Richard Florida for The Atlantic takes a closer look at hate groups in the United States:
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.
The map provides a basic state-by-state view of hate groups per capita. Montana and Mississippi have the highest rates. Straightforward stuff. The interesting part, however, is how the rate correlates to other factors, such as support for John McCain. The greater the support for McCain, the more hate groups per capita a state tends to have.
Conversely, here’s the graph for Barack Obama versus hate groups per capita. Unsurprisingly, it’s the opposite of the McCain graph:
There are correlations with religion, working class percentage, immigration count, and a number of others. I don’t know enough about the topic to guess why these correlations exist (if you do, feel free to comment), but the correlations are pretty clear and worth a look.
[The Atlantic via @pitchinteractiv]
where are the religious hate groups? (Anti-gay, anti-woman’s rights, anti-secular, anti-science etc)
Daniel, I don’t think that people who simply disagree with your world view should automatically be called hateful people.
Being anti-gay is pretty hateful. I’m not inclined to consider it a legitimate world-view.
Josh, I certainly agree that there are people who speak and/or act hatefully toward individuals with same-sex orientation (or bisexual orientations), but I just want to be careful that we are not calling differences in world view hate. For example, differences on definitions of marriage and family does not make a person hateful.
Fighting ignorance, closed-mindedness, and bigotry with ignorance, closed-mindedness, and bigotry generally does not work very well.
Y’all, if you are at all familiar with either the article or the SPLC’s reports on this, you’ll know that there is a very specific set of criteria they use to identify something as a “hate group” and it usually involves more than just being grumpy people.
In fact, “The SPLC maintains a list of hate groups defined as groups that ‘…have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.’ It says that hate group activities may include speeches, marches, rallies, meetings, publishing, leafleting, and criminal acts such as violence. It says not all groups listed by the SPLC engage in criminal activity.” [via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_organizations_designated_by_the_Southern_Poverty_Law_Center_as_hate_groups ].
The radical left has some entries in the competition, as well as people on the opposite extremes of the examples listed. RTFA or at least go to Wikipedia before asking a question that takes 10 seconds on a wiki or having read the linked article to find out for yourself. And just because someone lists the first things that come to mind does not mean that they seriously believe those are the only possible options … that’s why the question was asked and acknowledged with the “etc” that their example set was incomplete.
But I’m being grumpy and not especially useful now, so I’m going to apologize for the grumpiness and ask that we all give each other the benefit of the doubt next time, and that most definitely includes me in the list of people who need to work harder on this.
However you define it, wanting legal inequality for otherwise equal people is hate. Religious bullying is hatred on absolute par to racism.
I absolutely believe that hating people that love other people is hate. But that doesn’t change the criteria used to define what a “hate group” is in this context.
I’m from Laramie, WY. I grew up here. My teenage experience was heavily influenced by this issue and I have spend a great deal of time thinking about it. While many a church in this town said some terrible and ungodly things about homosexuality, their expressions of opinion paled in comparison to the vile, perverse assault of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. Even the conservative people and institutions in this town who think homosexuality is a sin found the WBC’s presence and vile rhetoric stomach-turning, unwelcome, and completely unwarranted. That is the difference between hate and a hate group. While neither is acceptable, the hate groups are a phenomenon worth tracking and monitoring as a distinct sort of thing. This is not to say different expressions of hate are not important to know about and work against, just to acknowledge some distinction.
Daniel, I am not sure I follow (or agree, if I do follow).
You say “wanting legal inequality for otherwise equal people is hate”.
Our entire legal and moral system is based upon deciding what we believe to be both moral and acceptable. Most of use believe that a man of fifty years should definitely not have sexual relations with any child. This means we in a sense limit the freedoms of pedophiles. Do we HATE pedophiles? No… at least I do not. I (and I assume others) simply do not think that sex is healthy or right (for society or the individuals involved) when it is between a fifty year old man and a child.
So, as you can (hopefully) see, not all protests concerning what is right and what is wrong are based in hatred. I am not saying there are not hateful people or actions–just that not every person is hateful by believing certain things. Religion certainly may be used for hate, but it is not always hateful.
