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Hate by the Numbers: The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map Counts U.S. hate groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate crimes nationally. Every year, the nonprofit publishes its Hate Map, a map of the United States that counts the number of active hate groups. The online map key alphabetizes hate groups, and each group is represented by a minuscule circle with a symbol and color. 

The circle concentrations vary by region. For example, the Ku Klux Klan circle is grey with a triangular white hood in the center, and the symbol overlaps itself in parts of Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and North Carolina. The online map features a drop down menu that can be used to breakdown and separate the types of groups and number of groups by state. 

A total of 11 groups are listed in Oregon, which includes statewide chapters of the Black Separatists, Neo-Nazi, Racist Skinhead and White Nationalist.

Anti-LGBT, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Muslim, Christian Identity, General Hate, Holocaust Denial, Neo-Confederate, Racist Music and Radical Traditional Catholicism construct the remainder of the symbols on the map key. Overall, the SPLC documented 917 hate groups in U.S. in 2016.

Last year, there was a notable rise in anti-Islamic groups, which surged from 34 in 2015 to 151 — a 197 percent increase.

Ryan Lenz, a senior writer for the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and editor of its Hatewatch blog tells EW, “Since 9/11, the sentiment of targeting Muslims has been ever-present in the United States to varying levels of intensity.”

“In the last two years or so, as the national political discussion surrounding the presidential campaign turned heavily on various conservatives who were attacking Muslims as being secret agents, or trying to undermine the constitution or trying to infiltrate the federal government—there’s a number of complaints and conspiracy theories they have,” Lenz says.

Since 1999, hate group numbers have dipped and increased ranging from 497 in 1999 to 1,018 in 2011, according to SPLC data.

Lenz says, “We’ve seen over a thousand incidents of hateful harassment and intimidation reported to us and other news media outlets in the aftermath of the election.”

SPLC has reached out to President Trump asking him to “distance himself from this movement repeatedly, and he’s sort of waffled on that.”

Lenz says it’s hard to say what is going to happen over the next four years.

“This is a movement that has at its core rhetoric that leads to or inspires violence. We know that we’ve documented that repeatedly,” he says.

“Previous periods of time that have seen [a] similar rise in rhetoric and similar increases in energy across the radical right — periods that have ended or culminated in historic acts of violence like Oklahoma City have resulted in federal crackdowns on these ideologies that lead to violence.”

Eugene Weeklyasked Lenz what he thinks people can people can do to push back against the up rise in hate incidents. “Every journalist I talk to asks that question,” he says. Lenz often receives text messages from friends asking the same question.

“That’s a hard question to answer because at its fundamental core you’re asking how can we stop racism?” he says.

“I think it is important for those who believe in humanity, for those who believe in harmony of human kind, to speak out and make their minds clear because the political direction of this country right now is not in line with that, and it’s important to make sure that your voice does not get drown out by what is a global way of a populist nationalism.”