NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Fewer "Hate" Groups Than Organizations Claim

May 9, 2000

Kansas author and editor Laird Wilcox has been researching so-called "anti-hate" groups for decades; he thinks they have their own dirty linen to explain. As he sees it, the groups greatly exaggerate the threat of racist groups in order to drum up contributions from liberal-leaning Americans.

  • Wilcox estimates the total of active, organized, racist extremists at little more than 10,000 -- including 5,000 to 6,000 in militias, about 3,000 members in the Ku Klux Klan and 1,500 to 2,000 in neo-Nazi groups.
  • One of Wilcox's chief targets is the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has amassed an endowment of $113 million by exaggerating the size and number of extremist groups, he charges.
  • For example, he says that in 1992 the SPLC's Klanwatch division claimed there were 346 white-supremacy groups operating in the U.S. -- while Wilcox puts the figure at about 50.

Wilcox has been joined in his criticism by other SPLC critics including former center employees who have called the organization "a joke," former black employees who have claimed they were discriminated against by the center -- and by left-wing writer Alexander Cockburn who claims the center raised millions "by frightening elderly liberals that the heirs of Adolph Hitler are about to march down Main Street."

Source: Robert Stacy McCain, "Researcher Says Hate 'Fringe' Isn't as Crowded as Claimed," Washington Times, May 9, 2000.


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