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Report: California Hate Groups On The Rise

Screen shot of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map.
Screen shot of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map.
Report: California Hate Groups On The Rise
Report: California Hate Groups On The Rise GUEST: Ryan Lenz, senior writer, Southern Poverty Law Center

This is trying to. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Which is the in the U.S. has a most racist anti-immigrant hate groups? It may surprise you to learn that California has the most. More than half of those hate groups are located in the area between San Diego and Los Angeles. Some of the organizations designated as hate groups take issue with that term. Joining me as Ryan Lenz . Your report is a nationwide listing of hate groups. Overall, what are the numbers and how they increased? Last year in 2016 we counted 917 hate groups that is a slight increase from the previous year and some of the notable takeaways are that anti-Muslim groups increased by 37%. That is notable because we've tied that directly to the campaign environment during the presidential campaign during which President Donald Trump's campaign strategy was to ultimately blow a dog whistle to a number of ideologies across the far right. The center lists 79 he groups in California. Could you give us the names of some of the organizations that are listed? California is home to 79 he groups groups like the Golden State skinheads, it really goes on and on. There is Ku Klux Klan organizations and there are a good number of anti-immigrant organizations as well. What constitutes a hate group according to your criteria? It is essentially an organization that seeks to rob a group of citizens of their constitutional protections. Basically the attack and vilify a group of people for characteristics they have. Their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. We include groups that focus on real-world activities as opposed to sitting and posting things from there parents basement online. Is it necessary for group 2 done anything offensive or illegal to get on this list or is it just ideology? These are groups that work in the real world to ensure that these ideologies spread. Sometimes it is gathering organization in public spaces. We also have started listing websites. Some of the hate groups on your list nationwide have committed some serious offenses. What kinds of things have they done? Some groups -- it is interesting because there is a constant debate about these hate groups whether they are dangerous or not. Most of what they say is protected under the First Amendment. You can pretty much say and believe anything you want in this country. We found repeatedly that this rhetoric and the ideologies that fueled this rhetoric leads to violence time and time again. As an example we release at the beginning of 2015 report called the age of the wolf and what we found was that over a five-year period from 2009 to the end of 2014 there was an attack either carried out and driven by an ideology every 34 days. As a primary example of the violence that these groups leads to Dylan roof who killed nine in South Carolina he was inspired by the website of the Council of conservative citizens. He had been posting story after story after story of what they claimed was a rash of black on white crime. In the minds of people who are infected by racist or extremist ideologies they see this as a rallying cry and a call for a response. Dylan roof provided that. This list compiled by the poverty La Center finds about 40 hate groups between San Diego and Los Angeles. Do you have any idea why that concentration would be there? What we found is that he groups tend to grow in places that are margin population and also our home to greater diversity. Where you see that which you fear and what you come to hate. Time and time again hate groups that exist in states that have largely white populations are minimal or small part of the groups that are most active anti-immigrant groups in the Senegal corridor they see that which they hate every day. And Sunday will County alone the number of hate groups listed has gone down from last year. B that is correct. So every year there's fluctuation to these groups. There's a number of factors for that. There's inciting within the groups themselves and some groups are swallowed up by messaging campaigns. It changes from day to day and year to year. What we see is that the hay group count last year is reflective of an environment in which hate is being legitimized. The policies and promises coming from the White House in many ways are messages that racists want to hear. The idea of a wall on the southern border. Who feel that the United States should maintain its majority white population these are things that are viewed as answers to prayers. There are groups listed as hate groups by the La Center that take issue with that. There's a group called Californians for population stabilization. It says that all it's about is a national approach of the environment not about hate or racism. Why is that on the list? It is a group that started in 1986. What they said they intended to do was preserve California's future through human stabilization. The group has a lot of anti-immigrant groups have ties to organizations like the foundation for American immigration Reform and these are groups that ultimately traffic ideas in the superiority of white people and so they sometimes gloss it or they cover it over with this idea that they are really concerned about the environment and stabilizing the environment through human population control. When you get down to it the core of the message is not about human population control, it's about making sure that immigrants or non-European immigrants don't come into the country. I think many Californians will be disturbed as seeing this very blue and rather liberal state as the home to so many hate groups. What is the best way to counter the influence of the groups? I think the best way to influence is to make sure it is clear what they are after or their intentions are. Hate groups seek to legitimize themselves by coming into the mainstream of conservative thought. So what they're about. We seek to make sure the public knows what the groups are truly about. I've been speaking with Ryan Lenz , senior writer, Southern Poverty Law Center. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

A new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremism in the U.S., says the number of hate groups nationwide rose for the second straight year in 2016 while the number of hate groups in San Diego County is at a five-year low.

Nationally, anti-Muslim groups nearly tripled from the previous year, according to the non-profit's annual census of hate groups.

California is home to the largest number of hate groups. The center documented 79 hate groups in the state last year, an increase from 68 in 2015. Most of the groups are concentrated in Southern California.

The eight hate groups identified in San Diego County include:

–Christian Anti-Defamation Commission in Vista (general hate).

–Ruth Institute in San Marcos (anti LGBT).

–The Realist Report in Poway (Holocaust denial).

–Sicarii 1715 in Lemon Grove (black separatist).

–Nation of Islam in San Diego (black separatist).

–Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge in San Diego (black separatist).

–As-Sabiqun in San Diego (general hate).

–Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust in San Diego (Holocaust denial).

The center defines hate groups and those that “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center's findings, which are published in the latest issue of it's Intelligence Report, attribute the rise of hate groups in part to the candidacy of Donald Trump.

Ryan Lenz, senior writer with the center, talks about the rise of hate groups Thursday on Midday Edition.