The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Arizona Councilman Attacks Mural for Highlighting Dark-Skinned Youth

By Hatewatch Staff on June 7, 2010 - 4:29 pm, Posted in Anti-Black, Anti-Latino

A city councilman with a history of racial insensitivity in Prescott, Ariz., has been fired from his talk radio show after his complaints about a school mural featuring children of several races helped propel the artwork into an embarrassing national news story.

Last month, Steve Blair commented on KYCA about a mural at the Miller Valley Elementary School that depicted children of several races using “green” transportation. On the May 21 radio show, Blair took exception to the art prominently featuring a dark-skinned boy.

“I am not a racist individual, but I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who’s president of the United States today and based upon the history of this community — when I grew up, we had four black families who I have been very good friends with for years — to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, ‘Why?’” the Associated Press reported Blair saying.

Last week, Blair was reported as saying, “I’m not a racist by any stretch of the imagination, but whenever people start talking about diversity, it’s a word I can’t stand.” He added that he had received complaints about the mural and that, “What these people don’t like is somebody forcing diversity down their throats.”

Never mind that several Miller Valley Elementary School students posed for a photo that was used as the basis of the mural.
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IFI’s Laurie Higgins Goes Off the Deep End, Again

By Mark Potok on June 7, 2010 - 10:39 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Christian Right

So you thought McDonald’s was a huge fast-food restaurant chain making huge profits and reaping some criticism in the process over the healthiness of its food?

Well, think again. The company whose 31,000 outlets serve nearly 47 million people a day actually is a full-fledged font of evil. It is “hell bent on using its resources to promote subversive moral, social, and political views about homosexuality to our children.” It “hoists high the rainbow colors of the homosexual movement that points to the substitution of the worship of man for the worship of God and leads to depravity and destruction.” McDonald’s, in a phrase, “promot[es] the homosexual agenda.”

Or so says Laurie Higgins, the slightly mad director of the “Division of School Advocacy” at the Illinois Family Institute, a particularly virulent anti-gay, religious-right organization. McDonald’s, the intrepid Higgins insisted in a furious “Call to Action” issued last Friday and entitled “McDonald’s Promotes Homosexuality, Again,” “has once again revealed it true colors.”

And what’s all the fuss about? Ms. Higgins, you see, is mad, really, really mad, because McDonald’s is airing an ad in France, entitled “Come as you are,” that depicts a teenage boy talking to his boyfriend on a cell phone at the restaurant. The whole scene is just, well, a little too normal-looking for the “school advocate.”

“[P]lease,” Higgins implores, “do not use your resources to support McDonald’s.”

Of course, this is Laurie Higgins speaking — the same woman who, in one of her rabid weekly rants, recently fumed about President Obama’s “commitment to radical, subversive change.” In a white-hot lather over Obama’s proclamation of June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, Higgins raged about the proclamation, fulminated about Obama’s signing of the 2009 federal hate crimes bill — a statute that many religious-right leaders falsely claim could lead to pastors being jailed for merely condemning homosexuality as unbiblical — and concluded angrily that the president is “implicitly … embrac[ing] heresy.” ( continue to full post… )

Minuteman Co-Founder Accused of Threatening Family

By Heidi Beirich on June 4, 2010 - 2:39 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman movement and a principal nativist leader, threatened to kill his wife and family last year, according to a petition filed in Maricopa County Court in mid-April by his estranged spouse, Alena Simcox.

According to Phoenix New Times’ Steve Lemons, who broke the story yesterday, a Maricopa County court commissioner granted the petition April 16 and ordered Simcox to remain 200 yards away from Alena, their two children, and Alena’s child from a previous relationship. The order prohibits Simcox from possessing, receiving or purchasing firearms or ammunition.

The filing describes several violent incidents, Lemons reports. On Nov. 29, 2009, Alena alleges, Simcox was “drinking” and threatened her “with a gun. Repeatedly pointed it at me, saying he was going to kill me, and my kids, and the police. Kids were present and saw him. Very verbally abusive to me throughout the incident.”

