(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) — Hate is up in America.
A new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which follows the activities of hate groups, finds that over 1,018 of these organizations were in operation last year, representing people who have biases towards minorities, gays, religions and other characteristics they have contempt for. That’s a dramatic increase from 2000 when 620 of these group were counted by the center.
Furthermore, there’s been an explosion of militias and so-called patriot groups, from 824 in 2010 to 1,274 in 2011.
Study author Mark Potok told The New York Times, “They represent both a kind of right-wing populist rage and a left-wing populist rage that has gotten all mixed up in anger toward the government.”
Much of the anger on the right is directed at President Obama, his perceived favoritism for minorities and the notion that he wants to take guns away from Americans.
Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street, which popped up in cities all over the U.S. last year, was not listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center because it’s not considered extremist. On the other hand, the Georgia Militia was upgraded from a “patriot” group to a hate group for an alleged plot to blow up government buildings.
According to the study, hate groups have turned out be most active in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and New York.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Stephen Collinson, CNN Newswire