Lastly, I think your suggestion that any opposition to homosexual marriage is hateful (particularly when that person is religious) is itself hateful, bigoted, ill-informed and poorly reasoned. I say this not to attack you, but so that you can avoid being the very thing that you are set out to stop.
Your playing loose and fast with the term hate. Hate crimes aren’t thus called because you personally “hate” your victim.
The opposition to gay marriage (which was by no means the only issue I was pointing out) in itself is a worldview yes, and one you can keep to yourself. But the choice to take political action and vote to guarantee that other tax-paying citizens should be constitutionally denied the freedoms you enjoy is wanting discrimination, and without objection hateful, and the same states and the same demographic who are for it were just as hateful when they voted to ban inter-racial marriages not so long ago.
Right wing churches are active, voting hate groups however you want to define it.
And I do hate pedophiles. And for you to compare the rights of a child rapist to that of consenting, tax-paying adults speaks volumes about your worldview.
Daniel, I think you have misunderstood the point that I made about pedophiliac persons. I definitely think there is a difference between homosexual persons and pedophiliac persons—they are certainly not the same. My point was that your suggestion for a definition of ‘hate’ as “wanting legal inequality for otherwise equal people” is a very poor definition. In a sense, legal inequality is how we prevent people from acting unhealthily and immorally—we declare certain actions illegal when we have deemed they are unhealthy and immoral. For your definition to hold, it needs to hold in all cases—not only the cases that you have found it useful. Your definition is empty and flawed, and I certainly disagree with it—though you have decided it is “without objection.”
Secondarily, I think we have arrived again at our original disagreement: people who disagree with your world view are not necessarily hateful people.
Lastly, I think you really need to determine whether you are against hate, or whether you are simply against people who disagree with you. You say that you hate pedophiles. Why? Why must you hate them? Why can you not disagree with their actions—even deem their actions morally reprehensible (as I do)—but not hate the person? You seem set on hating people. You hate pedophiles. You hate right wing churches, whom you generalize into one giant group, much like many other bigoted and ignorant individuals generalize and stereotype African American persons, homosexual persons, and Muslim persons.
I would like to suggest that you figure out why you must hate other people (and call other people hateful) to validate your own beliefs.
Happy searching and good luck.
In terms of allowing adults who are entering into a legal contract between each other, that guarantees them certain rights but also requires certain responsibilities, I think it is most definitely a civil rights issue. This issue is confused by the fact the civil contract is named the same as the social/religious concept. Easy fix: the government calls this sort of contract between legal, consenting citizens a “civil union” and let the social and religious groups that call this sort of relationship “marriage” confer that term. But names are important, and the government needs to use the same term for the thing as well as ensuring that the government treatment and enforcement of that contract is uniform and the rights and responsibilities conferred by the contract are uniform.
The libertarian, small-government argument: if you don’t want to have a civil union or marriage with someone of the same sex, don’t. Other people’s legal contracts with one another aren’t your business and your moral objections are not legal objections. If you think that same-sex couples do not deserve to be able to enter into this legal contract, why are different-sex couples more deserving? Wyoming’s *extremely conservative* legislature recently had this conversation since they decided to spend their time considering a ban on the recognition of same-sex unions from other states in Wyoming. They have already banned same-sex unions in Wyoming, although the urgency of legislating that was sort of dubious. They discussed banning recognition of unions from other states partially due to prejudice but also due to the concern of paying benefits to the spouses of state employees and allowing access to the Wyoming court system for divorces. Ultimately, our legislature did not pass the proposed legislation because they couldn’t justify passing it and then defending it in court on legal, philosophical, or practical grounds. Directly, it would be expensive to defend against court challenge, would discourage tourism and business creation/relocation, as well as being hard to justify when thinking about small government and a concept of being fair in the use of the government we have.