On Aug. 22, 2009, Alena alleges, Simcox again confronted her with a weapon: “On our wedding anniversary, he was drinking and angery [sic]. Got a revolver gun and loaded with kids present. Then proceeded to ask me to ‘shoot him.’ I said ‘no,’ so then he said he would shoot entire family and cops.”

In late April, Alena Simcox file a petition for divorce from Simcox after five years of marriage. She was temporarily granted legal custody of the children, pending resolution of the divorce. A reply to the court, filed by Simcox’s lawyer John Acer, denies the allegations of domestic violence. The two were married in late 2005, when Simcox was 44 and Alena was 25.

This isn’t the first time Simcox has been accused of violent and bizarre behavior by a spouse. In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that Simcox’s second wife, Kim Dunbar, had filed an emergency appeal in September 2001 to obtain full custody of their teenage son because she feared that Simcox had suffered a mental breakdown and was dangerous. ( continue to full post… )

Religious Right Leader Says Gays in Military Bring Nazism

By Hatewatch Staff on June 3, 2010 - 11:38 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT, Christian Right

It appears Congress is on the verge of repealing the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy for gays in the military. But that, according to the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, would be a mistake of epic proportions: It could produce gay, goose-stepping Nazis in America.

Fischer, the religious-right group’s director of issue analysis for government and public policy, claimed last week that Adolf Hitler’s storm troopers were, in fact, a sinister gay fighting force. Only homosexuals were sufficiently vicious to carry out Hitler’s most brutal orders without question, Fischer argues. Heterosexual soldiers just weren’t up to the gruesome task.

Fischer gave this history lesson on his radio program last month and followed it up with a May 27 blog post on the AFA website. For Fischer, the lesson from history is clear: Repealing DADT will open the door to horrific atrocities.

“The bottom line from what follows is this: Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews,” Fischer wrote. “Gays in the military is an experiment that has been tried and found disastrously and tragically wanting. Maybe it’s time for Congress to learn a lesson from history.”

Actually, the vast majority of historians reject the claim that Hitler was gay. Virtually all serious historians of the period reject the allegation that homosexuality was an important part of the German Nazi Party. In fact, after the Nazis came to power in 1933, homosexuals were persecuted (and many inside the Nazi Party were murdered), and ultimately some 100,000 were arrested. Many of those were sent to concentration camps, where an unknown number died.

Among his sources, Fischer cites The Pink Swastika, an unhinged and defamatory history that makes the entirely false claim that gays helped orchestrate the Holocaust. He cites the book to wipe away what is for him a serious historical problem — the very real Nazi persecution of homosexuals. “[T]he homosexuals the Nazis persecuted were almost exclusively the effeminate members of the gay community in Germany, and … much of the mistreatment was administered by masculine homosexuals who despised effeminacy in all its forms,” Fischer wrote. ( continue to full post… )

What’s in a Name? For Donna Lee Wray©, Millions

By Mark Potok on June 3, 2010 - 10:49 am, Posted in Extremist Crime, Sovereign Citizens

Many people, seeing their immediate family members killed after allegedly murdering two police officers, might retreat into pained silence. Some might even find a way to express their condolences to the officers’ loved ones.

Not Donna Lee Wray.

On the contrary, the 50-year-old Floridian who describes herself as the common-law wife of Jerry Kane has spent much of the time since Kane and his son Joseph apparently gunned down two West Memphis, Ark., officers on May 20 issuing angry threats, hurling epithets at reporters, accusing police of a cover-up, and trying to charge millions of dollars for use of her “copyrighted” name. The Kanes were killed by police in a gunfight some 90 minutes after the double murder, but apparently managed to badly wound two more officers before being shot themselves.

Last week, after I was quoted in some press accounts describing Jerry Kane as an enthusiast of the tax- and law-defying “sovereign citizens” movement, Wray wrote me a furious E-mail saying that I had “profiled” her (not Kane or his 16-year-old son) and that this was a “Felony act.” Moreover, she said, neither she nor the Kanes were so-called sovereign citizens, and that “a child could comprehend” that “there is no such thing as a sovereign citizen.” She said I “better have excellent insurance” and threw in a few sophomoric insults for good measure.

