Here's how white supremacists are spreading their hateful ideology — while avoiding consequences
White supremacists march on Charlottesville, VA during the August 2017 "Unite the Right" rally that left a woman dead. Image via Karla Cote/Creative Commons.

American white supremacists have found the perfect formula to increase the reach of their hateful ideology while avoiding consequences for it.


Carla Hill, the Anti-Defamation League's senior investigative researcher, wrote in a Politico article that there's "a very good chance you’ve seen a white supremacist flier or banner in the last year" — and that's not by chance.

"Within the past few months," Hill wrote, "[white supremacists] seem to have landed on an answer that keeps their groups in the spotlight while shielding the individual identities of their members: far more propaganda efforts and fewer pre-announced public events."

The ADL's Center for Extremism found that in 2018 there was a 182 percent increase in incidents of white supremacist propaganda incidents — 1,187 instances last year versus 421 in 2017.

"This is the highest number of reported propaganda efforts on record," the extremism researcher wrote.

While the fliers and banners have been seen hanging everywhere from freeway overpasses to the windshields of cars, two groups — the "white identitarian" Identity Evropa and the neo-fascist Patriot Front — have cornered the propaganda market both on and off of college campuses.

"If you know what you’re looking at, the white supremacists' banners, stickers and fliers clearly convey racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia," Hill wrote. "But the messaging is not always overtly hateful."

Identity Evropa, for instance, often uses images from classical Greek and Roman art, while Patriot Front "leans heavily on red, white and blue signage with mainstream conservative messaging, including 'America First' and 'Fake news -- don’t buy it.'"

Both groups, however, are far more upfront about their true beliefs when they gather — Patriot Front members have been heard shouting the Nazi callback "Blood and Soil" at rallies, while Identity Evropa held an anti-immigration rally in a Manhattan park surrounded by an immigrant neighborhood. At that rally, members of the white identitarian group allegedly set off smoke bombs.

Though some propaganda distributors do get caught — like a University of Rochester student arrested this week for putting up white nationalist stickers — many more remain at large.