White Supremacists Spread Hate in Pennsylvania at an Alarming Rate in 2021

In this Monday, Oct. 29, 2018 file photo, a person stands in front of Stars of David that are displayed in front of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh with the names of those killed in a shooting. (AP File Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Ashley Adams

March 7, 2022

According to a report from the ADL, white supremacist propaganda was reported in every state except Hawaii in 2021, with the highest levels of activity coming from Pennsylvania. 

Pennsylvania has seen a significant increase in white supremacist propaganda, leading the nation in 2021 for highest total number of incidents reported, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.

In 2021, 473 incidents of white supremacist stickers, fliers, and other literature in Pennsylvania were reported to the ADL. That’s almost double the 243 incidents in 2020 and a significant increase from the 81 incidents in 2019.

The state with the second highest incidents was Virginia with 375. Texas came in third at 327, Massachusetts ranked fourth with 272, and Washington was fifth with 228.

Last year marked the second-highest level of incidents reported across the country since ADL began tracking such data – with an average of about 13 incidents per day in 2021, and nearly double the 2,724 cases reported in 2019. In 2020, the use of propaganda distributions as a tactic peaked at 5,125 incidents nationwide.

There was also a 27% rise in propaganda targeting Jews and Jewish institutions in 2021, according to the report.

“White supremacists more frequently are resorting to hate propaganda as a tactic to spread their noxious ideas and recruit new membership,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a written statement. “It’s particularly disturbing that at a time of when violent antisemitic assaults are on the rise, these groups are dialing-up their hateful rhetoric against Jews and canvassing entire communities with hate literature. This is an alarming trend that needs to be checked, now.”

In 2021, at least 38 white supremacist groups distributed propaganda, but three groups were responsible for 91% of the activity:

  • Patriot Front: Based in Texas and has two large chapters in the commonwealth, this group was behind 3,992 of the incidents (82%) and was most active in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas, and Maryland.
  • New Jersey European Heritage Association: This group was responsible for 219 propaganda incidents (5%) and were most active in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida.
  • Folkish Resistance Movement: This group was responsible for 50% of antisemitic incidents and were most active in Minnesota, Mississippi, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.

The ADL also documented 108 white supremacist events in 2021, including a July Patriot Front demonstration in Philadelphia, which ended in members of the group being chased away by bystanders.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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