SPLC Finds 30% Increase in Hate Groups over Last 4 Years

For the fourth year in a row, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports that hate and domestic extremism are on the rise.

SPLC Finds 30% Increase in Hate Groups over Last 4 Years

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that tracks hate groups, reports that there has been a 30 percent increase in U.S. hate groups over the past four years and a seven percent increase in 2018 alone.

The report labeled 1,020 organizations as hate groups in 2018, the highest in the last 20 years, reports NPR.

The SPCL defines a hate group as an organization that “based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders or activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people typically for their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The group’s “hate map” shows where these hate groups are across the U.S., which you can see here.

The center also found that the majority of hate groups in the U.S. are driven by white supremacist ideology, including neo-Nazis. However, they say that black nationalist groups are also “growing their ranks.”

According to the center, black nationalist groups are often anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ and anti-white. Unlike white nationalist groups, though, they have little support in politics.

The SPLC blames President Trump, right-wing media outlets and the spread of hate on social media for the increase.

“The numbers tell a striking story — that this president is not simply a polarizing figure but a radicalizing one,” Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said in a statement.

The group has been criticized for over-emphasizing the threat of hate and wrongfully including certain individuals or groups on their lists.

For example, in 2018, SPLC President Richard Cohen made a public apology and paid $3.4 million to British activist Maajid Nawaz. The group put Nawaz on its anti-Muslim extremist list in 2016.

It has been reported that three organizations are also suing the SPLC for including them on the list of hate groups. One group, the Center for Immigration Studies, which some view as being anti-immigration, said the SPLC “attacks us simply because it disagrees with these policy views.”

“We stand by our hate group listings,” Beirich said in response. “I would suggest that people take a look at our extremist files. The Center for Immigration Studies, the group has a history of making racially inflammatory statements associating with white nationalists and circulating the work of racist writers.”

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About the Author


Katie Malafronte is Campus Safety's Web Editor. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Writing & Rhetoric. Katie has been CS's Web Editor since 2018.

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10 responses to “SPLC Finds 30% Increase in Hate Groups over Last 4 Years”

  1. There is no legal definition for “hate group,” which is why even the FBI does not, cannot, designate “hate groups,” but somehow a private fundraising company can?

    Of the 1,020 “groups” claimed by the SPLC, fully 322 of them are marked only as “statewide,” meaning that the company does not provide any corroborating information, such as a known city or town, that a journalist, researcher or donor could use to verify the claims. We just get to take the SPLC’s word for it that these “groups” are really, really there.

    That’s not good enough and it certainly isn’t good journalism. Big claims demand big proof, or any proof, for that matter.

    While the company claims that “hate groups rose by 30% over the past four years,” (they being the sole arbiters of that highly lucrative label), the number of homeless “statewide” phantoms has increased by 84% over the same period, “surging” from 199 to 300 in 2017 alone.

    SPLC “hate group” numbers are for fundraising, not fact-finding.

  2. Larry says:

    Great point Richard. It is also a known fact that SPLC is a very Left-biased organization. They use these unproven stats to drive a narrative and, as you mention, raise funds. SPLC has unfortunately chosen to become a partial “non-profit” organization that makes claims that support the opinions held by their donors.

    It would be nice if Campus Safety would do some real research before parroting biased headlines that may not be based on facts.

  3. Robin Hattersley-Gray says:

    The FBI has also noted a rise in hate crimes three years in a row. According to a Nov. 2018 report, they rose 17% in 2017 compared to the previous year: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/us/hate-crimes-fbi-2017.html

  4. Richard Johnson says:

    The article is right on extremism on the rise; just look for a Trump sticker or MAGA hat and you’ll usually find a socialist attacking the owner.

  5. Gene Harris says:

    The SPLC is a hate group, they hate anyone who is not willing to swallow their agenda whole. Why are you quoting their material?

  6. Luke M. says:

    I won’t deny that there is hate in this country (the media has a large role to play in that). However, there is one type of group that I didn’t see listed for the entire U.S. What about radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood or CAIR? There are tons of others that have been have been or are being investigated for promoting anti-American rhetoric. All I am saying is that if you are going to do your research, don’t leave anyone out.

  7. Leon Phillips says:

    I am sorry but Campus Safety has no business giving credibility to the SPLC by quoting their agenda driven rhetoric. This does nothing but damage CS’s own credibility by suggesting it either does not recognize the SPLC agenda or is aligned with it.

  8. Mike says:

    Campus Safety magazine using SPLC data? SPLC??? What the hell is going on with Campus Safety magazine? I keep seeing more and more leftist propaganda from this publication. Enough to make me question the intentions and integrity of your leadership… and my being affiliated as a subscriber. You folks need to rethink the way your doing things before you see kickback from your subscribers. Smh.

  9. David says:

    Sorry Campus Safety. The fact that you give credit to this hate group calling themselves SPLC tells me you too are bought out by a left wing agenda. I’ll be getting my information from credible sources elsewhere from now on.

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