On Thanksgiving morning, the top right-hand corner of this page quoted Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center on what he said was the reaction of hate groups to the dawning of the Age of Obama: "We've seen everything from cross-burnings on lawns of interracial couples to effigies of [President-elect Barack] Obama hanging from nooses to unpleasant exchanges in schoolyards. I think we're in a worrying situation right now."
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a thriving business. The Alabama-based "nonprofit" firm has become a font of riches for founder Morris Dees and his associates. Its last tax return (2005) showed it took in nearly $111 million in donations the previous four years alone and reported assets of $189.4 million at the end of 2005.
Its business is fundraising, and its success at raking in the cash is based on its ability to sell gullible people on the idea that present-day America is awash in white racism and anti-Semitism, which it will fight tooth-and-nail as the public interest law firm it purports to be. That might lead a skeptic to wonder why it spends little on litigation and why Mr. Dees pockets a lot of money sent in by panicked donors who buy into the smear campaigns against organizations or prominent individuals who question racial preference programs.
To me and to other observant conservatives, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a clever scam, relentlessly cultivating for profit the fear that this nation is filled with Klansmen and rife with people eager to perpetrate genocide. If you're curious about this organization and its legitimacy, spend some time on the Internet and assess it for yourself, because I want to move on to something else related to the comment by Mr. Potok. He mentions cross-burnings on the lawns of interracial couples. If this is true, shame on those who do such things, but what you probably don't know about - and what the law center ignores - is the atrocity committed on an interracial couple in Winchester, Calif.: Marine Sgt. Jan Pawel Pietrzak, a Polish immigrant, and his African-American bride of two months, Quiana Jenkins Pietrzak. Four African-American Marines, two of them under Sergeant Pietrzak's command (including Emrys Justin John, 18, of Baltimore), are accused of breaking into the couple's home and killing them both (one is also charged with a sex crime). In the weeks since the brutal murders, the media have been largely silent about the grisly incident. Would that be the case had the alleged perpetrators been white? Don't be silly.
And as we have come to expect, the authorities won't attribute the Pietrzaks' deaths to "hate." The Riverside County prosecutor's office says the crime was motivated by robbery. But the mother of the murdered Marine, Henryka Pietrzak-Varga, wrote a letter to the president-elect about what happened to her son and daughter-in-law, wondering, "If it was a robbery, why didn't they come when nobody was home instead of in the dead of night, armed to the teeth? ... What was it about my son and daughter-in-law that inspired such hatred and loathing?" As columnist and blogger Nicholas Stix notes, "The questions are, of course, rhetorical. Mrs. Pietrzak-Varga obviously knows full well why her son and daughter-in-law were murdered."
"Hate crimes," as trumpeted by the likes of the Southern Poverty Law Center, are a questionable legal construct used almost exclusively against whites.
Hateful or not, interracial violent crime is overwhelmingly black on white or black on Asian. The Department of Justice's figures show that between 2001 and 2003, blacks were 39 times more likely to commit violent crimes against whites than the reverse. Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.
You won't hear about that from the Southern Poverty Law Center or see it on the evening newscasts, because the truth is one thing and the liberal agenda is another.
Ron Smith can be heard weekdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., on 1090 WBAL-AM and WBAL.com. His column appears Wednesdays in The Baltimore Sun. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.