Annual hate speech study suggests leafleting is dramatically up in Greater Philadelphia area, nationwide

David Madden
February 12, 2020 - 3:34 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Anti-Defamation League has issued its annual report on hate propaganda, particularly from white supremacist groups, and the report finds there’s been a dramatic increase both nationwide and within the Greater Philadelphia area. 

In 2018, there were two incidents in South Jersey. Last year there were 13. In New Jersey as a whole, numbers went up from 41 to 143.  

Philadelphia saw nine incidents in 2018 increase to 26 in 2019. Eastern Pennsylvania’s numbers rose from 26 to 57, and figures for the entire state of Pennsylvania increased from 40 to 74.

The ADL report shows that across the country, over 1,200 incidents were discovered in 2018. The numbers went to more than 2,700 in 2019, an average of four per day.

Shira Goodman, regional ADL director, told KYW Newsradio that distributing hate messages on paper on college campuses, or leaving flyers on cars and mailboxes is an inexpensive way people can make their point while trying to remain within the letter of the law on hate speech.

"Although people are putting a name on the flyer, the people who are doing the flyering can remain anonymous," she said. "It impacts the people who are receiving it. We’re seeing it as a newly embraced tactic." 

Goodman concedes it’s difficult to balance their desire to curb hate speech while supporting the right to free speech.

"More speech is the antidote to hate speech. Calling it out is the answer," she added. "And so, when things don’t run into harassment or trespass or solicitation or leaving things in places where you’re not allowed, the antidote has to be fresh air."

To that end, she suggests two New Jersey groups seem to be behind a lot of the flyers, and she identifies them as the Loyal White Knights and the New Jersey European Heritage Association.