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Deconstructing a Hate Group

917. Nine-hundred and seventeen. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), there are currently 917 active hate groups in the U.S. with the exception of Alaska or Hawai’I. According to the FBI, a hate group’s primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, malice, and fear against persons belonging to a race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability other designated sector of society which differs from that of members of the organization. But, why?

It begins with our socialization, the way we pass things from generation to generation. Children are taught to walk, talk, identify the differences between the colors white or red and black or green. As a child is taught that white depicts goodness, righteousness, purity, intelligence, superiority to any other race or ethnicity, the mindset of a future hate group member begins.

Recruitment as in any other group is the primary way to get new members. It’s not simple for a hate group to find a prospective recruit but they do know how and where to look. It’s not as though a hate group member can approach a white kid walking down the street and ask, “Do you hate towel heads?” They do look for kids that hang out by themselves, they look at how they dress, notice any tattoos and symbols. They tend to flock towards members that love the military, police officers, and any other occupation where people have been tactically trained with access to weapons. Here’s an example. Suzee, from a small town below the Mason-Dixon Line, joins the military and this is her first time away from home. She’s seventeen years old, shy and stays to herself. One of her supervisors notices Suzee spends most of her time by herself. He tells her about an outdoor get-together and she should come to check it out. Suzee feels her supervisor would not lead her wrong so she goes. She meets many people and starts hanging out with that group. There it is, recruit, socialization, then hate group member. Now Suzee is a recruiter.

How can a hate group be identified? Hate groups tend to have symbols and number tattoos as a means of claiming their own. Unfortunately, some symbols these groups use are good symbols turned into something hateful, used to intimidate and create fear. One of the most recognized symbols is a burning cross used by the Ku Klux Klan. People have left their home leaving everything behind because of a burning cross in their yard.

Hate groups have their own ideology and some of it is taken from the Bible. Some take bits and pieces, put them together, and say their ideology is based on the Bible. Sounds credible. Other groups have also clung to Article 1 Section 3 of the Constitution of the U.S.!/articles/1/essays/6/three-fifths-clause which implies that blacks were only counted as 3/5 of a person.

Hate groups appear to have two purposes to exist. First, creating fear, malice, and hostility between their race and the race they consider inferior. Second, they are a group of like-minded people who hunt, have picnics, meetings, hang out, and much more just like any other social club or not. The difference between them, however, is their desire isn’t to fellowship because of a shared hobby — it is because of shared common hate. When groups ban together with hate at their core, extremist views, harmful actions and dangerous ideologies develop.

Hate will not go away so we must face it and do something. Before you have another unpleasant encounter with someone who doesn’t look like you contact me. Institute for Racial Equity 757.748.2590 email and website Call me now and learn more about hate groups or how to handle hate! 757.748.2590

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