American Turban

The Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map

The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,018 active hate groups in the United States in 2011. (source: Southern Poverty Law Center)

The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 1,018 active hate groups in the United States in 2011. (source: Southern Poverty Law Center)

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a “nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society,” counted 1,018 hate groups in the United States in 2011:

This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.

An interesting feature of the SPLC hate group map above includes the ability to drill down by state, identifying the names, locations, and causes of various hate groups.

Surprisingly or not, many hate groups operate in areas of the country that have higher levels of diversity — in 2011, California lead the nation with 84 identified hate groups in this list, Georgia contained 65, and another 55 were found in Florida. Combined, New York and New Jersey totaled 84 hate groups.

Further, while the Southern Poverty Law Center qualifies that their hate group listing does not suggest that a given group is prone to acts of violence, a survey of the SPLC’s listing of hate incidents in 2011 (based largely on media reports) reveals that states with such high activity account for the largest number of hate crime incidents (California had the highest among states with 66 listings in 2011, and New York/New Jersey combined for 34 incidents).

This listings of hate crimes is far from complete, which the SPLC does acknowledge reports only a fraction. Specifically, many incidents against Sikhs that have occurred over the past few years are not listed (including the 2011 murders of Sikh men near Sacramento, California, and the mass murder by a white supremacist at the Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, last August). The exclusion of some of these crimes may be due to the difficulty in deeming an act as a hate crime, despite that for all intents and purposes besides legalities, they are acknowledged as such.

However, a comparison between the two lists suggests that higher numbers of hate groups correlate with higher numbers of hate crime incidents.

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