Michael Hamar

Rise of hate groups in Virginia

Filed By Michael Hamar | August 20, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics, Politics

I have written about the rise of hate groups and also anti-Semitic vandalism in this area previously. Now one of the local television stations has opened its eyes to the phenomenon - which is a timely story in as much as there are several local hate groups, including one mentioned in Virgina Beach.


Local expert at Old Dominion University pinpoints the motivation for joining a hate group -fear and the desire to feel that one is better than others. It is always easier to condemn and hate those who are different than build one's self esteem in more constructive ways.

Here are some story highlights:

A new study indicates the election of the first black president has spurred hate-groups within the U.S.It suggests hate groups are stronger than ever - up more than 50 percent since 2000. Doctor Lou Lombardo at ODU is an expert on criminology and cycles of hate."You have an African American president, you just had a Hispanic supreme court justice...We also have a sense of the policies that might be coming, and I think that's fuel for a lot of people.

"The fuel Lombardo says is fear. One reaction to it: heated conversations turning to shouting and fist-fights at forums on President Obama's health-care plan. Fear inciting violence, according to Lombardo.Gay rights are another point of contention, along with gun control. Subjects, experts say, that are continually used to inspire fear and potentially violence by hate groups.

"One thing violence does is that it provides a collective identity. Not a positive one, but it appeals to - 'I'm not the other person, I'm not the Jew, I'm not the Hispanic, I'm not the gay person, I'm not Catholic... I'm better." The groups are growing and also doing more traveling. The white supremacists that vandalized a Norfolk synagogue were based in Oregon. Those newsletters in Isle of Wight, printed in Missouri. But how about hate groups here? So far intelligence groups link at least 30-known hate groups to North Carolina, with another 26 in Virginia, including an underground skin-head group out of Virginia Beach.

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