White racial extremism is on the rise in the Miami Valley, according to Dr. Arthur Jipson, a University of Dayton professor who has studied the movement for over 20 years. And, he says, activity is not expected to decrease over the next few years.
White racial extremism is characterized by the promotion of white supremacist ideology.
Jipson says there’s evidence that since the 2016 election cycle, racist extremist groups have been significantly more active - distributing publications, organizing rallies and communicating online.
“One of the things we see is that white supremacists, white nationalists, associated other groups feel emboldened during times of political uncertainty,” Jipson said.
Jipson’s research indicates several racist extremist groups operate in the Miami Valley. These include an unofficial chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi organizations and a Christian identity group, whose members believe religious teachings promote white superiority.
He says it’s hard to tell whether the violence that erupted earlier this month in Charlottesville, Va., could happen again somewhere else. But, he’s not ruling it out.
“There are the individuals connected to these groups who see violence as a necessary part of their activism," Jipson said. "I’d have to say it’s possible that we see more rallies, more activities, and typically when you see those, you see more potential for violence.”
Jipson is calling for more informed responses to extremist activism. He says de-escalation techniques and calculated crowd control could help to reduce the risk of violence.