After a contentious exchange at the first presidential debate, a conversation about hate groups in the state has been ignited.
The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate groups and lists the "Proud Boys" and several other hate groups as active in Connecticut. The Proud Boys name was brought up during the debate.
"They are an organization that doesn’t necessarily have direct ties to the clan but they are more of a younger more of a web-based social media platforms and they go out and have rallies," explained Jonathan Wharton, a professor of political affairs at Southern Connecticut State University.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said the group was formed back in 2016. Wharton watched the debate last night with his students and said he tries to incorporate history and issues of race in the state a part of the curriculum.
"With the rise of European immigrants especially and African Americans during the great migration where many were leaving from the rural south to the north for jobs there’s going to be competition, certainly economically so there was a rise of the Klan in that era", said Wharton, "Then it spiked again in the 1970s especially around segregation and housing concerns in Connecticut."
The professor described his course by saying, "We’ll speak about some of the racial concerns affecting many places and areas around Connecticut and usually around racial politics in cities where there can be caused for concerns surrounding a variety of communities not getting along."
Wharton said many of the students he teaches see a disconnect when it comes to racism. They think of racism as a thing of the past.
"There are places in Connecticut where it’s well known that you are not to go visit after a certain time at night if you’re African American or a person of color. It still remains an issue and a concern and yet we should be aware," he said.