This Map Of Hate Groups In America Also Comes With A Handy Guide On How To Defeat Them

"Do something. In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators."

If you want to fight hate in America — and in your neighborhood — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) should be your first stop.

With a new interactive map built using hate group publications, law enforcement reports and news stories, the SPLC created a map that identifies the location and history behind 917 hate groups currently active in the United States. The maps include anti-Muslim groups, anti-government groups, white supremacist groups, and black separatists groups.

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"The SPLC has documented an explosive rise in the number of hate groups since the turn of the century, driven in part by anger over Latino immigration and demographic projections showing that whites will no longer hold majority status in the country by around 2040," the SPLC says on its website. "The rise accelerated in 2009, the year President Obama took office, but declined after that, in part because large numbers of extremists were moving to the web and away from on-the-ground activities."

Because of an overwhelming response to the map and data, SPLC declined to comment further when contacted by A Plus.

But the maps are a useful and eye-opening look at how widespread many hate groups have become. In Pennsylvania, a state known for its political divides — it oscillates frequently between red and blue — there are 40 active hate groups. Some are even concentrated in the greater Philadelphia region.

Hate groups operating in Pennsylvania, according to the SPLC.

Frighteningly, the SPLC points out that the number of hate groups has been increasing over the last few years. Florida has the most hate groups in the country, according to SPLC, with a total of 63. 

Since 2015 alone, there has been a 197 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate groups across the United States. But there has also been a larger trend since 1999, with hate groups rising, falling and then rising again since 2014 in numbers across the country. And while there are still far less white nationalists than you might think, the groups remain a serious threat. 

Hate groups have been on the rise.  Southern Poverty Law Center

SPLC doesn't just map out the danger, though. They also have solutions. Their comprehensive guide to beating these groups, titled 10 Ways To Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide, is an instructive read.

First, and most importantly, the guide instructs you to act. 

"Do something," it says. "In the face of hatred, apathy will be interpreted as acceptance by the perpetrators, the public and — worse — the victims. Community members must take action; if we don't, hate persists."

The SPLC guide says that hosting a community meeting, signing a petition, leading a prayer, restoring vandalism, or simply utilizing whatever your skills are to push back on hate are all worthwhile.

Second, it wants you to join forces. 

"Reach out to allies from churches, schools, clubs, and other civic groups," the guide says. "Create a diverse coalition. include children, police and the media. Gather ideas from everyone, and get everyone involved."

Growth of hate groups across America. Southern Poverty Law Center

Of course, it stands to reason that with more hate groups come more hate crime victims. So the SPLC advises you to support the victims, too. If you are a victim, report it — "in detail" — and make sure you're getting help. Speak up. Make sure you are challenging hate groups in ways that draw attention away from hate, and towards unity. 

The SPLC guide continues by imploring readers to educate yourself, create an alternative to joining a hate group, pressure your leaders, stay engaged, teach acceptance and dig deeper.

"We all grow up with prejudices," the SPLC writes. "Acknowledging them — and working through them — can be a scary and difficult process. It's also one of the most important steps toward breaking down the walls of silence that allow intolerance to grow. Luckily, we all possess the power to overcome our ignorance and fear, and to influence our children, peers, and communities."

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