As for extra-legal names for this relationship like “partnership” or “marriage,” if your social and religious circle don’t want to give that name to a relationship, don’t. But you have no control over what other groups of people name it, nor should you. They’re not telling you what you can or cannot name your relationships either, nor should they. Giving any group legal power over other people’s language that they use for each other is fundamentally useless, impossible to enforce, as well as being in direct opposition to ideas of limited government, personal freedom, religious and moral expression, and counter to the First Amendment of our constitution. In other words, it’s illegal, dubious morally, and fundamentally a complete waste of time. Don’t you have more important and tangible ways to spend your time?
And how does promoting stability, monogamy, and responsibility in relationships through legal recognition and reinforcement of the terms of the contract damage society? How does this damage you? Does it damage society and you in a way that outweighs its benefits to the directly involved individuals? Does it actually benefit society? And is your objection to legal and official recognition directly related to your personal objection to other people’s choices? And do you object because it has any tangible effect on your life or because you find it icky? If your objection is religious, why do you think your religion objects? If it’s because of procreation, do we really have a shortage of people? If you think it’s a sign of deeper moral decay, prove it with independently verifiable, non-anecdotal cumulative examples that have a causal or even just corollary relationship that is in any way notably different than relationships that you aren’t designating as targets for disenfranchisement. The same arguments we here now about same-sex marriage are the same arguments used against interracial marriage, and allowing it did not destroy society. I don’t think this time is different.
And as for rhetoric and casual, broad use of the term “hate,” both you, Edward, and you, Daniel, are being rather hyperbolic and imprecise with its use in this discussion. Both of you have legitimate objections to use and precision of language in the service of communicating about a complex issue, but both of you are objecting by doing the exact same things in a different way in terms of unclear use of the term “hate.”
However, Edward, you’ve gone out of your way to assume the worst about what Daniel has been trying to say as well as focusing on odd details rather than the substance and full meaning of his arguments. If you want to actually express why you believe what you believe in a way that people who disagree with you can understand and maybe even be convinced by, you need to not nitpick all the time and actually tell people not only what you believe but why and then the why under that why.
That whole paragraph of questions in my immediately previous comment was not rhetorical. I would truly like to know, as those are the points of information are what I’ve used to create my opinion on this subject and if you have different information I would like to know it because it is obviously important to you and that does matter to me and has the possibility to change my understanding of the subject.
But if you just want to bandy about argument based on semantics and not address deeper issues, this conversation just serves to further isolate us from each other and leave us all frustrated and unhappy. If we’ve spent the time to correspond, why don’t we try to make it useful and enlightening rather than the alternative.
And, reviewing the thread, Daniel, it is excessive to say that “Right wing churches are active, voting hate groups however you want to define it.” The problem is your definition of right-wing churches is almost certainly different than Edward’s definition or my definition and we don’t know how or how much our definitions differ without less hyperbole and more detail. Christianity is a gigantic and highly diverse religion, and the actions, priorities, and political activity of even the subset that could be considered “right-wing” is still diverse and by no means uniform. You’re offended, but you’re also being offensive.
Does following Bible morality constitute hate ?? And if a person chooses to follow Christ and God in opposing homosexual activity (Romans 1: 26 and 27), does that mean that that person , God and Jesus constitute a hate group ? If so what are your feelings toward God and Jesus and anyone that agrees with God’s Word in Romans 1:26,27 ?? God in his Bible speaks out against many wrong acts such as murder, lying, stealing, greed, sexual activity outside of the marriage arrangement He set up between men and women etc etc. Is God a hater, or is he condemning the immoral and wrong acts ?? Throughout the Bible God and Jesus make it clear that it is the bad act not the person he objects to, however if a person does’nt quit the bad activity then he does’nt have God’s blessing. Does God, Jesus or anyone else who does’nt bless homosexuality or any other activity opposed by God constitute a hate group ?? Homosexuality is not a civil rights issue, it’s a morality issue to the hundreds of millions of people that believe God’s word. Do you hate all of us because we disagree with your lifestyle ?? If you do like so many gays do, then i suggest that YOU are the hate group, or is it only hate when someone disagrees with you ??
You know, Jesus seemed to focus a great deal more on love, forgiveness, and reconciliation than hate. He specifically blessed people thought or known to be sinful by him and others. Jesus didn’t waste his time initiating a hate-fest where everyone was supposed to fight about who was more hateful.
