Archive for January, 2012

Teaching Tolerance… SPLC Style

January 4, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center has got to be one of the most ironic places on the planet. It’s incredible enough that not one of “the nation’s leading civil rights organization’s” top executives is a minority, and that this deplorable situation has existed for the entire 40-year history of the SPLC, so it’s probably not much of a shock to learn that the SPLC’s “educational outreach” division has been led by “whites only” for 19 of its 20-year history too.

Teaching Tolerance” created in 1991 “is dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children,” according to the current TT web site.

An earlier iteration of the TT homepage, from 1998, claims:

In 1991, Teaching Tolerance began supporting the efforts of K-12 teachers and other educators to promote respect for differences and an appreciation of diversity.

Oddly, the term “diversity” has been removed from the organization’s current mission statement all together, perhaps because there was so little diversity to be found at Teaching Tolerance.

In 1994, Dan Morse of the Montgomery Advertiser, the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, first noted the lack of black executives at the Center. He also noted that all eight staff members of Teaching Tolerance were white, as well.

The Advertiser ran a follow-up story two-years later, noting that nothing had changed in the SPLC’s Executive Suite. Teaching Tolerance does not publish the names of its staffers, so we do not know if there have been any changes in demographics since 1996, but if a review of the company’s directors is any indication, it’s still business as usual at the SPLC.

Teaching Tolerance’s first director from its inception in 1991 was Sara Bullard:

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Ms. Bullard was followed by Jim Carnes, sometime around 1997:

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Mr. Carnes was succeeded by Jennifer Holladay, who served as Director from roughly 2002-2008:

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When Ms. Holladay received a six-digit promotion in 2009, she was replaced by interim Director Lecia Brooks:

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Ms. Brooks served for about a year before becoming Director of SPLC’s Civil Rights Memorial Center, a position that does not appear among the six-digit salaries of the SPLC’s top executives.

Ms. Brooks kept the seat warm during the interregnum, making way for Teaching Tolerance’s current director, Maureen Costello:

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So much for diversity at Teaching Tolerance.

Ironically, (there’s that word again…), one of Teaching Tolerance’s flagship efforts is its annual “Mix it Up at School Day,” which encourages K-12 kids to sit with someone new in the school cafeteria. A noble and worthwhile experiment without doubt, but one has to wonder with whom do the all-white executives of the SPLC and Teaching Tolerance mix it up? “Do as we say, not as we do…”

One final note, the Teaching Tolerance home page brags about the many awards garnered by its “teaching materials”:

“Our teaching materials have won two Oscars, an Emmy and more than 20 honors from the Association of Educational Publishers, including two Golden Lamp Awards, the industry’s highest honor.

As noted in an earlier WTW post, the Association of Educational Publishers is a public relations outfit. Non-profits are encouraged to join the association in order to “stand out in a crowded marketplace” and “maximize your ROI [return on investment]”

According to the AEP, “Industry awards are surefire way to give your product and your brand a one-up over your competitors.

Your membership in the AEP entitles you to a 50% discount on entry fees for the awards! You actually have to pay cash, (from the donation pot, no doubt) to “enter” the contest against other “entrants” who also paid for the privilege of “competing.” Now there’s a wide field of contenders. What if no one else paid to enter your particular event? Instant winner!

Well, the TT page does call it “the industry’s highest honor, and that’s pretty much what Teaching Tolerance is all about… maximizing ROI for the white millionaires who run the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Teaching Tolerance does not list its editorial staff on its web site and never has, (for obvious reasons, no doubt). Therefore the names and dates for this post had to be gleaned from archived publications and web sites, mostly created by the SPLC.

If anyone knows of any errors or omissions in the Teaching Tolerance timeline presented here, please notify Watching the Watchdogs and we will correct the matter immediately.

SPLC – 2011 – The Year in Hate that Wasn’t

January 3, 2012

The start of the new year presents an opportunity to look back on the good works of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which purports to “fight hate” in the U.S., for only $86,500 a day.

This claim, no doubt, is the main reason why hundreds of thousands of mostly elderly donors sent the SPLC more than $31 million donor-dollars in 2010. After all, who wouldn’t want to do their part to “fight hate”?

