Paul R. Lehman, The Southern Poverty Law Center and Labels that support hate and extremist groups

April 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Posted in American Bigotry | 2 Comments
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For decades the Southern Poverty Law Center and its publication Intelligence Report have been very valuable instruments for identifying and combating hate and extremist groups in America. They should be applauded as well as supported for their efforts, and encouraged to continue providing information and assistance to victims of these groups. Recently, while reading an article in the Spring 2010 issue of the Intelligent Report, something stood out to me that had been ignored before. One article that introduced a new member of American Third Position (ATP), Kevin MacDonald, read like an entry from Who’s Who in America. The tone of the article was discomforting in that MacDonald was never pictured as the bias person he apparently is. He should be very pleased with the attention and treatment he received from the article. Changes should be made by the SPLC is their use of labels.

                When bigots are referred to as racist, they feel justified and satisfied that their illusions of races are verified by publications such as the Intelligence Report. The label of racist is gratifying to hate groups because its use directed towards them supports their idea of who they are—members of a race different from other races. Groups and individuals who embrace hate philosophy should not be given the privilege of being referred as racist, but bigots, or ethnic bigots. By dropping the term racist, these hate groups are denied the privilege of seeing themselves as members of a special race.

                After reading about themselves in publications like Intelligence Report, individuals and groups identified in the articles can and probably do use them as publicity to help recruit more members. The individuals and groups need to know that there is no white race or black race, red race, brown race or and other race beside the human race. Their belief systems are endorsed and promoted by referring to them as white, black and/or racist because that is how they define themselves. By publications also using the same labels, the individuals and groups never have to defend themselves from being considered as bigot, European Americans, and African Americans. When the majority of Americans accept the fact that people all over the world are human beings with no biological differences that would make one ethnic group superior or inferior to another, the games of so-called racist and white/black supremacist will no longer carry value. Certainly the actions and activities will continue, at least for some time, but when the basis for their beliefs are gone, they will have nothing to stand on but their illusions of being special and privileged because of their misguided ideas of race.

                When the publications relate the actions of bigoted individuals and hate groups using the same labels as they use to identify themselves, then the publications are in effect giving aid and comfort to them. If these individuals and groups are not challenged, they simply continue to embrace their misguided information. Let us look at one example of how the labels support the bigots.

                In speaking of MacDonald and the ATP, the writer of the article identified William D. Johnson as party chairman and adds that he “is [a] hard-line racist…a Los Angeles-based lawyer and white supremacists who has advocated deporting non-whites from the U.S. for at least a quarter century.” In this quotation one wonders just what is a “hard-line racist” and who are “non-whites”? When bigots are allowed to play the hatred game using their rules, they believe they win. Responsible publications should not cater to the hate groups and biased individuals by supporting their views. Informed readers should not continue to be subjected to the lunacy of these people who are out of touch with the changes in society. We certainly want to know who they are and what they are up to, but not at the expense of giving them aid and comfort. Please consider changing the labels of racist, white and black to more accurate terms. All so-called racist are ill-informed about race; all whites are not European Americans, and all blacks are not African Americans. When these terms are used with regularity, the assumptions is made that they represent everyone and anyone who can be associated with the terms. If bigots, hate, and extremists groups want to continue to receive press, let them earn it by being identified with accuracy.

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  1. Awesome. The change you are suggesting is a hard shift from a paradigm that is deeply ingrained in the American culture. It will be extremely difficult. It is so deeply ingrained it feels awkward saying European American rather than white and it requires a conscious effort. Though difficult, I certainly agree this is a shift that must take place if we are sincere about resolving this problem. Keep on pushing!

    • You are certainly correct about the change being difficult, but change never is easy when the status quo has been so long the norm.


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