A banner day for neo-Nazis

By Jay Dixit

Published May 15, 2001 7:00PM (EDT)

Read the story.

Your May 9 piece titled "A Banner Day for Neo-Nazis" begins with: "Last month, HateWatch shut down, declaring that the battle against hate groups has been won. It hasn't."

Neither I nor anyone at HateWatch has ever stated that the fight against online bigotry has been won. If the Salon editors had bothered to read our goodbye note in its entirety, they would have read: "This is not to say that we no longer have cause for concern. The advent of the 'lone wolf' gunman whose hatred may be fed by hate group propaganda, bigoted organizations who use e-commerce to support their hateful enterprises, and the newly emerging racist cyberterrorist, all will continue to present great challenges to law enforcement and online civil rights. And with this, the struggle continues."

This mischaracterization of HateWatch's work may make for edgy copy, but I find it puzzling and quite sad. An article detailing the growth and evolution of online hate is interesting enough without resorting to distortion.

-- David Goldman
Executive Director, HateWatch

Since you feel that there are so many things that the unpaid, unfinanced HateWatch should have and should still continue to do, why don't you spend all of your free time updating and running something similar? Your opinions and those of the Anti-Defamation League are little comfort, I'm sure, for the numbers of people who spent much of their free time keeping HateWatch running. I think it's amazing that well-funded groups like the ADL would lambaste someone for taking a break after spending years doing work that directly benefited its organization -- for free! If they liked it so much, why don't they continue the work instead of complaining about it?

-- Gabriel Shelnutt

Who determines what "hate" is, exactly? Jay Dixit? Abe Foxman? Roger Ebert? Web sites like HateWatch? Certainly, any of the above, if you accept the defining parameters of "hate groups" being "neo-Nazis, white supremacists, Holocaust deniers, Klansmen, black nationalists and gay bashers." If you're seeking red flags and alarm bells denoting groups large or small actively promoting hatred of Christianity and its icons, Arabs of every nationality, Serbs, Americans living in Southern states and the firearms they refuse to relinquish, traditional European culture, heterosexuality, concepts of national/state/personal sovereignty and/or any political ideology to the right of Gus Hall, don't waste your time. Those cabals, so firmly entrenched on the cultural landscape, long ago learned the value of camouflage. Once nearly impossible to distinguish with the naked eye, they've grown comfortable enough to now travel exclusively in large, mindless herds. They used to be known as "the media," though they've been lately referred to as "the federal government," and can be readily identified by the curious indentations and near perforations on their ballot cards.

-- Lou Manzato

By Salon Staff

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