The state of hate in Minnesota

Many of us probably wouldn’t realize it, but racial and religious hate groups are still alive across Minnesota.

Racist skinhead and neo-Nazi groups have a statewide presence, and they’re just two of 10 active hate groups in the state.

That’s according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s latest Hate Map.

After this weekend’s deadly clashes at a rally for white supremacists and white nationalists, it seems only proper that we take a look at hate in Minnesota.

Per the SPLC, Minneapolis has a Ku Klux Klan chapter, two black separatist groups and an anti-Muslim group, ACT for America.

Step out into the suburbs and there’s a radical, anti-Semitic Catholic organization called The Remnant, based in Forest Lake.

In Plymouth, there’s a “hate music” company called Behold Barbarity Records. The record company recently made headlines on the prominent metal blog Invisible Oranges for selling a Nazi T-shirt including German text that translated to “the Jews are our misfortune.” (The shirt isn’t listed on the label’s online store anymore.)

Here’s the SPLC’s statement for how it defines hate groups:

”All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics. The SPLC list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

The number of hate groups across the U.S. is increasing, the SPLC says. Their current count is at 917 active groups.

There was a dip during Barack Obama’s presidency as hate groups moved online and underground, according to the SPLC. But in the past two years, the nonprofit says, “in part due to a presidential campaign that flirted heavily with extremist ideas, the hate group count has risen again.”

The SPLC has been criticized in recent years for its massive endowment of over $200 million and its leaders’ $330,000-plus salaries.

Some say it’s become a partisan shill for progressive causes, rather than the publicly minded civil rights organization it started as in 1971. The Hate Map, critics say, sometimes is fast and loose with how it defines hate groups.

But one reason for that could be a lack of agreement on what “hate” is. Journalists struggle to aptly describe racism and hatred, and apparently academics do, too.

“I do think there is a desperate need for more objective research on hate crimes and domestic extremism—especially now,” terrorism researcher J.M. Berger told Politico Magazine for a piece on the SPLC.

One possible solution: Dig into the Hate Map and research these groups for yourself.

And if you see something hateful, tell us about it. MPR News has joined Documenting Hate, a crowd-sourced project led by investigative journalism outlet ProPublica.

  • Al

    Is it better for hate groups to be underground (and the rest of us “feel” safer) or is it better for them to be out in the open and we feel more fear? Discuss.

    • Somewhere in between, I suspect. A lot of people don’t seem to recall that just a minute prior to the time planes hit the World Trade Center, white supremacist groups were considered to be the biggest terrorist threat to the United States. Media was covering it and there was a sense of urgency to recognize it.

      But then the “war on terror came along” and politicians and officials got distracted by other threats, which helped the existing to grow out of sight.

      There wasn’t a lot of marching and outward protests back then, and yet the threat was still apparent and reported. The Oklahoma city bombing was still part of our recornized terrorist history back then, of course.

      Even In Minnesota, we learned that this state was the home of white supremacist music. Big story.

      I don’t know that there is such a thing as “better” in your hypothetical choice. What would be better is for the nation’s apparatus to consider it the primary threat that it is and has been.

    • Geezer44

      Better for them to crawl back under their rock. Just sayin’……

    • AL287

      I would like to think feeling safer is better as in out of sight out of mind.

      But if you know what your threats are you can protect yourself and avoid them if at all possible.

      If we don’t do something quickly to tone down the rhetoric we are going to be in a civil war that will rip this country apart.

      It’s obvious that General Kelly cannot, nor can anyone else control Donald Trump and his seemingly permanent diarrhea of the mouth. He is widening the divide in the country.

      The statement he made on Monday was carefully crafted by his advisors in an attempt to salvage his presidency. That was not Donald Trump talking.

      Today was the real Donald Trump, a bigot of the highest order who can’t be told anything or even challenged.

      God help us all.

  • Gary F

    How does ANTIFA rate as a hate group?

    • RBHolb

      Because they hate fascists?

      Somewhere in between Ambien and Sominex, I should think. Sorry, that was supposed to refer to your question.

      • Gary F

        Because they act like fascists.

        • RBHolb

          I don’t think there is a single group called “antifa.” Nice try.

