“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” -Abraham Lincoln-
We are a nation divided. Republicans vs Democrats. The 1% vs the 99%, Conservatives vs Progressives. Men vs. Women. We are witnessing divisiveness unseen in America since the 1960’s and we wanted to know why.
Southern Poverty Law Center Senior Fellow, Mark Potok recently wrote in a report:
“The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.”
The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.”
The idea that the color of a man’s skin could fuel the basis for such thought in the year 2012 is not only frightening, but speaks volumes about who we are, as a nation.
Joining Vicki and Carol this week is the author of that report, Senior Fellow,
Mark Potok. Mark has kindly agreed to join us to discuss the origins of these hate groups, how the different types of hate groups are classified and where they’re concentrated. The Southern Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. Founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, the SPLC is internationally known for tracking and exposing the activities of hate groups. Their innovative Teaching Tolerance program produces and distributes – free of charge – documentary films, books, lesson plans and other materials that promote tolerance and respect in our nation’s schools. They are based in Montgomery, Ala., the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement, and have offices in Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, Fla., and Jackson, Miss.
Mark Potok is one of the country’s leading experts on the world of extremism and serves as the editor-in-chief of the SPLC’s award-winning, quarterly journal, the Intelligence Report, its Hatewatch blog, and its investigative reports. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Mark has appeared on numerous television news programs and is quoted regularly by journalists and scholars in both the United States and abroad. In addition, he has testified before the U.S. Senate, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and in other venues. Before joining the SPLC staff in 1997, Mark spent 20 years as an award-winning journalist at major newspapers, including USA Today, the Dallas Times Herald and The Miami Herald. While at USA Today, he covered the 1993 Waco siege, the rise of militias, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the trial of Timothy McVeigh. We’re honored to have him share his knowledge and insights.
Rounding out the hour, from the Center For American Progress will be Vanessa Cárdenas, Director of Progress 2050, a project of American Progress which seeks to build a progressive agenda that is more inclusive of the rich racial and ethnic makeup of our nation. Prior to this position, Vanessa served as the Center’s Director for Ethnic Media, where she helped elevate the organization’s profile among ethnic media outlets. Vanessa was profiled as one of the “100 People to Watch in the Next Century” by Washingtonian magazine and is a regular guest on CNN en Español, Telemundo, Univision, and BBC, among others and has been widely quoted in various print publications such as the U.S. News and World Report, The Washington Post, and La Opinion. She holds a B.A. in government and politics and a master’s in public administration, both from George Mason University. She is a 2010 fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute and an alum of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia and Leadership Arlington. She was born in Brooklyn, NY, grew up in Bolivia, and currently lives in Fairfax, VA.
Vanessa will be speaking with us about the racial divide in our country today and the challenges of being a non-white American.
Arm yourselves with facts. Join us… and prepare to get BROADSIDED!
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Call in 877-500-ZEUS (9387)