How labeling my organization a hate group shuts down public debate
Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Are you now, or have you ever been, a “hate group”?
This is the question at the heart of an attempt to delegitimize and suppress views regarding immigration held by a large share of the American public.
Since 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center has methodically added mainstream organizations critical of current immigration policy to its blacklist of “hate groups,” including the Federation for American Immigration Reform, the Immigration Reform Law Institute and Californians for Population Stabilization, among others. In February, my own organization, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), got its turn.
The wickedness of the SPLC’s blacklist lies in the fact that it conflates groups that really do preach hatred, such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nation of Islam, with ones that simply do not share the SPLC’s political preferences. The obvious goal is to marginalize the organizations in this second category by bullying reporters into avoiding them, scaring away writers and researchers from working for them, and limiting invitations for them to discuss their work.
The rationale offered for CIS’s inclusion on the blacklist is implausible even for those predisposed to support blacklists...
Equating a group that has such a track record of engagement in the public policy debate with, for instance, the Holy Nation of Odin has nothing to do with warning the public of “hate.” The SPLC’s true purpose can only be to deprive the American people of points of view they need to hear to make informed and intelligent collective decisions.
Of course, political combatants call each other names all the time; I’ve succumbed myself on occasion. But the SPLC stands apart; it’s backed by a quarter-billion-dollar war chest, successful branding by SPLC co-founder and direct-marketing impresario Morris Dees, and a pose of disinterestedness and neutrality that has gained it credibility with many in the media and law enforcement.
Yet the SPLC’s protestations of neutrality are false. It is an integral part of the immigration-expansion coalition, as even the briefest look at the “Immigrant Justice” page on its website will confirm...
My goal is not to plead to be taken off the SPLC’s blacklist, but to condemn the blacklist itself and the willingness of news organizations to participate in this silencing campaign by using the blacklist label in their stories...
The Southern Poverty Law Center - A Special Report, The Social Contract, Spring, 2010
The SPLC exposed, The Social Contract