Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Positive trends

We all worry about the Klan and other fringe white supremacist groups. Are they doing OK? Is membership on the rise? Is this vital part of America still thriving? In recent years that answer has sadly been a definitive "no". But thankfully that trend is reversing.
According to the SPLC, there has been “a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009, growing from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009. Newsweek also notes that recent years have seen a resurgence in membership in the Ku Klux Klan:

Fear of “the other” has long fueled hate crimes, from the torture and lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan beginning in the late 1800s, to the violence of the 1950s and ’60s, to the virulent anti-immigrant groups today. In 2008 the Census Bureau announced that whites will make up only half the U.S. population in 2050. “That was a big deal,” says the SPLC’s Potok. In recent years white-power groups mushroomed and the Klan reversed declining membership.

Gee, I wonder what triggered that rise? /sarcasm Oh sure, black President and all, but who knew that statistics projections and mathematical models from the Census did some of the heavy lifting as well. I thought we were all supposed to be in a "fear the Census they're collecting information for some nefarious means" mode, not a "boy, they do have some useful tools to fuel my racism" mode.

I shouldn't give all the credit to the half of this country that elected a black and the method by which we apportion our representative government. Who can forget the role conservative media sources have played in stoking flames and portraying whites as some aggrieved minority?

Now I know some are going to jump right to the tea baggers and the tea party movement and say "Are they counting them in these figures too?" I'm guessing not. But if there's one thing we learned about them over the past few days is that they're too focused on porn and bestiality to focus too hard on the racism part. Isn't that always the way? Plus they've got that Turner Diaries style militia to build in Oklahoma, more time to spend claiming kinship with the confederacy, and they've got to dangerously co-opt the military. Busy, busy, busy.

So congratulations to America. We have responded to a historical election and continued economic problems in the way we know best: with dim-witted hysteria and by retreating into fringe racist organizations with such staggering speed that it alarms non-profits that track that sort of thing. Well done.

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