          • Mike

            Not a single group, perhaps, but a coalition of groups. Last fall or winter I heard a segment on “On The Media” that profiled antifa as a movement. The people interviewed were very blunt in that they don’t believe in free speech rights for groups they regard as fascist. That would make them intolerant.

          • RBHolb

            Sure, but the focus is on groups, not just a few fringe types expressing ideas.

          • Mike

            I don’t see a difference from a Constitutional perspective. The Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment very broadly, and for the better in my opinion.

            There is essentially no such thing as “hate speech” that can be banned by the government based on its content or political viewpoint. I for one do not want to give those powers to the government because they will inevitably be abused.

          • RBHolb

            Right, but for the purposes of this discussion about whom the SPLC has designated as a hate group, we’re not talking about individuals.

          • AJSmothers

            It’s pretty hard to argue with [antifa] them when you see people waving Nazi flags and wearing t-shirts with Hitler quotes on them. If you follow up with what these groups are doing online, or underneath the covers – you would be screaming along with them I think, or I hope. By the way, because so many are seeing the nazi flag, they are just going to change their symbols so they do not “appear” to promote pro Nazi too much. Some have already done so, but they really do follow it, just want everyone to think otherwise. I read some really horrifying stuff, and it included how they would like to see people skinned. Yeah, I wonder if there is a category that went beyond “hate” for some of these groups.

        • So, groups that oppose, let’s say, Westboro Church bigotry act like bigots, too?

          • Dan

            Oh, sure, because they’re not being “tolerant” — a common right-wing tactic used to defend bigots. A false equivalency, and tu quoque appeal to hypocrisy. I think, here, a bit of a miscalculation on how far that tactic can carry an argument, when not preaching to the hardcore Bannon-American choir. “But both sides are bad” kind of falls flat when one side is literally flying swastikas and running over the other side with a car.

        • Chris

          So you’re with Trump on the “many many sides” school of thought.

          • fromthesidelines21

            He’s going to need a bigger shovel if he intends to keep digging.

          • Denny Green had a better sense of knowing when to take a knee.

          • fromthesidelines21

            I’m not sure the “High Road” is available to the current President.

          • Chris

            This guy is not fit for office, but a majority of voters already knew that.

          • AJSmothers

            Yeah, the counter protesters were NOT “neo-nazis or white supremacists. The women who was killed wasn’t either.

    • Al

      I’ve never even heard of Antifa, so clearly not that high.

      • Jerry

        Really, The World had a segment on them last night. Every movement has a dark underbelly unfortunately.

        • I’m not sure I can fault anyone for being against fascism…

          • Jerry

            The cause doesn’t justify the means. We can’t be as blind as conservatives.

          • FWIW: If push comes to shove, I’m taking Jeremy Messersmith’s advice to punch a Nazi in the face.

          • Jerry

            Because you think violence will stop them, or it will just make you feel better?

            One of my greatest fears is that this will end in mob rule, and it doesn’t comfort me that it might be my mob.

          • Jerry

            A future of Brownshirts and the Red Brigade battling in the streets is not something we should welcome.

          • …or we can just roll over and let them win. It turned out pretty well for Italy and Germany just 80 years ago.

          • Kassie

            No one said that we should do that, but violence isn’t the answer, especially not punching random Nazis for the YouTube clicks. And “he was a Nazi” is not a defense in your criminal trial, but the Nazi shooting you after you punch him in the face unprovoked will use self-defense to get away with it.

          • After mulling this over I have come to the conclusion that glitter-bombing Nazis would be a better tactic…

          • Jerry

            And you think someone punching Hitler would have stopped it? They want violence. It justifies their world view while also making them somehow more sympathetic. This isn’t a movie. We start with punching, they defend themselves with guns. Where does it end?

          • Hitler could have been stopped if ANY of the European leader would have stood up to him. but they didn’t.

            /I’ve adapted the “punching” to “glitter bombing” Nazis.

          • Jerry

            Glitter bomb, mock, and humiliate Nazis all you want.

          • I freely admit that it’s a better plan than “punching” them.

            /My knee-jerk reaction was knee-jerk.

