17 April 2009

American Hate Groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center has released the results of their study of hate groups across the United States; they report that there are 926 active groups. To see how many of these groups are active in your neighborhood visit their Hate Groups Map. The map, and the overall results, paints a pretty depressing, if fascinating, picture. The hot topic of immigration has been an obvious boon to American hate groups as they have seen a 54% jump since 2000. And given that President Obama is our first African-American president I'm not surprised that American hate groups have seen a 4% increase since 2007.

I'm also not surprised to learn that my home state of Missouri has at least 30 known hate groups. And I guess I always knew in the back of my mind that there were surely some racist organizations around my own area of southwest Missouri. This is the Ozarks after all, land of hillbillies and rednecks. But I was somewhat surprised, not to mention dismayed, to learn that there so many so close to me. There's something like 5 or 6 within an hour of my home!

I don't know quite how to feel about the Christian Identity brand of hate group and its connections to Norse neopagans. According to the SPLCenter:
In recent years, deep doctrinal disputes, the lack of a central church structure, and a shift among white supremacists towards agnosticism and racist variations of neo-Paganism have weakened the Identity movement and reduced the number of its adherents.

I've always been aware that a very small subset of Neopagans was of the racist variety but to see it discussed in such a matter of fact manner is chilling, to say the least. As far back as 1998 the SPLC has been discussing the racist varieties of Asatru and Odinism but did at least concede that:
Some 40 Websites are devoted to forms of AsatrĂº (most of them nonracist).
A later 2001 interview with a Swedish expert goes farther. A professor from Stockholm, Mattias Gardell, states that there are three distinct types of Norse neopagans:
There are really three positions: the militant racists, the nonracists and, in between, a third, "ethnic" position.
While I'm not of the Nordic persuasion I think Gardell did a pretty fair job of making it plain that just because one is a Norse neopagan does not necessarily mean one is a racist. He does, however, tend to lump all neopagans into one group. Or, rather, he simply leaves out the non-Norse neopagans. But as he is discussing racism within neopaganism he can perhaps be forgiven for that.

There's also another map worth visiting at the SPLC site. It's the the interactive Stand Strong Against Hate map which allows visitors to add their name and home state information in a show of tolerance. It might not really accomplish much but it is nice to see so many positive green spots on the map as opposed to the red hate group dots. Said page also has a list of recently reported hate crimes which is, again, depressing as hell but important nonetheless.

As I said on Inauguration day:
I don't know if today is the fulfillment of King's dream or just the beginning of the fulfillment of his dream.
We have an African-American president; we have made great strides. But racism, religious hatred and all that goes with it are still very much alive in this country. The above links speak to that. We haven't achieved all of our progressive goals simply because Obama won the election. We've turned a corner, yes, but we still have a long way to go now that the haters of this country are redoubling their efforts.


Griffin said...

You're ahead of Britain at least. Here we don't have the tiniest chance of an ethnic minority Prime Minister. Race is not even considered an issue here and yet it is as much as an issue as it has ever been.

Livia Indica said...

Hey Griffin, you've made me curious. What kind of race issues do you have over there? Are there a lot of minorities, immigration issues, etc?

Griffin said...

The race issues here are mainly tied in with class/wealth. The 1980s/90s saw a backlash against feminism, but also more homophobia and some racism that picked up a lot after 9/11 and 7/7 here.

Minorities tend to settle among their own groups in places like Leicester where there are more British Indians than White English. In cities like Birmingham and London there is a wider mix, but jobs tend to go to the white middle classes more than they do anyone else. A lot of it is unconscious racism - the white middle class here are mostly not consciously racist, but they prefer to mix generally with other white middle class people.

Indians suffer less than the Black African/Caribbean community who have always been poorer historically overall. But the issue is not being widely addressed. It's touched on in bits.

In my field, museums, the majority of staff in curatorial jobs are white middle class. In the late 90s there was 0.02% of ethnic minorities working in 'professional' jobs in museums. It's better now, but not nearly enough. The reason it's so low still is partly money - the sector is notoriously low-paid, but also because those who hire are without exception in my experience - white middle class and they hire people like themselves.

Immigration is also an issue, it always has been, but has shifted more with Eastern Europeans coming to the UK. They are white, so less easy to hate as it were!

Immigration in the US tho' seems laughable because the country is what it is - because of all the European immigrants!

But race has been and is such a huge issue in the US that it could be addressed. It's been ignored here.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

I can only say that the percentage will rise as long as people like Obama-- That,s right, the Commander In Chief of the UNITED STATES (remember those? Attacked in 2001?), provides AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS to pave the way for members of the group known as HAMAS to immigrate to, board, and be fed in those very states he claims to want to lead.

Hardcore truth. Doubt me, but the links I will provide for anyone who asks-- any REAL Seekers of Truth-- aren't of my imaginative flourish...

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Did you know that, under Obama's administration, soldiers returning from the war overseas are placed on watch as POSSIBLE TERRORISTS?!?! As Governmental ENEMIES???


And because they support the CONSTITUTION and not a PERSON, they are TERRORISTS???


[Again, i can back my words. Or rather, Obama's actions will ...

Ask. I'll link...

Marion said...

Livia, I tried to add my name, even if I'm Canadian. Of course, it didn't work...the map against hate is only for US citizens. Just on the off chance, however!

I would dearly love to find a map such as this for Canada. But so far I haven't found one. There are hate groups here as well...I know of one or two...but they are not well known, preferring to stay underground.

I commend you for posting this...it certainly brings hate groups to the forefront. And if they are redoubling their efforts, the non-haters must redouble theirs.

Livia Indica said...

Hey Griffin, thanks for sharing. I guess when you say "British Indians" you mean people from the country of India right? I'm assuming that's what you mean but wanted to be sure.

Livia Indica said...

Cygnus, I don't doubt what you're saying. I think I know you well enough by now to know you're not just shooting your mouth off.

I am, however, a little confused by the mention of U.S. soldiers being listed as possible terrorists. I agree with you, I think that's total bullshit, but I don't see how that ties into hate groups. Are you saying that they, because of this labeling by the gov't, will be more inclined to form/join a hate group? Or something else?

Livia Indica said...

Marion, I couldn't find a map for Canada either. I found this site reporting Canadian statistics: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/discrimination/pages.aspx?id=102, but no map.

Cygnus MacLlyr said...

Good point, liv... i'm not sure they do tie in. just so stark-raving emotional at the whole issue..

May be terrorists and hate groups don't share common terra, but they ARE both labeled as anti-gov.

Given the way nanny.gov is headed, i gotta side with the dissidents...

Thanks, Livia.

Livia Indica said...

Hey Cygnus, I can understand you're vehemence. To not, at least some of the time, feel that passionate would worry me more.

Griffin said...

Yes Livia, Britons whose descent is from India... like me! I am definitely a Briton.

I suspect the idea of putting returning soldiers on a 'watch' list may be due to the fear of them, 'going native' - aside from the fact that possibly many of them didn't like or agree with having to go there in the first place.

The attack in 2001 was appalling, but it certainly did not merit a war in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attack.

But you're right, not having any passion is worse than having some, especially when that passion is well directed. We're having a tough time of it too with the police (especially the Metropolitan force) deciding to be a reactionary 'hate' group all their own.