As economy tanks, bigotry rises

The current economic and political climate is giving rise to extremists, according to Bill Nigut, the Southeast regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

“In times like these, hatred and bigotry flourish,” said Nigut, whose organization fights prejudice in society. “We have even seen a backlash to the (President Barack) Obama election in the white extremist community.”

Nigut, a longtime political reporter for WSB-TV, joined the ADL in January, 2007 after serving as executive director of the Metro Atlanta Arts & Culture Coalition for three years.

Nigut said he was drawn to the league, primarily a Jewish organization, because it was on the cutting edge of fighting prejudice in society.

But that’s an ongoing battle. As we were speaking before the Atlanta Business League’s Women of Vision breakfast Tuesday, Nigut shared some of the league’s recent observations.

“There’s also a substantial spike in anti-Semetic activity because of the financial crisis,” Nigut added.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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