          • theoacme

            I believe Spike Jones sang similar advice…and it’s raspberry season now, isn’t it? ~giggles~

      • AJSmothers

        The Alt Right use that term as they do with BLM as a negative trigger. The antifa is not “one group” really. I noticed a guy [pro white group] on video go after a woman and he first rammed her with his flag, then he put his fists up like he was ready to duke it out with her. It was really something to watch. She just stood there at first, then when he came at her, she didn’t put up with it. It almost looked like a WWE move. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. All these guys attacked her. A read some forums of these Alt Right groups, a lot of the guys really think women should “know there place” so to speak, and some of the language, even speaking to their own “woman groupie” was really disgusting.

    • Neil

      American Nazis killed a person this weekend. I’m not sure I’d spend a ton of my personal capital worrying about the other guys.

  • Charlie Hurd

    SPLC has become just another liberal advocacy group. They tagged the National Coalition for Men as a hate group at one time. The Coalition is merely the mirror image of NOW, but advocates for the issues that men face, rather than women.

    • MAC

      I wasn’t aware that men face systematic oppression. So, you know, maybe that’s the difference.

      • RBHolb

        Did you know there are people who object to men sprawling and taking up the entire seats on buses? Oppression of the first order!

      • Charlie Hurd

        Several men’s issues in less than 7 minutes.

        • What. A. Bunch. Of. Crap.

        • JamieHX

          You really expect well-informed, reasonable people to believe any of that? I could refute just about everything in that video, but I won’t waste bandwidth or NewsCut space on it.

        • AJSmothers

          Oh, I am sorry. I didn’t read down far enough. Yes, I suppose there are those who have been in this position. But, I guess I am interested in what they do for this situation? Is there some sort of help this coalition provides for legal expenses under circumstances such as these?

          • Charlie Hurd

            NCFM really does not have much money to provide services at this time, but you could try to contact the national office with your specific issue. We’re a lot like NOW, but we don’t have much money and we try to help men, while they help women.

    • Which of the groups on the Minnesota map shouldn’t be there?

    • Then again, some of the NCM’s advocacies have been, well, not so NOW-equivalent:

      “As the Justice Department investigates 50-odd universities for shrouding
      rape accusations, we face a major progressive shift in sexual politics
      on campus. Meanwhile, the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) is toiling
      to reverse this trend by using male victimhood as a weapon against
      female accusers. Some state chapters publish headshots of women on a
      page that reads ‘false victims’—i.e. where rape reports have been
      dismissed by a college disciplinary board, or where the sheriff’s
      department isn’t buying a woman’s story.

      “… The chief (one might say only) virtue of the NCFM is the transparency of
      its anger; these manifestos make explicit a type of white male
      resentment that you can find in any town in America, though usually it
      has the decency to keep quiet.”

      • Charlie Hurd

        National Coalition for Men has been one group that has pointed out the lack of due process in campus rape investigations. There are now hundreds of lawsuits going through the courts on this issue and many are being won by the accused. I’d say that it’s a good thing to have due process to assure that the rights of all are respected.

        • X.A. Smith

          I’m sure Donald Trump is against drowning kittens, but he’s still a racist misogynist chickenhawk con artist.

          • kevins

            Well said, but add narcissistic, fat, rich seventh grader.

        • Laurie K.

          And that would be a different group – SAVE or the Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) who claim they were falsely accused of rape. SAVE has been accused of promoting misogyny by the Southern Poverty Low Center (SPLC) and called a “hate group” by campus assault activists, not by SPLC. As I am sure you know, on NewsCut, you’d better have support for anything that you try to deem a “fact”.

        • I assume you’re talking about Title IX investigations and not criminal investigations w.r.t. campus rape.

          • Charlie Hurd

            Yes, Title IX.

          • AJSmothers

            You do understand that it has taken, and is still a steep battle, even to get colleges to investigate rape allegations? There are many rapes that take place, and they do nothing about it and cover it up. So, are you against colleges actually taking rape more serious? It has been serious problem.

          • Charlie Hurd

            Yes, rape is a serious problem that should probably be handled by the real legal system and not by campus administrators, who have no skills in investigation and adjudication.

    • Laurie K.

      Really? Where is your cite for the allegation that SPLC deemed this group a “hate group”?

      • X.A. Smith

        I think that’s just what he automatically blurts out whenever the SPLC is mentioned.

