News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 9 to 10 a.m.

Hate groups are on the rise in California




Still image of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map, which illustrates the name and location of hundreds of hate groups across the United States.
Still image of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Map, which illustrates the name and location of hundreds of hate groups across the United States.

Listen to story

06:30
Download this story 15.0MB

According to a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups in the country has risen by 4 percent compared to last year. In its annual Hate and Extremism Report, the SPLC, the nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights, counted 954 groups nationally, with a large portion from California.

The reason, the SPLC says, is the increase of racially charged political rhetoric and organized reaction to that rhetoric from other groups. Ryan Lenz is a senior investigative reporter with the Southern Poverty Law Center, and he joined the show to talk about the rise of hate groups in California. 

The Hate Map -- explained

The Hate Map is an annual effort by the SPLC to locate and identify those organizations and the chapters of those organizations that profess demonizing rhetoric and extremism and hate across the county. And ultimately to find out where organized hate is most concentrated and most organized. 

How California's hate groups compare with other states

There are 75 hate groups in California. If you look at the map nationally, California has more hate groups than any other state, but adjusted per capita, that's just not true. Other states have more hate groups based on their populations, but California has always been a hotbed of hate and extremism ... Hate groups tend to congregate on the coasts and in the South ... States like California and New York tend to have more demographic diversity, and it is in those locations that hate groups tend to pop up most, because when presented with diversity, that hate makes a more  profound appearance ... 

What officials, law enforcement and the general public can do to combat the rise in hate

There's a lot of things ... in the public sphere, police departments need to understand that this speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, but these are ideas that routinely and consistently lead to violence. On a community level it is important to make these racists know where your community sits with relationship to these ideas, you know, speak ... speak just as loudly as they do and the message will resonate ...