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Hate groups and organizations

The impact of hate and bias is far reaching and can cause severe stress for all members of the community. Hate groups are set of individuals who perpetuate this by targeting specific groups. Hate groups are sometimes responsible for hate crimes and incidents.

How hate groups recruit new members

Hate groups often target young people of high school and college age. They use many forms of media, in order to recruit others to their causes, including posting flyers in public places, distributing flyers at schools or on the street, and using the internet to provide access to their ideologies. Hate groups are also increasingly using hate music bands to recruit. Some hate groups even try to appeal to younger children by including games and child friendly content on their websites. Watch this video from National Geographic on hate group recruitment.

Hate groups prey on lonely youth who are socially isolated by learning their weaknesses and drawing them into a group in which they feel accepted. Disenchanted youth who are abused, angry, unemployed, dropouts or runaways, and who may be looking for someone to blame for their problems, are prime targets. Groups befriend students and invite them to meetings, making them feel wanted and important, providing membership cards, titles and a sense of belonging. Through rituals, regalia and impressive ceremony, individual youth can be easily impressed and recruited, often due to their lack of identifiable future, and are catapulted into an environment of violence and hatred.

Members of racist groups provide a false camaraderie and friendship that is motivated by reasons not readily apparent to the target. They intimate that their hate group is simply a social club, or a legitimate nationalist political party or movement interested in preserving Canadian culture. They always lie to new members, never telling them of their true agenda of hatred and violence before it is too late.

Examples of hate group propaganda symbols include:

  • 14 - Number of letters in white supremacist expression "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
  • 88 - Represents the eighth letter 'H' hence HH - Heil Hitler.
  • 311 - Represents the 11th letter 'K' hence KKK - Ku Klux Klan.
  • 18 - Represents 1st and 8th letters 'A' & 'H' - short for Adolph Hitler.

Signs of a child being part of a hate group

If your child is involved in a hate group, these early warning signs may be a clue:

  • Sudden lack of interest in school.
  • Adopting new groups of friends and staying out late without any explanation.
  • Violence or secretive behaviour.
  • Overt hostility to parents and family, disobedience, rudeness.
  • Racist graffiti, drawings and doodling.
  • Playing loud, heavy rock music with violent lyrics.
  • Stereotyping and scape-goating of certain groups; name calling, racial and religious slurs in conversation at all times.
  • Making racist or bigoted comments about minorities, immigrants or foreigners.
  • A marked repugnance to consider certain ethnic or religious groups as fully Canadian or even human.
  • Wearing or displaying Nazi propaganda and symbols such as swastikas or the Iron Cross and/or military clothing and paraphernalia.
  • Changing their appearance (keeping in mind that just because an individual is a skinhead or wears Dr. Marten's, it doesn't mean they are in a hate group.)

Reporting hate groups and more information

Email The Calgary Police Service's Hate Crimes Coordinator at or contact us via phone at 403-428-8155.