        • Charlie Hurd

          I believe that SPLC did classify NCFM as a misogynist hate group at one
          time, but was challenged and removed the classification. I can’t cite
          something that has been deleted by an organization. Many publications
          still say that SPLC still does classify NCFM as a hate group, such as
          this article:

          • Terming an organization a “misogynist hate group” is some distance away, actually, from what the SPLC actually did: deemed the NCFM as an organization “promoting misogyny”.

    • AJSmothers

      What was the National Coalition for Men about? What was their mission statement? I am curious. Do you have any info?

  • Jim in RF

    The River Falls/Ellsworth/Prescott region just across the St. Croix had enormous KKK meetings with thousands of attendees in the 30’s. A fellow chronicled the history in his MA thesis:
    There’s a lot of people around here whose grandparents wore bedding, and those habits don’t just disappear in a couple of generations.

    • AJSmothers

      Even if generations skip a little, there is now a huge push for more people who believe the conspiracy theories that are being pushed by extreme online and radio networks. I have seem some reasonable people turn hysterical from listening and watching too much. It is almost like watching an addiction.

    • Dennis Zonn

      From 1924 to the present day KKK membership has dropped from 4 million to somewhere between 4,000 to 7,000. They’re a sad joke that would wither and die completely without the attention they’ve been getting.It being MN. of course hate groups like Black Panthers, Antpha, BLM and the Divest from Israel group didn’t pop-up.Hmmm.

      • Wait. There’s an official record of membership in the KKK?

        If by Antpha, you mean antifa, you know that’s not an organization, right?

  • Exactly.

    Anarchists ≠ Antifa

    • mnboy67

      Careful, his robe is showing…

    • AJSmothers

      OH. There it is. He said “us”.

    • AJSmothers

      From a Reddit Alt Right post “Charlottesville was a wake-up call for the institutions of power. They saw we were a legitimate and rising threat to the status quo. They are taking it very seriously now, and waging all out war”

    • crystals

      Maggie Haberman of the NY Times just went through the recording and is now saying he said “’em” (not “us”). This might be the only thing he didn’t mess up in the entire press conference, if true.

    • theoacme

      Maybe Trump should have served with Bob Dole in Italy…either Trump would have become a better person for it (and never have been so spitefully hateful), or Dole could have shown Trump the way to go now:

      “If there is anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we’re not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln and the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.”

  • AJSmothers

    I have been watching some of these forums of the Alt Right, which is really code for “White Supremacists/Nazis” They are thrilled with Trump’s statements. It is disturbing.

  • Rob

    Drumpf’s press conference just confirmed that haters in Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. have just what they wanted, per a Washington Post headline: “An Alt-right President in the White Nationalist House.”

  • Khatti

    Sigh. All right, let’s see how fanatical you are: I belong to a couple of Germanic Neopagan websites. Hands up everyone who thinks I just said I’m a Nazi?

    • It would be easier if you just tell us if you think there were “good people” protesting with those carrying Nazi flags and shouting Nazi slogans.

      • Khatti

        Who said I had to make this easy? Besides, I have a pretty good handle on what the social diseases of a Nazi are. With MPers I’m not quite sure. Where is all that outrage going? How broadly are you willing to spread it around? what are you willing to do to stop hate–really? Do to the wonders of democracy MPR listeners are likely to have a more detrimental effect on my personal life than a Nazi

    • Rob

      Depends on whether you’re an adherent of the universalist or folkish strain. Since beer seems to be a focus of both strains, good on ya if you’re a universalist Germanic neopagan.

      • Khatti

        Ahhhhh Blot!

  • I’m repeating the NewsCut rule on commenting. Share your introspective and well considered thoughts. Do not comment on the character of other thoughts. Share what you know more than what you think.

  • >>Honestly, complain elsewhere about men’s rights, please. You could answer the question Bob Collins asked earlier.<<

    I'm assuming this wasn't directed at me?

  • AJSmothers

    Here is one, very particular man who is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His name is Aaron Wayne Davis. He is an intellectual-property lawyer at the firm Patterson Thuente, who spends his spare time running a black-metal record label which pushes black metal music featuring pro White Supremacy and pro Nazi metal music. The story is on City Pages. It’s coming in from all dark corners