These Identity Evropa guys are 100% bad news, and in the era of Trumpian propaganda, they're going for broke with an audience that has never even considered building up a resistance to it.
The group was responsible for 48 percent of reported incidents in the past two years, the report found. In January, members posted fliers over historically significant African American images outside the black studies department at the University of South Carolina at Columbia, the report said.
“The ADL is clearly reporting in error or negligence, as the blanket allegations reflect neither Identity Evropa nor any statement from a current representative,” spokesman Sam Harrington said in an email. Harrington said the group is “seeking a better future for European Americans” and does not advocate for “supremacy, violence or illegal activity.”
“The ADL, and organizations like it, are attempting to stifle free debate and will continue to lose trust with the thinking public,” Harrington added.
The nonprofit describes Identity Evropa as a white supremacist group that avoids recognizable language and imagery on its symbols in an attempt to enter mainstream conservatism.
Members were present at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference and last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. The night before the protest turned deadly, participants chanted their mantra, “you will not replace us.” The chant, Harrington said, refers to people “who believe there is something to be gained from demographically replacing European Americans through immigration [to the United States] and globalization.”
These guys grew up on FOX News and Alex Jones, mistaking shock value contrarianism for intellectual prowess. It's not that they lost trust in government and institutions, it's that they never had it in the first place. They grew up on rampant Islamophobia, conspiracy theories, racism, bigotry, and hatred.
And then they got to college and found an all-you-can-eat bigotry buffet and a kindred spirit in the White House. It's been a long time coming, but it's here. America's in serious danger of going 25, 50, 100 years backwards.
We have to fight it every step.