ROCHESTER, Minn. - Department of Homeland Security draft documents report white supremacists will be the most "persistent threat" to this country through 2021. This report arrives at a time of political and social tension. We talk to local experts about the uptick in extremist incidents.
The Diversity Council in Rochester says their volume of calls has more than doubled. People call with concerns of race-targeted language and race-targeted acts of vandalism.
Executive Director Dee Sabol says hate is looking for a place to land. When people come together around topics of hatred - they gravitate to those movements. She fears for the worst.
"My concern is that as people become bolder in their hate and their hate speech and their actions, there is potential for danger and increased threat for many of our populations," Sabol said.
RCTC History instructor Chad Israelson says resurgences of white supremacy come in peaks and valleys.
"We mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Riots, 1918 - there were the Chicago riots," Israelson said. "This was essentially whites that would attack African-American neighborhoods."
He acknowledges prejudice is nothing new - but this resurgence of white supremacy is disheartening.
"A lot of people in America hoped we were beyond this, and maybe were lulled into a false sense of security that we were," Israelson said.
Israelson admits - the country has seen an increase in hate rhetoric - but racism is ingrained in our institutions.
"There were killings of unarmed African-Americans, go right back to every President, happened under President Obama, president Bush, President Clinton," Israelson said. "These kinds of things are ingrained in our system."
Ultimately - Sabol and Israelson believe society can combat white supremacy.
"This is forcing us to take another look at ourselves as a nation - obviously we're going to have to come out and say this is not tolerable," Israelson said.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has set up a hotline so people can report hate incidents: 1-833-454-0148.