Monday, March 28, 2016

RACE MATTERS - Rise of Racial Hate Groups

"As racial hate groups rise, strategies to shut them down" PBS NewsHour 3/25/2016


SUMMARY:  What motivates hate groups and domestic terrorists?  With the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist movements making a resurgence, special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks to Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center about solutions to stop the hate and encourage tolerance.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): The Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups have gained more attention in the news recently, but as special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault explains, the national undercurrent of racism may be even more pervasive.

It's part of our yearlong exploration of solutions to the problems of race in America.

These are boots that are intended so that, when you stomp on someone, the swastika will be left.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT (NewsHour):  Heidi Beirich is leader of The Intelligence Project here at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit anti-terror organization.

She shows us memorabilia revealing some Ku Klux Klan history, boots with swastikas and boots with red laces, indicating Klan members who've physically harmed someone, and other racist paraphernalia.  In 2014, there were some 784 active hate groups.  Beirich brings us up to date.

The Ku Klux Klan has declined over the years, in part due to lawsuits that you people here at the Southern Poverty Law Center have filed.  Briefly tell us about how that came about.

HEIDI BEIRICH, Southern Poverty Law Center:  We started filing lawsuits against the Klan in 1981 over a lynching of a young black man in Mobile.  That was our first anti-Klan law suit.

And we came up with this idea that we should sue these folks in civil court to bankrupt them.  That was the plan.  We have now had a series of Klan groups that we have sued, put them basically out of business, leading all the way up to very recently with the Imperial Klans of America.  Our hope is that by taking their money away, they can't function anymore.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT:  And that was successful?

HEIDI BEIRICH:  Yes.  Every single one of them has been successful.  Obviously, when these groups don't have money, that means there's less violence that they could perpetrate.  The whole idea is to not allow them to function.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT:  But at the moment, there seems to be a resurgence and what appears to be a rise in hate groups.  What explains that?

HEIDI BEIRICH:  We have seen a sustained rise in hate groups since basically 2000.  And the main thing driving this has been changing demographics in the United States.

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