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Feb 28th, 2009


Growing Hate Groups Blame Obama, Economy

A cross and swastika are burned at an event called Hated and Proud in Nebraska in July 2008.
A cross and swastika are burned at an event called Hated and Proud in Nebraska in July 2008. (Photo credit: Southern Poverty Law Center / CNN)

By Stephanie Chen

February 26, 2009

Don Black said he despises Barack Obama. And he said he believes illegal aliens undermine the economic fabric of the United States.

Black, a 55-year-old former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, isn’t the only person who holds such firm beliefs, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which Thursday released its annual hate group report.

The center’s report, “The Year in Hate,” found the number of hate groups grew by 54 percent since 2000. The study identified 926 hate groups — defined as groups with beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people — active in 2008. That’s a 4 percent jump, adding 38 more than the year before.

What makes this year’s report different is that hate groups have found two more things to be angry about — the nation’s first African-American president and an economy that is hemorrhaging jobs. For the past decade, Latino immigration has fueled the growth of hate groups.

“We fear these conditions will favor the growth of these groups in the future,” said Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “In the long arch of history, we are definitely moving forward, but these kinds of events can produce backlashes.”

Black claims the number of registered members and readers on his white nationalist Web site [Stormfront.org] surged to unprecedented levels in recent months.

On the day after Obama’s historic election, more than 2,000 people joined his Web site, a remarkable increase from the approximately 80 new members a day he was getting, Black said. His Web site, which was started in 1995, is one of the oldest and largest hate group sites. The site received so many hits that it crashed after election results were announced. The site boasts 110,000 registered members today, Black said. …

Hate groups cited by the law center include white nationalists as well as neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, skinheads, Klansmen and black separatists. Skinheads and Klansman saw an increase in membership, while neo-Nazi groups saw a slight decline, according to the law center’s report. …

Obama serves as a “visual aid” that is helping respark a sense of purpose in current supporters and lure new members, said neo-Nazi David Duke, the former Klan leader who was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in the 1980s. Duke said he fears “the white European-American” heritage will soon be destroyed. He added that his Web site sees around 40,000 unique visitors a day, up from 15,000 a day before Obama won the election.

Racist anger toward Obama was evident even before he became president. Two weeks before Obama won, authorities said they foiled a skinhead plot to assassinate him. The two suspects, based in Tennessee, also apparently planned to shoot and decapitate dozens of African-Americans, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said.

Police say a man in Brockton, Massachusetts, allegedly targeted minorities after President Obama’s inauguration. They say the man raped a woman, killed her sister and another man after several months of researching white supremacist groups on the Internet.

White supremacist groups have gained traction, a reversal from the decline the groups experienced since 2000, according to the law center report. One of the smaller Ku Klux Klan groups, the United Northern and Southern Knights, more than doubled its chapters, widening its geographic reach from eight to 24 states, according to the report.

The image of a black man in the White House angers white racists, who fear nonwhites gaining too much power, said Jack Glaser, associate professor of public policy at the University of California-Berkeley.

But racist fears can also be more mundane and personal: Nonwhites in the White House could lead to nonwhites in their neighborhoods, which could lead to interracial dating, a great taboo among hate groups.

“Obama poses a large cultural threat to white racists,” Glaser said. “This may explain some of the uptick in hate groups.”

Immigrants are another target of hate groups, according to the report. In a deteriorating economy, illegal immigrants have been blamed by hate groups for allegedly taking subprime loans, according to the report.

Scapegoating occurs most often in times of economic distress, according to experts studying hate crimes. From the Holocaust in Europe to abuses against Irish Catholic immigrants in the 1830s in the United States, people are most likely to lash out against others when they feel vulnerable or need to displace their economic frustrations on others, psychologists say.

In the city of Detroit, Michigan, where the weak economy has taken a particularly devastating toll, Jeff Schoep serves as the commander for the National Socialist Movement, one of the largest neo-Nazi groups in the United States.

Schoep said he has seen membership grow by 40 percent in recent months, mostly because of the dire economic circumstances. It is the “most dramatic growth” he has seen since he joined the movement in the mid-1990s. The group does not reveal membership numbers to the media, he said. …

The FBI’s uniform crime report found 7,163 hate crime incidents in 2005. However, a special report by the government that same year said the number could be 10 times higher because many of the crimes aren’t reported.

The most recent FBI statistics in 2007 saw a slight uptick in hate crimes to 7,624.

More commonly, members of hate groups engage in vandalism [rather than violent crimes] such as an incident in Los Angeles, California, this month where vandals slashed tires and sprayed the word “Nazi” on two cars and a house, according to the center. The attack occurred in a neighborhood with signs displaying support for Obama.

Dr. Alvin F. Poussaint, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who studied the issue of hate crimes, said … individuals in a hate group may sometimes transplant their own personal rage onto a particular group that has no real connection to the cause of that rage, he said. …

————————————————

Related reports on this site

Graph: Job losses in recent recessions (Source: Dept. of Labor Statistics)
Link to full-size graphic

Bachmann Conspiracy Nation (Feb. 20, 2010)

Condemning Beck and Bachmann (Nov. 19, 2009)

Bachmann Rebuked for Nazi Image (Nov. 12, 2009)

Bachmann Heads Teabaggers (Sept. 13, 2009)

Economy and Obama Volatile Mix (April 16, 2009)

Obama Racist Backlash (Nov. 16, 2008)

Recommended reading

The Killing Fields of the Deep South: The Market for Cotton and the Lynching of Blacks, 1882-1930 (by E. M. Beck & Stewart E. Tolnay, American Sociological Review, Vol. 55, August 1990: 526-539)

Note: The authors found that lynchings of blacks in the Deep South from 1882 to 1930 were more frequent in years when the price of cotton was declining and inflationary pressure was increasing. Mob violence against southern blacks responded to economic conditions affecting the financial fortunes of southern whites, especially marginal white farmers. In the current economic crisis (2008-2009), this finding has implications for racially motivated crimes involving displaced aggression by economically marginalized whites against minorities or other scapegoats for economic hardship.

Obama, Gates and Crowley: Everybody Screwed Up!


James Shott
Annuit Coeptis Political News
July 24, 2009

Excerpts

There is plenty to criticize in the strange case of the arrest of Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates at his home by Cambridge, Mass. police. …

Mr. Gates is a black man and was offended to be questioned by police about being in his own home. Many of us might have felt the same in those circumstances. But Mr. Gates had a chip on his shoulder, and began accusing the police of racism. … That was Screw-up #1.

Screw-up #2 came when police Sgt. Joseph Crowley failed to leave the scene after being satisfied that Mr. Gates was not committing a crime. … The Sergeant should know that it is not against the law for people in their own home to be less than polite to police, even rude and vulgar. …

President Barack Obama committed Screw-up #3 when responding to a question about the incident at the end of a press conference he said that the Cambridge police acted “stupidly” when they arrested someone they knew was in his own home. Why would the President of the United States comment on so insignificant an event? …

Mr. Gates owes the police an apology for being a rude and stupid, and playing the race card.

Sgt. Crowley owes Mr. Gates an apology for not having better sense than to improperly and unnecessarily escalate the situation by arresting Mr. Gates because the Sergeant was offended by Mr. Gates language.

President Obama owes the Cambridge police an apology for his ham-handed insult; and he owes the American people an apology for behaving like a dope.

Now, lets move on.

Full story





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