Texas White Supremacist Propaganda Haven, Home of Patriot Front & J6 Insurrectionists | Dallas Observer

Why Is Texas the No. 1 State for White Supremacist Propaganda?

From Jan. 6 insurrectionists to Patriot Front propagandists, Texas is a hotbed for white supremacy and extremism.
Texas is a hotbed for white supremacist propaganda.
Texas is a hotbed for white supremacist propaganda. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
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Texas’ state motto is “friendship,” but you wouldn’t know it from the recent news that the Lone Star State is No. 1 in the nation for white supremacist propaganda.

Earlier this month, the Anti-Defamation League dropped a report that found in 2022 Texas was home to more than 525 such incidents out of 6,751 nationwide, the highest total the organization has ever recorded. This represented a spike of roughly 60% in Texas and nearly 40% nationwide compared with the previous year.

The across-the-board increase included greater dissemination of antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ and racist stickers, flyers, graffiti and more.

The ADL also found that Patriot Front, a hate group based in Texas, accounted for around 80% of the country’s propaganda distributions.

Patriot Front espouses the creation of a white ethnostate and is spreading its ideas across the country. Members last year distributed propaganda and graffitied the group’s logo in Ohio, for instance.

Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, wasn’t surprised to learn that Texas had the highest number of white supremacist propaganda incidents last year. She noted that Patriot Front is “one of the most active white supremacist groups in the country” and that the Proud Boys hate group also has a strong presence in Texas.

Beirich has a theory as to what may account for the year-over-year propaganda spike.

“I think one of the main drivers here has been this crusade against the LGBTQ population, which, interestingly, was begun really by Republicans and then spread into the ranks of white supremacists,” she said.

Prominent GOP politicians in ultraconservative states like Florida are spearheading legislative charges against that community, Beirich noted. Proud Boys and other white supremacists have violently clashed with attendees at drag queen story hours, including during events in North Texas.

Coordinated acts of hatred against marginalized communities are carried out virtually every day, ADL’s Center on Extremism Vice President Oren Segal told The Texas Tribune.

“These actions are also being documented by the extremists themselves in order to signal back to their communities online, which provides an on-ramp to further engagement with white supremacy and hate,” he said, according to that outlet.

The anti-LGBTQ climate has traveled to other parts of the world, including Australia and Britain, Beirich said, adding that the GOP has done little to distance itself from such bigotry.

“So there's nothing to tamp down these activities, right?” she said. “They're essentially getting sanction from one of our major political parties, and that's another huge, huge problem here.”

The way Beirich sees it, one major issue is that the Republican Party is acting as if the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol — during which supporters of then-President Donald Trump interrupted the certification of Joe Biden's electoral victory — was “no big deal.”

Texas is a hotbed for insurrectionists, placing second in the number of alleged J6-ers roughly a year after the Capitol attack.

Beirich said that the state has “one of the most radical Republican parties” in the nation. It passed a “very extreme platform” last year that took aim at immigrants, the LGBTQ community and others.

Plus, some Texans who believe the 2020 election was “stolen” have since run for office, she said.

“All of this is feeding into more and more extremism, and this report is essentially just representing that,” she said. “These people are active, they're on the streets, they feel emboldened. They're willing to put out this nasty propaganda. It's just kind of an ugly scene, and Texas is one of the prime places where this is happening.”

Many North Texans make up the insurrection's most high-profile arrests, including Frisco Realtor Jenna Ryan and Cooke County’s Mark Middleton, the latter of whom later launched an unsuccessful bid for the state legislature.

Last Friday, a retired Air Force officer from Grapevine, 55-year-old Larry Brock, was sentenced to two years behind bars for his own Capitol riot role. He’d donned combat gear and brought zip-tie handcuffs to the attack on the Capitol.

And, over the weekend, Trump claimed that he will soon be arrested in relation to a probe into hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. He also encouraged his followers to protest in order to “SAVE AMERICA.”

Beirich believes that if Trump does get arrested, it “could really rile up these folks.”

And what about stopping the spread of white supremacist ideas or slashing extremist organizations' membership? Beirich thinks it would help if conservative political leadership in Texas and beyond would denounce their activities and distance themselves from such groups.

“But that's clearly not going to happen,” she continued. “So, I don't see anything that's going to slow this down.”
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