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Hate groups are a real threat

March 03, 2007

Re "The Klan is not rising again," Opinion, Feb. 27

David J. Garrow's article, although possibly accurate regarding the actual Ku Klux Klan organization, is misleading. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has collected statistics on skinhead and similar hate groups for years, the number of such groups is very much on the rise. Whether or not they call themselves the KKK is irrelevant to the reality of the growth of hate groups in American society, particularly groups promoting hatred against Latinos.

A biographer of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. ought to know better, in the light of the current anti-immigrant climate.




Garrow misses the point when he criticizes the Anti-Defamation League's recent report on the Ku Klux Klan. The report did not claim that the Klan had regained the level of violence it exhibited during Reconstruction or its size in the 1920s. Rather, the report highlighted a recent trend: an increased level of Klan activity stemming mainly from an attempt to exploit anti-immigration sentiment.

Garrow criticizes the ADL report for mentioning the Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a group he depicts as small and insignificant. The Empire Knights is a new, rapidly expanding group that has been active in holding anti-immigration rallies. Other new Klan groups have formed, and a number of existing groups have increased in size or activity levels. It is this trend that the ADL regards as troubling, more than the actual numbers.

The increase in anti-immigration sentiment is clearly giving new energy to white supremacist groups that hope to exploit such sentiments.



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