Thursday, February 24, 2011

More hate groups than ever

Uh, oh! This article is likely to get NPR defunded:
A new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center describes a big rise in hate groups across the country.

By its count, there are now more than 1,000 active extremist groups in the U.S. Experts say the largest increase comes from militias that consider the federal government their enemy. ...

"We have absolutely explosive growth of these groups in 2009," [Mark] Potok says. "And what we have now found is that that growth continued through 2010. We have a higher hate group count than we've ever had."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that tracks extremist movements, says there are three major reasons for the increase: the bad economy, the wide reach of the Internet and changing racial patterns in the country.

Experts say the most negative energy seems to be coming from people who think the federal government is conspiring to take away their freedom.


Anonymous said...

1. There is no legal definition for “hate group,” which is why even the FBI does not track “hate groups.”

2. The SPLC uses the deliberately meaningless term “hate groups” in its fund-raising propaganda precisely because it allows them to denigrate their perceived opponents without accusing them of any actual crimes.

3. The “Hate Map” is a fund-raising tool, nothing more. It provides no information whatsoever on the alleged groups, in fact, the SPLC didn’t even bother to make up locations for 262 of the groups; that’s 26% of the total.

In many states, the percentage of phantom “groups” runs as high as 80-100%. Many of the alleged “groups” are listed twice in the same location.

4. Since the SPLC is the sole arbiter of the meaningless “hate group” label, AND because SPLC fund-raising is directly tied to creating the illusion of an ever-increasing threat, it is in their direct financial interest to raise the numbers each year.

Last year the SPLC took in $31 million donor-dollars in donations and earned $26 million in interest on its bloated “Endowment Fund.” That’s $57 million dollars for last year alone. Since 2003, the SPLC has taken in more than a third of a BILLION dollars in tax-free cash, and yet the number of “hate groups” always goes up.

5. The most ironic (read: "hypocritical") thing about the Southern Poverty Law Center is that NOT ONE of its top ten, highest paid executives is a minority.

In fact, according to the SPLC's hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King's home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power in its entire 40 year history.

Some "experts"

WCG said...

Richard, your comment was originally filtered out as spam, probably because of the links included. I fixed that.

However, your points are an interesting mixture of the truthful, the immaterial, and - from what I can tell - the misleading.

The probably true: I imagine that you're right about there being no legal definition of "hate group" (I really don't know).

The true, and maybe material: They do use the rise in hate groups in fund-raising. Of course, this is a non-profit organization, but people still get paid for working there and none of us wants to lose his job.

The immaterial: Yes, the Southern Poverty Law Center, as a non-profit group, gets millions of dollars in tax-free donations. So what?

The misleading: The FBI actually tracks hate crimes. And you can bet that they watch "hate groups," whether they publicly identify them as such or not.

The misleading: You claim that none of the highest paid executives is a minority. That's clearly not true, even if you don't count women as a "minority."

Presumably, you mean "racial minority," which might be true (assuming that - unlike the Klan - you consider Jews to be white). Again, I really don't know. But even a very cursory examination of the group shows that civil rights activist (and African-American) Julian Bond helped found it, served as its president from 1971-1979, and still serves on the board of directors.

There's nothing wrong with criticizing any non-profit group (as long as your criticisms aren't deliberately misleading). In fact, it's a good idea to keep an eye on them. But you do seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the SPLC, since all of your own blog posts seem to be about this one group.

Furthermore, a quick search shows you commenting pretty much everywhere on the Internet, making the same claims about the SPLC (often the exact same words you used here). Apparently, you make a point of attacking the group whenever and wherever they're mentioned.

I have to wonder about that obsession, not least because the SPLC has clearly done some very good things over the years. Obviously, that shouldn't make them immune to criticism. But you really seem to be obsessed with taking them down. What's that all about?