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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Confirmed - SPLC Exaggerated About Klan In Rhode Island

In early March I wrote how the Southern Poverty Law Center had exaggerated regarding the alleged presence of the Ku Klux Klan in Rhode Island as part of SPLC's report on a "surge" of hate groups.

Specifically, I pointed out that SPLC claimed the Ku Klux Klan was active in North Providence. Being from Rhode Island, and never having heard of any such group or any Klan activity at all, I expressed doubt about the accuracy of SPLC's accusation, The Klan In Rhode Island? SPLC Exaggerates Again.

In response to that post, several readers from Rhode Island confirmed that they too had not heard of any Klan activity. One reader even contacted SPLC for proof, but never received a response.

As far as I or anyone else was able to determine, other than a single reference to such a Klan group in North Providence on a website, and a supposed P.O. Box, there was no evidence of such group in Rhode Island, much less any public activity by such group.

The Providence Journal, which interviewed me on the subject, writes today that the police in North Providence investigated the Klan, and also could find no evidence of such a group in North Providence (emphasis mine):

According to the [SPLC] report, the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has a post office box in North Providence.

North Providence Police Capt. Paul Ricci said he investigated the Klan group a year ago, “but it didn’t lead anywhere.” The police looked for a Klansman supposedly named Cole Thornton, until they discovered Thornton was the name of the gunslinger played by John Wayne in the film, “El Dorado.”

“We’ve had no contact with the Klan,” he said.

I doubt this will move SPLC to retract its accusation about the Klan presence in Rhode Island. Indeed, as reported by the ProJo, Mark Potok of SPLC is sticking by the allegations of Klan activity in Rhode Island:
“We’ve been doing this for a very long time,” he said. “And we do it very carefully.”
As I made clear in my original post, and reiterated to the Projo, the exaggeration by SPLC is harmful in the fight against hate groups, akin to the tale of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. As quoted in the Projo today:

But critics say the report exaggerates the threat of hate groups in places like Rhode Island.

“They may do thorough research on some groups, but on others they take the easy route,” and rely on questionable sources like web sites, said William A. Jacobson, a Barrington resident and law professor at the Cornell Law School in Ithaca, N.Y.

“They say there are three hate groups in Rhode Island, but as far as I can tell, they don’t exist,” he said. “I don’t dispute there are hate groups out there. But we have no way of knowing which ones are dangerous –– and which ones are pixels on a web site.”

Striking the supposed North Providence Klan group from the SPLC list merely because it did not actually operate would mean that the number of hate groups was dropping, and that would not make for good headlines or help drum up contributions.

Related Posts:
The Klan In Rhode Island? SPLC Exaggerates Again
SPLC's Democratic Party Mission
Saturday Night Card Game (Southern Poverty Law Center)

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  1. Two students from the University of Missouri were recently arrested on suspicion of a felony hate crimes, suspended from school and the naval ROTC program they were in, and basically had their lives turned upside down.

    Sounds serious. What did they do? Lynch someone? Burn down a black church?

    Nah, they spread cotton balls on the lawn of the Black Culture Center. Bad judgment, sure, but does tossing cotton balls really rise to a hate crime?

    I wonder if this is included in the list of "hate crimes" SPLC is tracking?


  2. KKK in RI? SPLC reps must have been driving by when somebody had their wash drying, waving white and pristine in the breezes. Rhode Island politicians would never let their native, colorful, criminal activities be overshadowed in this way. Nah, a state the size of a parking lot has no room or time for these kinds of things.

  3. Technically, couldn't any individual or group of three or four nuts get together and claim they are the "Ku Klux Klan" and win a spot on SPLC's hate map?

    The boy who cried wolf, indeed. Who's going to listen to them when they stumble upon a real, dangerous underground organization?

  4. I seem to recall something I came across a few months ago about Klan activity as far north as Smithfield, Rhode Island way back in the 1950s. Yet it appears that race pimps, demagogues, charlatans and problem profiteers are perhaps amplifying occurrences from the past to reload their dwindling ammunition for the present.

  5. SPLC must be recalling the 1920s in RI when the Klan was very active in the state, particularly the rural (in those days) towns. The town in which I grew up was one such place and our Catholic church had been built from brick, it was said, to deter the Klan from burning it as they had other buildings in the town. There is ample historic proof of the Klan's activities in RI 90 years ago.

    These days I believe labor unions (and liberal groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center) pose a far greater threat to the state than the KKK. And they are "hiding" right in plain sight. This is a distraction by the Left, at best, to keep us from watching what the other hand is really doing.

  6. I spent twenty years in law enforcement much of that as a detective. I remember flipping through the magazine put out by SPLC and wondering where the black gang members were. They seemed focused only on whites and white supremacist groups. After a while I realized the SPLC was just another liberal arm of the far left and not to be trusted in their analysis or their judgment. The only reason their stuff is on the desks of PD Chiefs is because of PC.

  7. I have been reading all your links and other materials about these allegations by SPLC, including the March comments from the woman who said she phoned the Center. As a native of the state, I'm sure you're familiar with the axiom that Rhode Island is no place to have an affair, since the couple is bound to be seen by someone who knows one of them.

    I would apply that to the Klan: surely if there was an active group in the state someone, somewhere, would know and it could not possibly remain a secret for very long.

  8. "These days I believe labor unions (and liberal groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center) pose a far greater threat to the state than the KKK."

    The Klan was the "militant wing" of the Democrat party. Now they've been replaced by the SEIU and threats of race riots.