Yesterday, I took a few swipes at the Southern Poverty Law Center. One of my swipes was at their “Hate Map,” the interactive web map of the United States that lists those they consider “hate groups.”
I noted that in New Hampshire, they listed one group twice — the Feeneyist “Slaves Of The Immaculate Heart Of Mary” in Richmond, NH are listed both under their own name and “IHM Media.”
I’d never heard of the Feeneyites, but my most casual research would indicate they’re a Catholic offshoot, a bit of a nutty cult, but not overly dangerous. (OK, they seem really nutty. But as far as I can tell, harmless nuts.)
The other three groups listed as having a “presence” in New Hampshire are the Ku Klux Klan, the National Socialist Movement, and North East White Pride. I’ve encountered a few of them, so I know they’re real, but they’re also very small and ineffective.
Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee took a look at how the SPLC rated his own home state of North Carolina. He found they listed 29 groups as active, eight of which were “black separatist” — the New Black Panther Party, five chapters of the Nation of Islam, and two chapters of the The Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ.
That seems to be a bit of number-padding — if an organization has multiple chapters in a state, each chapter counts as a separate “hate group.” Taking just North Carolina, eliminating duplicates reduces the count from 29 to 18. Taking it a step further, lumping the six variants of the Ku Klux Klan into one would bring it down to 13 total.
Wow, I’m amazing. In one fell swoop, I’ve reduced the numbers of hate groups in North Carolina by 55% without even leaving my chair!
OK, that’s two states down, and 48 to go.
You’d think that the SPLC, with its remarkable resources (it pays its top ten (white) people an average of about $200,000 a year) could get something as important to them as their “hate map” accurate. But they haven’t. It’s got serious flaws.
But instead of kicking them, let’s help them out. Let’s do the work they haven’t done.
I’m calling on bloggers and blog-readers to go to the SPLC’s Hate Map, call up the specifics for their home state, and report on just how accurate it is.
I’ll post semi-regular updates as folks tip me off to their states — preferably in their own blogs, but in e-mails or comments. For this project, I’ve set up a fresh e-mail account:
HelpTheSPLC (at) gmail.com
Yeah, I could just kick them around some more, mock them for their sloppy work or even accuse them of hyping and exaggerating the number of “hate groups” in the US to boost their fundraising.
Instead, though, I want to be positive. I want to be pro-active. I want to achieve some good, not just slap around the bad.
So head on over to the SPLC’s hate map, call up your state, and compare it to reality.
After all, with only two states checked, major flaws have been found in both. The odds are that there are a lot more mistakes in that list.
Let’s find ’em, folks!