The illustration used to show Klan activity in NJ is some paint on a sign in 2008, before Obama was elected the first time.
The work of the American media is more or less outsourced to the Southern Poverty Law Center
, as contemporary "journalism" consists of finding people with unapproved opinions and whining about it until they lose their job. And one of the ways this is done is by journalists reprinting the SPLC's press releases and calling them articles. (This seems to be a huge part of Salon's
content, for example.) The problem is that when you start trying to confirm the SPLC's work with other sources, the Narrative gets all screwed up.
So for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies 40 "hate groups" in New Jersey, leading to an article (featuring an Obama campaign sign defaced with "KKK") about how the Garden State "takes a backseat only to California, Florida, and New York on the list of bigotry and intolerance" [New Jersey has fourth highest number of hate groups in the country, says Southern Poverty Law Center,
by Jason Laday [Email Him
], South Jersey Times,
March 23, 2015]
The problem is that many of these groups are either exaggerated or simply don't exist. And while this is buried deep within the story, even the Anti-Defamation League is calling out the SPLC.
According to Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at that Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the SPLC has a habit of counting single individuals as groups or chapters, which can give a skewed impression of hate groups in any given state.As an example, he noted that the American Front racist skinhead group largely fell apart in 2012 and 2013, after its leaders were arrested in Florida. Since then, its presence in New Jersey and other places has been virtually nonexistent, he said."The Southern Poverty Law Center's list is wildly inflated," said Pitcavage. "They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it's just a couple of individuals."There definitely are white supremacists in New Jersey, but it's overstated by the SPLC's list," he later added. "Most skinheads don't belong to any group — they're just part of the scene."
One group the ADL and SPLC does say is increasing are "racist prison gangs." Of course, prisons are the most heavily segregated areas on the planet — and whites are specifically targeted for violence and truly nightmarish sexual abuse
. It's not surprising that whites in prison organize if only for self-defense. White "Neo-Nazi" prison gangs are also not noted for their political orientation - like most gangs, insofar as they function outside prison, it is to make money and deal drugs, especially, as the article admits, with the "meth trade."
So what does the SPLC "hate map" actually tell you?
Aside from the "skinheads," here are the groups in NJ.Ku Klux Klan
- Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan — Trenton.
(Yes, we all know how the KKK holds central New Jersey in terror.)Neo-Nazi
- Aryan Nations — Midland Park and North Bergen.
- National Socialist Movement — Bayonne, Clifton, Holland, Newark and Pemberton Township.
(Of all the problems the cities of Newark faces, a surplus of "Nazis" isn't high on the list.)White nationalist
- Advanced White Society — Pemberton Township.
(Never heard of this group, but according to their activism report
, its activities consist largely of handing out literature, especially at Starbucks. Isn't that what the Starbucks corporate office wanted anyway
, a conversation on race?)Black separatist
- The Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ — Asbury Park, Camden, Jersey City and Vineland.
- Nation of Islam — Camden, Newark, Plainfield and Willingboro.
(The former are those guys you see screaming on street corners in New York and other cities. The latter of course, are actually a group with some power and influence, the only one here. And obviously, they aren't white.)Racist music
- Micetrap Distribution, a record label based in Maple Shade.
(Unapproved patches and CD but not exactly a street gang.)
Not very impressive. I don't want to upset the SPLC's fundraising scheme, but it doesn't seem like the swastika flag is going to be flying over the Boardwalk anytime soon.
Check out the SPLC's map for yourself. You might find that you have a "hate group" in your own town or more than one. And chances are, you've probably never heard of them.