By Carmen Gentile
ADL H.E.A.T. Map (Hate, Extremism, Antisemitism, Terrorism) is the first-of-its-kind interactive and customizable map detailing specific incidents of hate, extremism, antisemitism and terrorism by state and nationwide. ADL Center on Extremism experts developed this unique visualization using data points from information sources including news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources, Center on Extremism investigations and more. ADL H.E.A.T. Map is updated monthly. // ADL
Take a close look at that “heat map” of hate featured above.
All those circles represent incidents of antisemitism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism, and other similarly despicable acts. The bigger the circle, the greater number of hate crimes committed.
And based on what I see, there are an awful lot of hate crimes and acts of racism committed in Postindustrial America.
This map, replete with incriminating and shame-inducing dots throughout the Rust Belt and Appalachia, was compiled by the Anti-Defamation League and is part of a recent report detailing the soaring and record-breaking rate of hate speech and other violent actions in America.
In it, the ADL notes how white supremacist propaganda they documented was at an all-time high in 2022, resulting in a 38% increase in incidents from the previous year. That’s 6,751 cases reported in 2022, compared to 4,876 in 2021.
When you get a chance, I recommend you dig deeper into the searchable ADL H.E.A.T. Map (Hate, Extremism, Antisemitism, Terrorism) pictured above.
It’s a veritable horror show of cataloged acts of ignorance and violence, the likes of which will turn your already abject revulsion into full-blown nausea.
But that’s not the worst of it.
What’s so upsetting about this report’s findings is that I’m afraid it represents but a fragment of the loathing and bigotry that’s out there. Think about it: It’s hard to measure “hate” unless it manifests as deplorable acts, which we’ve learned are way up.
I gather that the hate outlined in the report is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg of racism, and antisemitism — the kind of extremism that foments killings and sorrow.
Those are just two of the acts of incivility, violence, and killings to list here (again, check out the interactive map).
Both the Pittsburgh and Buffalo gunmen were largely loners, radicalized online, and had ready access to loads of lethal firepower.
Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single sentence I’ve written in my long, professional career that contains as many societal ills in need of addressing as the one above, problems with roots both deep and difficult to address.
Meanwhile, over the last several decades, we’ve witnessed Americans grow more divided, politically polarized, and nasty toward one another, with our citizenry fragmented into increasingly hostile factions that consume rage from their insulated media silos, where no contrary opinions can permeate.
It’s bad for our sense of comradery and cohesion as a nation when we can’t even agree on simple facts like: Russia’s Putin is the wrongful aggressor in the Ukraine War and Joe Biden won the 2020 presidency.
I’m no sociologist, but I think one might say something to the effect of: When you can’t agree on basic facts in a society, the rules of civility and accepted norms will begin to fray.
And in continuation of this ham-fisted, medical metaphor, there’s no “magic salve” that’s going to remedy all the ills populating our corner of the ADL’s hate map.
But we can’t be a nation that grows accustomed to so much hate. So we have to keep trying to find that long-elusive cure.
Postindustrial founder Carmen Gentile has worked for some of the world’s leading publications and news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CBS News and others. His book, “Blindsided by the Taliban,” documents his life as a war reporter and the aftermath of his brush with death after being shot with a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Marcella S. Kreiter
By Carmen Gentile