I suspect that those who excessively quote “love the sinner, hate the sin” to be using that as self-delusion. They’re usurping God’s roll as judge of righteousness and sin and hating both sin and sinner. Jesus declared that the Commandment to be held above all others was to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If God will judge everyone at the end of days, why do you feel the need to comment on others actions? They will get their reward or punishment from God. You are not God, so you believing you can speak on God’s behalf is blasphemy as well as folly. Pull the log from your own eye before you point out the splinter in another’s.
Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, although there is something about asking “he without sin to cast the first stone” in the case of stoning an adulteress, unless you’re well-read enough about the history of the texts to strongly suspect that whole passage is forged.
You cannot control the feelings or behaviors of others. You can do a great deal about your own feelings and behaviors. Rather than matching perceived hate towards you with more hate, how about you follow Jesus’s teachings and example and stop the cycle. If you feel you need to do something more active, how about working on caring for the needy and healing the sick? Jesus did a lot of work on those things, and they seem to be in urgent need of more work today.
I think it’s also dependent on how you define a hate group. The Southern Poverty Law Center has defined a considerable of small government-supporting organizations as hate groups when their message is far from espousing hate. Not surprisingly the list was compiled by a left-leaning organization.
In terms of constructive dialogue about organizations founded on and centered around hating other groups of people, everyone needs to be a bit clearer about the fact that these organizations and their members only represent themselves and if their views were shared by everyone who was conservative or liberal then the conservatives or the liberals who agreed with those groups would probably join the groups officially. But, before you mention that you think the research has some inherent liberal bias, maybe you should start by saying you find the things these people actually say to be truly vile and objectively hateful (go read what they say, it is not stuff you probably agree with at all or it takes the things you do agree with to such a radical extreme that those ideas have truly been twisted into something barely recognizable). It’s not just small government, it’s more along the lines of the beliefs that motivated the Oklahoma City Bombing and group compounds where people stockpile automatic weapons and promise to massacre any ATF agent or anyone else who tries to enforce the current laws in this country. I believe in the Second Amendment, but I don’t think the framers of the Constitution had private stockpiles of machine guns and explosives in mind.
I would also like to note that the SLPC pays attention to Black Separatist Groups as well as White Separatist Groups. There are examples of hate groups from many angles of hate. Maybe, unless you can come up with a list of examples of non-listed left-wing groups that “…have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” you should, for a moment, consider maybe the SPLC did a thorough job and there are more groups that are like that that come from a conservative (small “c,” as in “holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion”) viewpoint than there are examples from the opposite end of the spectrum. And maybe they glom onto the ideas of small government because they think that viewpoint supports their hate, which should be as offensive to small-government conservatives as it is to people who aren’t. Actually, it should be *more* offensive to the small-government conservatives, as it’s loud co-option of their beliefs to support truly vile behavior and it’s a perversion of those ideas as well as making people think the reasonable, well-behaved, not hate-spouting conservatives have the same core beliefs and motivations as the fringe groups when that is simply not true.
Let’s not assume that X causes Y in these charts, by the way. X is more likely to be caused by Y, or caused by the same other factors that cause Y.
Ah, the voice of reason…
Next thing you know, someone will tell us that if we buy an ice cream cone in San Francisco we’ll take care of the hate group problem (that’s an old statistics text book reference about causality, if the casual reader didn’t get it).
I don’t think anyone is assuming causation here.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. The correlations are interesting, but as Mr. Peltier pointed out, there can be many ways to interpret the data. It would be interesting to see a correlation using Hate Groups and Per Capita Income, Education, Unemployment Rates, Prison Rates, etc.. In my mind the above graphs are plotting two end results (chosen affiliations) and not root causes (socio-economic). Still the kind of thing I look forward to when I wake up in the morning. Thanks!
Is “hate groups per million” really the right metric? That metric seems biased against small states (coincidentally ones currently more likely to vote Republican). For example, if there was a KKK group in each state, a “groups per million” metric would show — well, pretty much the graph I see here.
