ATLANTA — At Texas A&M University last March, freshman Adrienne Rubenstein says she found hate hanging inside the school’s main library. She tweeted images of two white power posters.
“They were advocating for a country that was completely white, that no other race, no other ethnicity would be welcome here,” she said. “It’s very painful to realize there are people who think you don’t belong here.”
Last year’s presidential campaign exposed America’s economic, social and racial divisions. Since last November’s election, at least 140 instances of racist posters and fliers have been reported on college campuses in 33 states, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann.
“It seems clear that the extremists feel emboldened in this current political climate,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
“We’ve seen a change in the rhetoric and some of the worst impulses have moved from the margins to the mainstream,” he said.
Greenblatt’s group has tracked what it calls an “unprecedented” college recruitment drive by white nationalists — groups such as American Vanguard, American Renaissance and Identity Europa. Two groups told Strassmann the timing is no coincidence.
Two Identity Europa members agreed to speak with CBS News, but neither would give us his real name. Both agreed about the Trump factor.
“We’ve been riding this wave of Donald Trump’s election, absolutely,” one said. “He’s the closest to us that we’ve ever had in recent memory, although we’d like him to go a bit further.”
“You know that most people on a college campus would see this as racist garbage?” Strassmann asked.
“I think those slurs like racist, white supremacist, Nazi, these are anti-white slurs,” he said.
Last November, then-President-elect Trump was accused of “energizing” hate groups. He strongly rejected that idea on “60 Minutes.”
60 Minutes: Segment Extras
Trump addresses reports of violence: “Stop it”
Donald Trump says he’s “saddened” to hear some of his supporters are inciting violence: “If it helps. I will say this…Stop it”
“If it helps I will say this, I will say this straight into the cameras: Stop it,” Mr. Trump said at the time.
Some college students have pushed back. Just last week, racist notes appeared at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. Students protested against hate speech over the weekend, and the school canceled class on Monday and agreed to mandatory classes on race and gender.
“Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom to slander. So we hope that leaders will step up and speak out when hate rears its head,” Greenblatt said.
Identity Europa posters were found hanging at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta and at least three other universities in Georgia.
Members of the group say this summer they’ll gear up for a bigger push targeting college campuses this fall.
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Source: CBS News – United States