In fact, the sovereign citizens movement is a well-established part of the American radical right. Adherents typically believe that they are not bound by government laws and are not liable for taxes. Many subscribe to so-called “redemption” theories — the completely bogus idea that sovereign citizens can escape their debts in many circumstances. Jerry Kane spent the last two years giving seminars that hawked the idea that many people do not have to repay mortgage loans. And, according to The [Memphis] Commercial Appeal, Kane declared himself a sovereign man not bound by the government’s laws in a 12-page, April 8, 2003, document filed in an Ohio court.

In her E-mail, in fact, Wray repeatedly referenced classic sovereign citizens language and ideas — including the notion that “common law” is the real law of the land and that people (sovereign citizens, that is) can “copyright” their name. “Mark Potok,” she wrote, “has violated my common law copyright notice for use of my name and my Claim of Intent and Fee Schedule properly recorded and noticed is in effect, that requires any entity that uses my name without my express written permission must pay me a fee of $1,000,000.00. For each use.” ( continue to full post… ) Founder Labels Obama With Racial Terms

By Mark Potok on May 28, 2010 - 4:11 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

Dale Robertson, the vitriolic founder and president of, blasted out a mass E-mail today that seemed meant to convince doubters that his movement is, after all, racist at its core.

Attacking President Obama for traveling home to Chicago for the Memorial Day weekend — rather than staying in Washington to lay a wreath in Arlington Cemetery as many presidents have done — Robertson falls into a string of contemptuous and racially charged terms.

Obama is going home to spend time with “his homies in the Chicago hood,” writes Robertson, who is white. The taxpayers will be footing the bill for the president to “bump and grind in the hood.” While he’s gone, Vice President Joseph Biden and his wife “will step into Obama’s sneakers” to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Obama, meanwhile, will be “shooting hoops, smoking cigarettes and goofing-off with his homies.”

Robertson, who is a contributor to the right-wing Washington Times’ “Tea Party Report” blog (and is identified there as “the Founder of the modern day Tea Party movement”), has never been a study in sensitivity. He has written that everyone who voted for the national health care reform bill is a “national socialist” — a Nazi, like those who murdered millions in the gas chambers. He says that “illegal aliens” are coming to impose socialism on the United States. But now, Robertson has gone one step further, describing Obama as the kind of person who has “homies” in the “hood,” who wears “sneakers” and “shoots hoops,” and who “bumps and grinds.” We wonder just what type of person Dale Robertson is thinking of.

The FAIR Files: ‘Criminals, Homosexuals and Defectives’

By Heidi Beirich on May 28, 2010 - 8:41 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is an immigration restriction organization that insists that it does not “discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, or creed.” But many have questioned that claim since revelations that FAIR’s legal arm essentially wrote the highly controversial Arizona law that critics say is certain to lead to racial profiling of Latinos.

Now comes another clue to the true nature of the organization behind the Arizona statute, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of people they come into contact with if there is reasonable suspicion that they are in the country illegally. Critics, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, have pointed out the law will lead to Latinos, including U.S. citizens, being repeatedly questioned by police and forced to continually prove their status.

FAIR files archived in the Gelman Library at George Washington University include a Jan. 9, 1990, note from Sidney Rawitz, then a board member of the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), FAIR’s legal arm. Rawitz, who once served as counsel to the government’s Immigration and Naturalization Service, was reacting angrily to an apparently overly favorable news story discussing the Cubans who came to Miami in 1980 during the Mariel boatlift. Rawitz was writing to Richard “Dick” Higgins, who was then IRLI’s executive director.

“What infuriates me most about this article is the use of Marielitos as examples of beneficial immigration,” Rawitz wrote to the IRLI leader. “There are facts and statistics galore about the criminals, homosexuals and defectives whom Castro visited upon this country when he opened up Mariel. Prisons, hospitals, and welfare rolls are heavily burdened by this influx — as you well know.”