I’m prepared to believe there’s a more than ample supply of hate groups in California.
I agree. It might be true that smaller states are more hateful… but the metric is quite dubious. I bet we would find a rather strong correlation between population and hate groups per million.
I am really sure what a better means of measurement would be… total number of hate groups? I guess it depends what the presenter of this data is trying to prove.
There is a distinct difference between a hate group with 15 members and a hate group with 300 members. I, too, think this presentation of data should have found a way to acknowledge that.
I’m not really up on my statistics, but it seems somehow wrong to fit that line to a set of data points with that much variation. I understand that it’s a proper fit, but given the variability in the data, I’m not sure it really tells us much.
These stats appear to be based on the number of hate groups, not the number of people involved in hate groups. So if for example there are on average 5 people involved in the 19 hate groups in Colorado (95 people today), but there are 100 people average in the 7 hate groups in Minnesota (700 today) there would be significantly more people in hate groups in Minnesota. These charts however would make it look like Colorado was more “hateful”.
Exactly – active membership of hate groups would be far more meaningful.
Please, let’s ban all state- and nation- level maps.
you should keep your eyes closed if you don’t want to see the reality
I agree. They are arbitrary boundaries that are so variable in so many essential quantifiable and unquantifiable ways that they’re not very useful. I think if they want to use a map of the lower 48 states, they should at least use congressional districts or counties or zip codes or some slightly smaller unit that adds more precision and context.
Worse, there is not a lot of data here directly dependent on these specific geographic boundaries that is not *more* dependent on things like population density and communication and transportation infrastructure and other factors not shown at all. People can use things they know to make guesses about some of these things, but that’s something the charts should do if those things are important.
So yeah, the map is terrible.
Where’s the map showing my hatred of this type of superficial correlation analysis? … or maybe the hatred is correlated with intelligence.
Looks like another data point – which state do you live in and could you send me an application form please?
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an amazing machine that raises millions of dollars from nervous northerners to use questionable statistics in problematic ways, in order, mostly, to raise more money from more nervous northerners. It’s not a “left-leaning” anything, except that it leans toward unsuspecting lefties to take their money. Some years ago, the American Institute of Philanthropy gave the SPLC an F for “excessive” reserves!
Harpers had a great article on them about ten years ago; Ken Silverstein summarizes it well here: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/03/sb-this-week-in-1172847076
all this to say, check your sources! Despite its mass mailings, the SPLC has an interest in inflating its statistics.
But the SLPC, whatever their faults, did not make these charts. Go look at their map, which is in no way as shitty as this map in terms of exaggerated, misleading, and otherwise incompetent or biased design:
@fontgoddess: Very good point re SPLC. There’s simply a number next to a state, which seems to show there are at least a few groups everywhere. They don’t divide by population. Plus, one can conveniently see the name of the groups.
It’s particularly striking to put McCain on the X axis as the independent variable, and hate group prevalence on the Y axis, as the dependent variable. You only do that if you think the causation runs that way: that McCain causes hate groups. That’s a rather bold assumption.
In this case, I’m pretty sure it’s ineptitude rather than deliberate bias. People without expertise in statistics and precise use of data visualization would not draw those specific conclusions. I think it’s worse that they put in those dark lines to show a trend, but without the lines the charts are significantly less dramatic in showing correlation and in fact make it much easier to see the inconclusiveness of any argument of meaningful correlation.
I’m also having a hard time with this “correlation analysis”. Clearly, MT and MS are way out in front in terms of hate groups per capita, but neither of those states supported McCain by a wide margin. In fact it looks like Montana supported McCain & Obama about equally.
I listen to Bill Maher’s show via podcast. And one of the things he says often is this:
“Not all Republicans are racist, but if you are a racist, you’re likely a Republican.”
As someone who cares about Data Science/Journalism these types of articles frustrate me. Im glad readers of this blog get it vs the readers/comments of the The Atlantic. To publish a story like this is irresponsible journalism.
Who does New Jersey hate? Themselves?
