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The Hate-Crimes Hoodwink

For at least two years I have been suspicious of the so-called "hate-crimes" movement. I immediately recognized it as an effort, again, by interest groups outside of the Black community, to benefit from the suffering and massive voting power of the Black Electorate. In effect, I saw it as the latest effort by groups inside of the Democratic Party, smaller in size than the Black community, to use Black votes to back legislation that would disproportionately benefit these other groups. Still deeper, I recognized an even more sinister attempt by some who were pushing for the legislation to use it against Black groups that they did not like or could not control.

Once I saw that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was involved in supporting some of the hate-crimes legislation, I immediately saw that they would one day attempt to use such laws to not just stop errant individuals but to link the activities of these individuals to entire organizations and the leadership of such groups that they do not like. Immediately, I realized that the ADL would one day hope to link any "anti-Semitic" act performed by a Black individual against a Jewish person to the Nation of Islam, in an attempt to outlaw the entire organization or to imprison its leadership.

The ADL has already been successful in getting HUD to cancel contracts that the Nation of Islam had for providing security in housing projects in black neighborhoods.

I began to see this long-term goal take shape when I learned in 1998 that with heavy lobbying from the ADL, the influential Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and its founder Morris Dees had for the first time in decades declared the Nation of Islam a "hate-group". This was a major development as the SPLC had traditionally targeted real hate groups that had for years physically attacked Blacks. The decision to include the NOI on the list was met with skepticism and suspicion by some Black groups but Dees, after admitting it wasn't an easy decision and that he was not fully informed of the NOI's track record, decided to maintain the "hate-group" designation.

The SPLC is the opinion leader in this country on defining what "hate" and "intolerance" mean and who "hate groups" are. They then spy on these organizations and develop dossiers on these groups and share their information with law enforcement agencies.

The SPLC also helps the families of victims of hate-crimes to sue organizations for the acts perpetuated by individual members of those organizations. In 1987, Dees secured a $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of the mother of a Black male who was lynched. The organization uses incidents and successes like this to raise funds and reportedly has $120 million today.

Interestingly, although 95% of all hate-crimes are performed by lone individuals without any connection to "hate groups" or organizations, SPLC targets organizations and their leadership. Many question the evidence often used to "link" individuals to certain organizations. Such links between individuals and organizations would naturally serve the interests of groups like the ADL who don't care anything about individual behavior but who want the entire organization and its leadership silenced, shut down or jailed.

And that is the long-term goal of hate-crimes legislation for many who have joined the hate-crimes coalition: to one day use the activities of individuals with the slightest connection to any organization to sue, defame, bring down or outlaw the whole group.

Don't be deceived, not everyone's goal in the hate-crimes coalition is stiffer sentencing.

So the hate-crimes hoodwink is two-pronged. It uses Black votes to get legislation to cover other "minority" groups that are not Black from crimes and it one day will be used to sue and imprison members of organizations that are deemed to be "hate-groups" as well as to further justify civil lawsuits against entire organizations that are linked to the activities of "lone-ranger" members.

And with groups like the SPLC, lobbied by the ADL and spying on organizations that it deems are "hate-groups"; then sharing its findings with law-enforcement agencies like the FBI, one can begin to see a public-private partnership that works against the interests of the Black community.

And once the FBI is involved, in light of their history, how can any Black organization feel safe?

While the ADL aims the legislation at the NOI it won't stop there.

In the early 1990s the ADL was caught spying on civil rights organizations in the Bay area.

How can the NAACP ignore that as it continues to do the bidding of the ADL on hate-crimes and other issues?

So, the NAACP which received $7 million from one anonymous donor to fund much of its Get-out-The Vote campaign which now is running commercials promoting hate-crimes legislation had better think long and hard about what it is being used to do.

If hate-crimes legislation had been around in the 1950s and 60s one wonders how quickly it would have been used to stop organizations like the NAACP, SNCC, SCLC, the Black Panthers, and the Nation Of Islam.

Yesterday, syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington wrote an article about how the NAACP and some Blacks are being used on the hate-crimes issue just to win an election.

Her angle is different from what I have outlined above but worthy of deep consideration because it points out how Blacks are used by everyone outside of the community to serve their interests while more pressing issues that affect Blacks are not being brought up.

When will the hoodwinking end?

Cedric Muhammad

Tuesday, October 31, 2000

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The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

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