THE DEMISE OF THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER

I used to be a strong supporter of, and contributor to, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

That was a long time ago.

Sad to say, today’s SPLC is less a fighter for racial equality and more a fully politicized, hardline left wing pressure group.

John Perazzo, of frontpagemag.com, has written an extensive commentary on how this change manifested itself.

Here is just a small taste:

SPLC claims that there are currently 892 active “hate groups” in the U.S. Asserting that the vast majority of such organizations are “right wing,” the Center says they include “the Ku Klux Klan,” “the neo-Nazi movement,” “neo-Confederates,” “racist skinheads,” “antigovernment militias,” “Christian Identity adherents,” and a variety of “anti-immigrant,” “anti-LGBT,” “anti-Muslim,” and “alternative Right” organizations. While also identifying a tiny smattering of black separatist entities as hate groups, SPLC takes pains to point out that black organizations must be judged by a different standard than their white counterparts, because “much black racism in America is, at least in part, a response to centuries of white racism.” 

SPLC contends that from 2000 to 2012, the number of hate groups in the U.S. increased by 67%—a surge allegedly “fueled by anger and fear over the nation’s ailing economy, an influx of non-white immigrants, and the diminishing white majority, as symbolized by the election of the nation’s first African-American president” (Barack Obama). And America’s racists, by SPLC’s calculus, are almost all conservatives—as evidenced by the caption featured in the “Hatewatch” section of SPLC’s website: “Hatewatch monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right.” The radical left gets no mention at all. 

SPLC’s “hate group” counts have been shown to be devoid of legitimacy a number of times. Laird Wilcox—a researcher specializing in the study of political fringe movements—reports that many SPLC-designated “hate groups” are untraceable, due either to their inactivity or nonexistence. After analyzing the SPLC Klanwatch Project’s list of 346 “white supremacist groups” in 1992, for instance, Wilcox concluded that in fact there were only “about 50” such groups “that are objectively significant, are actually functioning and have more than a handful of real numbers—not post office box ‘groups’ or two-man local chapters.”[1] In 2005, Wilcox reported: “Several years ago with minimal effort I went through a list of 800-plus ‘hate groups’ published by the SPLC and determined that over half of them were either non-existent, existed in name only, or were inactive.”

JoAnn Wypijewski, who writes for the far-left Nation magazine, once said: “No one has been more assiduous in inflating the profile of [hate] groups than [SPLC’s] millionaire huckster, Morris Dees, who in 1999 began a begging [i.e., fundraising] letter [by stating that] ‘the danger presented by the Klan is greater now than at any time in the past ten years.’” To put Dees’s claim in perspective, the Ku Klux Klan at that time consisted of no more than 3,000 people nationwide—a far cry from the 4 million members it had boasted in the 1920s. Nonetheless, noted Wypijewski, “Dees would have his donors believe” that cadres of “militia nuts” are “lurking around every corner.”

The great tragedy here is that the country truly needs organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center – if they perform as they self-describe.

But when they turn from sincere efforts on behalf of racial equality to doctrinaire PC left wing BS, not only do they subvert their own mission statement, they cast skepticism and doubt on other such organizations as well.

It would be hard to overstate how fervently I wish this had not happened.

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