If you live in a sparsely populated area it would be presumably more difficult to form a group – unless the density of haters was significant in the population. One curmudgeon on a bar stool doth not a hate group make. One therefore suspects that the data for small states underestimates the actual number of haters in the state.
The argument against that is that sparsely populated states are not short on other groups, thus it’s not so hard to form a group that there aren’t many. I think low-density populations could have higher proportions of active hate groups due to cultural isolation from the rest of the country and the faster cycle of idea mutation and reinforcement that creates more distinct variation from the larger, less isolated surrounding culture. That’s why islands have distinct and novel animals and plants and why isolated cultures have some distinct and novel beliefs and practices. These aren’t all bad, they’re just noticeable. So low-density areas may have more hate groups, but they also are likely to have nifty traditions, foods, and crafts.
Wyoming, my home state, is very red on the top map in this post and high in the rankings of states by active hate group/population ratio. But the number of active hate groups in WY as listed on the source map is 5. The number of SPLC-classified active hate groups in my state is smaller than the number of churches, bars, hair salons, or 4-H clubs in my town (Laramie). There are more active hate groups than escalators in the state, so maybe we like hate more than we like gigantic moving stairs.
Wyoming’s population (563626 people according to the 2010 census) is smaller than the individual populations of the United States’ top 31 “incorporated places” [read: just cities, not even metro areas, explanation & data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population%5D. This means we are near the top or near the bottom or an extreme and bizarre outlier in a high number of lists that involve ordered lists of statistics broken down by state. We should change our nickname from “The Equality State” to “Statistically Improbable” or, more accurately but less whimsical, “The Statistical Outlier.”
I live in Montana. Maybe I’m missing something, but I haven’t seen any evidence of these hate groups running around. Guess they don’t invite me to join the hatefest.
This is the list of active hate groups in Montana from the SPLC’s website directly:
I’m pretty sure you haven’t been invited because you’re not a white supremacist. It’s why I haven’t been invited to any hate group singalongs here, I’m pretty sure.
There is a statistical test to determine if R (or maybe it is R-squared) is significant. It is based on the t-distribution. Was this test applied to the data set?
They have some of those numbers there in the article, I think. My statistical experience was not good for correlating the equations with what they were meant to mean in a way that stuck in my head more than a few hours at a time.
They seem to have a serious labeling issue in their y-axes, in that they seem to allege that Mississippi and Montana have more hate groups that residents (unless the British definition of ‘per capita’ is different than ours here in the States).
There’s pretty much no way in which these charts don’t suck. But in this case, clear labeling would help. I think their scale is “active hate groups per million people.” This is incredibly unclear and the scale is warped so that the charts are as alarming as possible. I think this is an abuse of infographics, especially when the ultimate thing the article talked about was the correlation between hate groups and long-term unemployment, but all their graphics focus on tangential or irrelevant factors.
Ive been a target of hate groups for a long time. These people are nothing short of evil. Their ideaologies are incorrect. These groups want their targets dead. You cannot make excuses for these people. Ive been a target for years and I just turned 40 so this is not new. Cell phones make them infiltrate and network more convenientely. I want to network with other targets who can relate to what these hate groups do. Please email me at:[email protected] need to stay together.
Did you read the linked article and then the things referenced there?
As important as it is to be vigilant when there are organized groups (as well as lone wolves) that target you because of some immutable aspect of your humanity, I think this article was more focused on the factors that incubate hate groups in the first place and what we might learn from correlations between hate group prevalence and those other variables. The upshot seemed to be that these groups gain ground in populations dealing with long-term unemployment. Hate group prevalence seems to be a symptom of things people haven’t always thought of as contributing factors to this issue.
Do what you need to to stay safe as an individual, and keep offering support and connection to others, but know that this issue can be dealt with more broadly and in many different ways.
Judging by heated debate that has risen from this graphic, maybe an infovis about the groups who have been included should be made.
I have sort of camped on this topic and gotten a bit ranty at times (part of it was sort of a writing exercise thing — I probably owe Nathan an apology). So a lot of the volume here is me.
That being said, an infovis and a better, more granular map are most definitely things that would better illuminate this topic.