Perhaps the best place to begin would be with the SPLC’s own case docket, found on their own website. A quick glance at the docket shows 16 cases for 2011, almost equally divided between law suits filed against under-funded school districts and suits filed on behalf of immigrants and illegal aliens.

In one “case,” the SPLC threatened to sue a school district for disqualifying a high school Homecoming King and Queen because both students were female. The school backed down before the “case” went to court.

While some may argue that these cases are important too, it really does not require a multimillion dollar law firm to file these suits, and let’s face it… “fighting hate” this ain’t.

By its own accounting, the SPLC hasn’t sued a “hate group” in nearly five years, and has only done so three times since 2000. In each of these cases the modus operandi has been the same:

1. Local thugs commit a crime, usually assault, are arrested, tried and sentenced to prison.

2. The SPLC steps in with a civil law suit, ostensibly on behalf of the victims.

3. The SPLC’s fund-raising machinery goes into high gear, bombarding the donors and the media with grisly descriptions of the crime and pleading for more money to “fight hate.”

4. The court finds in favor of the victims, awarding astronomical damages that the defendants will never begin to pay, especially from prison.

5. The SPLC pockets millions of tax-free donor-dollars garnered at the expense of the victims, who, of course, do not receive a single dime from the SPLC’s windfall.

Following the docket back in time we see that the SPLC pursued about the same number of cases in 2010, but then the numbers drop dramatically to 5 or 6 cases a year from that point back. In the meantime, the SPLC claims that the number of “hate groups” more than doubled since the year 2000.

Considering the SPLC has taken in more than a third of a BILLION dollars in the same time span, it doesn’t look like the donors are getting much of a return on investment.

In addition to its case docket, the SPLC also keeps a running total of “hate incidents” on its website, going back to 2003.  One can even find a link to a downloadable spreadsheet of the “incidents.”

The header for the “hate incidents” page includes an interesting turn of phrase that equates these “incidents” with actual “hate crimes.”

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A closer look at the SPLC’s “data,” as usual, paints a very different story. First, note that the header states that the “incidents” are “drawn primarily from media sources.” This is because the SPLC does no original investigation of its own.

Since the media and law enforcement steadfastly refuse to examine any of the SPLC’s claims, this is not a problem for them.

As of this writing, data for only the first three quarters of 2011 was available on the SPLC web site, so let’s take a look at 2010, the last full year of reporting:

The SPLC reports 234 “hate incidents” for 2010, including arson, assault, harassment and murder, among other “incidents.”

Both of the “incidents” listed under “arson” are actually assaults, with no references to any fires set.

An “incident” where a black and an Asian man in Seattle nearly beat a 16 year-old white boy to death, because he was white, is listed under “vandalism.”

As it turns out, “vandalism” is the largest category of “incidents,” comprising 31% of the total. The majority of acts of vandalism involved graffiti.

Second to vandalism on the list is the category “legal developments,” coming in at 26% of the total. “Legal developments” consist entirely of follow-up reports on the charges, pleas and sentencing of people involved in previously listed “incidents.”

How in the world can these be counted as “hate incidents”??? This double-dipping serves only to pad out the numbers.

*** UPDATE *** The SPLC has released its full list of “hate incidents” for 2011, citing 112 “legal developments,” or an incredible 35% of the 312 “incidents” listed for the year.

This kind of fast and loose addition is the stock and trade of the SPLC’s public relations guru, Mark Potok. Potok makes up these numbers out of thin air and the media accepts and repeats them without vetting a single claim.

Two other categories of “incidents” making up 11% of the total, include “leafletting” and “rallies.” While the majority of people may or may not agree with the messages promoted by the participants, these are Constitutionally protected civil rights!!

An entry for a rally in Frankfort Township, Illinois, is listed twice, is just one of several examples where the same “incident” is reported more than once, just to pad out the totals.

Again, for the purposes of SPLC fund-raising, it really makes no difference what they write or how obvious it is that the numbers are meaningless.  NOBODY EVER VETS THESE NUMBERS!

The same well-meaning folks who sent the SPLC hundreds of millions of donor-dollars since 2000 will continue to do so in the belief that they are somehow “fighting hate.”

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