Seyram A. Butame

You see the Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys/ They ain't gonna fight no wars.

Hate groups in America

An attempt at visualizing hate groups in America with data from the SPLC.

Hate and bigotry are probably difficult to quantify, or I imagine it to be so. Outside of some very broad definitions, the philosophies of some of the groups I know of from pop culture begin to feel slippery when scrutiny. Additionally, it would seem as though hate groups, particularly those that are open to the point of advocating for genocide and/or strict segregation, are things of the past. Not because the ideas no longer exist, but because they are unpopular positions, politically speaking. Therefore, groups that espouse these beliefs are often hidden. However, much brighter people spend time grappling with such issues defining belief systems, ideologies, and identifying groups.

Perhaps it is because I was young, but growing up, I had always felt groups that were explicitly racist and fomented ideologies of hate were on the decline. Yet, from Obama through Trump’s presidency, certain groups and ideologies have seen a resurgence. Perhaps it is pushback at the notion of black people finally cracking the most powerful office; or because the next president openly expressed racist views. Or maybe it is pushback against a younger generation that is more cognizant of our diversity. Better yet, it could be a confluence of several factors. Whatever the case, hate groups appear to have become part of the political and pop-culture discourse in a manner I have not witnessed before. Top in my mind is the racist birther movement that Trump rode to the Office of the President. There was the toxic and vitriol-filled gamer-gate brouhaha. Oh, there was the march of racists through American cities. There have been anti-Semitic and anti-Asian attacks, And who can forget the January sixth half-hearted coup attempt?

Anyway, I found a great dataset compiled by the folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), taken from their Hate Map. I have been experimenting with creating data visualizations of late, and I thought I would try my hands at building a basic dashboard. The dashboard allows you to look at the fluctuations in documented hate groups over the past 20 years, what states and cities they operate in, and their respective ideologies. I also pulled some definitions and contextual information the groups provide additional information.

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