West Coast home to hate groups, says SPLC report

New media attention is being focused on hate groups in the wake of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va., and the Southern Poverty Law Center says California has more such groups than any other state. (Screen Capture, YouTube, ABC News)

California, considered by many to be the land of looney liberals has a new identity and it’s not one that will digest well in the state capital of Sacramento: It has the highest number of hate groups of any state, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

This renewed attention to hate groups in the United States comes on the heels of the violent confrontations between protesters and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia over a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Virginia was Lee’s native state.

Fox News reported Wednesday that the SPLC report puts California at the top of the 50 states, with 80 identified hate groups. This problem seems to stretch northward up the West Coast, according to the SPLC’s “Hate Map.” This map shows 917 hate groups.

Neighboring Oregon has 11 hate groups and Washington has 21 such groups. All three states are dominated by liberal Democrats in terms of politics, and not all of the hate groups appear to be extreme right wing creations. They actually cover a wide spectrum, from anti-Muslim to “black separatist” organizations.

There are “racist skinheads” and “neo-Nazis.” The KKK is among the groups, and so are “white nationalists.” Among the California groups are all of these, plus anti-LGBT, “general hate” and something called “radical traditional Catholicism.” They’ve even got a “hate music” group in the Golden State, along with some “anti-immigrant” groups.

According to the Fox News report, “Data show the western half of the U.S. has significantly fewer hate groups than the East Coast, the report says, but California — the nation’s most populous state — easily has the highest number of hate groups operating within its borders.”

True enough, according to the “Hate Map.” Virginia has 42 hate groups, many of them found in northern communities around Washington, D.C. Neighboring Maryland, another liberal state, has 18 hate groups.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all for people who think hate groups concentrate in conservative regions is that “States with the lowest numbers of hate groups lie mostly in the Midwest and West. Iowa has only four groups in operation, while Wyoming and New Mexico have two apiece and North Dakota and Vermont have one each.”

But there are plenty of hate groups in southern states from Texas to the Carolinas, and in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, according to the Hate Map. Indeed, it appears there is plenty of hate to go around.

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