As this is being written in mid-July 2020, the U.S. appears to be a very unhappy country – and because of the coronavirus – made up of many frightened people. In fact, as of June 2020, the Gallup Poll reports that 78 percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with where the country is headed.
Among the reasons for the dissatisfaction are:
- The economy is in the worst shape since the 1930s
- The virus is resurging
- Some of us have lost faith in our federal and state governments.
While all this is happening, we are seeing more “hate groups” surfacing around the country and more people getting involved in these groups. This begs the following questions:
- Why is this happening?
- What is behind these hate groups?
- Are they forming for the same reasons?
- What impact will they have on corporate security professionals?
A 2017 study by the University of Utah may provide some answers. However, even these researchers admit that answering these and many other questions about hate groups can be difficult. There appear to be no simple answers.
However, here are some of the things they have uncovered:
The Role of Geography in Hate Groups
“Drivers of hate are dependent on regions and cultures,” says Richard Medina, lead author of the Utah study. This means that geography—where people are living in the country—can play a pivotal role.
For instance, in the Midwest, a downward trend in the economy tends to result in more hate groups. On the other hand, on the East Coast, “more religious groups correlate with more per capita hate groups.” This may be because the East Coast tends to have more people, living much more closely together, and actively involved with different religions than any other region of the country.
On the West Coast and in the Southwest, demographic changes are key reasons for people joining hate groups. Some white people who have traditionally lived in these areas feel threatened by these demographic changes, typically caused by people immigrating from foreign and little understood countries.
The Role of Education
What may be a surprise to some, these researchers said education plays a minor role in determining who does or does not join a hate group. Some members are very well educated, others are not. (Note: Other studies do indicate poor education can play a role in the development of hate groups).
The Role of Religion
We mentioned earlier that the more religious groups on the East Coast, the more hate groups, but this is not true in all areas of the country. For instance, areas of the Midwest, the South, Southeast, and West Coast, where there also are strong religious communities, tend to have fewer hate groups.
The Role of Poverty and Hate Groups
Poverty is a crucial driver and a key reason people join a hate group. Extremist groups often promise the impoverished a way out of their financial difficulties. If the hate group itself cannot offer them a way out, it provides someone or some other group that can be blamed for their difficult situation.
Hate Groups and Corporate Security
For corporate security and risk management professionals, the current state of affairs in the US means they must stay vigilant and on alert, especially when it comes to protecting business executives, property, technology, and trade secrets.
One thing most hate groups have in common is that they like to blame others or entities, including business entities, for what they see as the cause of problems in the United States. This puts a number of corporations at risk and makes corporate security a top concern.
And corporate security professionals should not assume that this situation will change any time soon. Even when the economy was soaring a few months back, hate groups were still forming in the United States.
What we know is that no matter where hate groups evolve in the country or what is behind them, “hate” tends to have staying power. Some hate groups evolve quickly and dissolve almost as fast. But what often happens is a new hate group materializes and takes over where the last one ended.
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Chief Executive Officer
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