Posted by: Rajesh Shukla | May 20, 2011

The Geography of Hate in America



With the death of Osama bin Laden, many believe that Al Quaeda was dealt a mortal blow. Time will tell, but as we learned from the Oklahoma City bombing and Nidal Malik Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood, we have much to fear from our own home grown extremists. And not just from “lone nuts” acting on their own.

Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups — from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations — has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fueled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.

But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States — at least within some sectors of their populations — are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?

The SPLC maintains a detailed database on hate groups, culled from websites and publications, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. It defines hate groups as organizations and associations that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” and which participate in “criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.” As of 2010, the SPLC documents 1,002 such hate groups across the United States.

The map below, by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, graphically presents the geography of hatred in America today. Based on the number of hate groups per one million people across the U.S. states, it reveals a distinctive pattern.  more of it here

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