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Did the SPLC Remove 'Black Separatists' From Its 'Hate Group' List?

The Southern Poverty Law Center's 2020 "hate map." SPLC website screenshot.

On Tuesday, FrontPage Mag’s Daniel Greenfield claimed that the far-left smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had stopped monitoring “black hate groups” in pursuit of “equity.” I consider Greenfield and FrontPage Mag to be allies in the cause of holding the SPLC accountable for its false attacks on conservative and Christian organizations, but I have to disagree with Greenfield’s characterization of the SPLC’s move.

Greenfield’s story, “Southern Poverty Law Center Stops Monitoring Black Hate Groups Because of ‘Equity,‘” appears to take an SPLC virtue-signaling move at face value. His article tagline — “Giving racists a pass in the name of anti-racism.” — is clever, but also arguably misleading.

“In the name of equity, the SPLC announced that it’s shutting down its black nationalist hate groups category like the Nation of Islam. After ‘doing the internal work of anti-racism’, the SPLC will no longer list black racist hate groups because ‘the hate is not equal’,” Greenfield wrote.

Greenfield rightly noted that Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) had pressured the FBI to stop monitoring black nationalist hate groups before members of Black Hebrew Israelite groups carried out deadly anti-Semitic attacks. He also noted that the SPLC’s statement “repeatedly attacks the FBI and claims that these groups are actually the victims of law enforcement.”

Indeed, the SPLC did announce that it would retire its “black separatist hate group” label, but the organization kept organizations like the Nation of Islam on the “hate group” list, categorizing them as “general hate groups,” in the same category as the Proud Boys.

It would truly be outrageous if the SPLC dropped not only the “black separatist” label but also the notorious organizations that claim black people are the true Israelites. Some of these organizations have incited violence against Jews and others.

Yet the SPLC did not let the “black separatist” groups off the hook, it merely recategorized them. It is outrageous that the SPLC would refuse to call a spade a spade, but that can hardly be news. The SPLC routinely brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations “hate groups,” including them on the list with the Ku Klux Klan.

The SPLC touted its decision to remove the “black separatist” category as a step toward racial justice, but it merely amounts to empty virtue signaling. It is neither a step toward combatting racism (as the SPLC claims) nor a decision to “stop monitoring” groups like the Nation of Islam (as Greenfield claimed).

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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