The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) updated list of “hate groups” includes a total of 917 operating within the United States — 55 of which are in Texas with some making their home in Houston.
The groups residing in Houston include League of the South (neo-Confederate), Conservative Republicans of Texas (anti-LGBT), Nation of Islam (black separatist), New Black Panther Party (black separatist) and Israel United in Christ (black separatist).
Texas tallied the third highest number of hate groups, falling only behind California and Florida, which counted 79 and 63 hate groups, respectively.
The SPLC published their results in an interactive “Hate Map,” which shows where groups operate, as well as basic details about the groups.
The center says they used the groups’ published materials, websites, citizen reports, police reports, field reports and news articles to determine if groups are operating as “hate groups.” Each group has a profile for the Hate Map.
Their data purports hate groups began to rise around the country after President Barack Obama’s election in 2008, but then hit a 10-year low in 2014 before ramping up for the election of President Donald Trump.
According to the SPLC, Trump’s message spurred the creation of more right-wing populists and white nationalist groups.
Because the center defines a hate group as those who “vilify others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity,” their labels have caused controversy among conservative groups like the Family Research Center and the Ruth Institute that are listed alongside openly racist groups.
Critics say the SPLC labels groups a hate group for even the smallest connection to other groups or individuals who spread messages of hate, even if the group in question does not spread hate itself.
Similarly, some documents used to build a case for hate against particular groups later turned out to be misrepresented by the original author.