Quite apart from Rawitz’s eyebrow-raising description of “criminals, homosexuals and defectives” — a phrase eerily reminiscent of the Nazis’ descriptions of their own enemies — the note revealed a high level of ignorance on the IRLI board member’s part a full decade after the boatlift. Although there was much publicity during the boatlift suggesting that the Marielitos were serious criminals being dumped in the United States by Cuban leader Fidel Castro, the reality is that only about 2%, or some 2,746, of the 125,000 refugees were ultimately determined to be serious or violent criminals. Large numbers, in fact, were simply people who disagreed with aspects of the Castro regime. Economist David Carr also found that the boatlift entailed no negative effect on wages for any groups in Miami. ( continue to full post… )

News Flash: Obama ‘Convicted’ of Fraud in Birther Trial

By Larry Keller on May 28, 2010 - 8:40 am, Posted in Conspiracies

Maybe you didn’t catch the news last week: President Obama was convicted by an American jury of fraud and other charges. It was easy to miss, what with The New York Times, television and cable news networks and major Internet news sites — with the exception of Salon — ignoring what one far-right group called the “greatest trial in American history.”

The trial — more like a theatrical production, actually — was not held in a courtroom, but in ATLAH World Ministries Church in Harlem. Its black pastor, James David Manning, organized the event and prosecuted the case. Columbia University was Obama’s co-defendant. The judge was a guy seeking the Republican nomination in a New York congressional district. A supposed indictment charged Obama and Columbia with, among other things, conspiring to conceal the fact that Obama is not a natural born citizen. That’s the stale staple of the “birther” movement, which maintains — without a shred of evidence — that Obama was not born in America, and therefore is not legally serving as president. ( continue to full post… )

Columnist on White Nationalist Website Appears on Fox News

By Sonia Scherr on May 27, 2010 - 11:02 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

A columnist for the white nationalist website VDARE appeared as a guest on Fox News this week.

As Media Matters reported, Allan Wall, a longtime VDARE contributor, spoke with Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy on Monday about immigration. Doocy introduced Wall as a U.S. citizen who lived in Mexico for 17 years while teaching English. At the end of the interview, Doocy mentioned that Wall writes for VDARE but failed to provide any information about the website.

In fact, VDARE features articles by extremists such as Jared Taylor, editor of the racist American Renaissance magazine; Kevin MacDonald, a psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach, who argues that Jews are genetically driven to undermine the power of whites; and the late Sam Francis, who edited the newspaper of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. Founded in 1999, VDARE raised about $53,000 from donors during an emergency appeal this spring after a major foundation cut off its funding.

Wall’s columns are preoccupied with what he sees as a Hispanic takeover of America. “If present population trends continue, within about three decades, the historical White, English-speaking majority will no longer be the majority, due to mass immigration and the high birthrate of U.S. Hispanics,” he wrote in a March 23, 2009, column. “As a people, we never directly chose this destiny, nor were we even asked about it. But we’re expected to pay for it, and be happy about it, as our nation is transformed into part of Latin America before our very eyes.”
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AFA’s Fischer Proposes a Promiscuity Solution

By Larry Keller on May 26, 2010 - 8:55 am, Posted in Anti-LGBT

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer seems to have come up with a solution to what he perceives to be sexual immorality in America: Kill the promiscuous offenders.

On his radio program last Friday, Fischer read a passage from Numbers 25 in the Bible — pointed out to him by his wife, he says — in which a man named Phineas kills an amorous man and woman of differing tribes at a time when “the nation had lapsed into rampant sexual immorality. “I don’t know if that sounds familiar to you — it certainly does to me — and Phineas … did something very decisive,” Fischer said. Phineas “found an Israelite in flagrante with a Philistine woman and he ran them both through with a spear, pinned them both to the ground inside their tent, ran his spear through both of them, right into the ground,” Fischer said. “And that shook up the nation, it got their attention and they transformed … they turned from that kind of behavior and renewed their commitment to follow God.” ( continue to full post… )