Make your home page

Report: White supremacy on the rise in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new report by the Anti-Defamation League showed that Indiana saw an 80% increase in public displays of white supremacy in 2022.

The report showed the majority of white supremacist activities are happening in Indianapolis.

“Deeply concerning,” said Darrell Heller, director of the Civil Rights Heritage Center at IU South Bend.

Heller said this is concerning because of how quickly public displays of white supremacy have increased.

The report showed a 1,500% increase in Indiana since 2016. “There seems to have been a new kind of agreement that things that weren’t said before can be said publicly,” Heller said.

Last September, the white supremacy group Patriot Front marched through downtown Indianapolis.

“Their goal is to illicit fear and intimidate a community and create this idea that there’s more of them than there are of us,” said David Goldenberg with the Anti-Defamation League.

He added that propaganda is the most common form of white supremacy they’re seeing. “It comes across as very populist, right, and it’s not until you go to the website that’s usually on that literature that you realize the hate that’s behind this propaganda.”

Goldenberg says the white supremacy groups choose propaganda because of its low cost, low risk, and potential high impact.

“While we might say, ‘Oh, it’s the spread of a flier, or a sticker,’ it’s often an entry point and we know that when that increases the, shall we say, real-life incidents where people can get hurt or even worse increase as well,” he said.

Heller told I-Team 8 that everyone in the community should do their best to fight against these ideologies. “It should be called out when it’s happening. Silence I think is almost always complicity.”

At the same time, Heller says, it’s important to try and have conversations with white supremacists to try and break through and change their beliefs. “Try to speak across differences and to find the space where we can have legitimate conversations to really try to find out where are those points of tension and where are the points of commonality.”

The Anti-Defamation League told I-Team 8 It’s tough to know if more people are joining white supremacy groups, or if a small number of people are more vocal than they used to be.