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Hate Groups In The U.S.: Will The Changing Face Of The Nation Spur Hate Group Participation?

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While the U.S. Census Bureau’s longtime prediction that the size of the country’s racial and ethnic groups will together surpass that of the non-Hispanic white population has already become a reality among the nation's newborns, there is little evidence that the trend is prompting new interest in the nation’s hate groups.

“I think it would certainly feed into this generalized fear that the radical right has had for several years,” says Booth Gunter, Public Affairs Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization that tracks the activities and size of the nation’s hate groups.

Following the U.S. Census Bureau announcement Thursday that the number of Latino, Asian and black children born between July 2010 and July 2011 outpaced the number of non-Hispanic white infants, ABCNews.com raised a question about what the demographic shift will mean. Will the shift fuel “simmering tensions” and help hate groups to grow?

But Mark Potok, a Senior Fellow at the SPLC tells The Huffington Post that the news about the way that the youngest portion of the population is changing likely did not prompt a surge in activity inside the nation's hate groups this week.

“It has nothing to do with this announcement," he said. "The growth of [hate and militia groups] didn’t happen over a few days. The idea that non-Hispanic whites would lose their majority has been well known, especially for people on the radical right.”

Indeed, hate groups in the United States have grown steadily for the last decade.

Right-wing militia, anti-government groups that espouse hate ideology actually saw their biggest increases in membership just before and after the country elected its first black President, according to a report published in March by the SPLC.

“If Obama is re-elected then chances are excellent that both [militia and hate groups] will grow at a very rapid pace. If Romney were to win, it may even reverse.”

When asked why that may be, Potok replied, “Obama represents a shift change that is so scary to so many people. He represents in a very graphic way, the racial change that is happening in our population at large.”

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Hispanic Populations In The U.S.
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