A Cartography of Consternation

The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of many organizations from which I receive mailings seeking donations. I have written modest check amounts to some of them, but never to the SPLC. Not that they aren’t trying to make the world–or a certain part of it–a better place. My budget for sending money to such organizations is not large. So, I will give the SPLC a shoutout by posting this blog entry, and hope the number of eyeballs that encounter it is anything but modest.

The latest mailing from the SPLC does a great job of getting the recipient’s attention. How so? Well it has a map of the U.S. in it. Not that I don’t already have easy access to such a map, but this one isn’t simply one that denotes the borders of the country and its 48 contiguous states. It does that, but also highlights certain parts of the country. Maybe highlight isn’t the best word to use, however, inasmuch as it has a color coded index of symbols that refer to specific states, and focal areas therein, in which various “hate groups” are organized and active. Yeah. It’s called a Hate Map.

These demarcations include the following such nefarious groups: The KKK. Neo-Nazi. White Nationalist. Racist Skinhead. Christian Identity (!). Neo-Confederate. Black Separatist. Anti Immigrant and Muslim, plus General Hate (general, eh?, as in what are you hating on, generally?). These groups total 940 spread across those 48 states, with Black Separatist the most abundant at 255. Not sure how that exceeds general hate, but let’s not pick nits here.

Does this shock or surprise–anyone? After the last four years, especially, it seems easily acceptable as likely being–if anything–an understatement of the tensions that clearly exist in the U.S. related to skin color, lifestyle or religious beliefs. On the back of this map is more information regarding these regrettable designations, all under the headline THE YEAR in Hate. That would be 2020. Ugh. What a year, huh? It has it’s own map of deplorable designations where–counter to the signs I see in front yards here and there that state Hate Has No Home Here–hate has various homes near and far.

The good news is the Hater-in-Chief is now a non-government protected civilian. How well he can protect himself from being held to account for his myriad transgressions against humanity, decency and general decorum will be revealed over time. We’ll see what unfolds, and maybe he’ll pay a very significant price. As for those 11 hate groups? Perhaps the SPLC can make a difference. But I doubt any amount of money can’t eradicate hate. Expose it and contain it, maybe.

2021 has gotten off to a very shaky start. But hope springs eternal. That’s the thing, though. Hope springs eternal because there’s always something we hope not to have to hope to overcome. Kind of a looping lamentation, no? I hope not.

Agh! See what I mean? I hope so…

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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