Mr. Dees, meet Mr. Bialystock

Clarice Feldman and Rosslyn Smith
I am trying to figure out how Morris Dees differs from Max Bialystock.  Around the time that the counter protestors outnumbered the sad sack white supremacist by maybe 15 to one at a Klan rally in Skokie, Illinois in 2000 I asked a Jewish colleague how Dees did it.  How did he still raise money pushing the dangers of white supremacy to a largely Jewish fundraising base? 

My friend explained that for many of those targeted by the SPLC's fund raising efforts, time froze fifty years earlier. That it was an organization his mother's friends supported far more avidly than his own generation.  A decade later, Dees certainly has to know his white supremacist narrative has become totally ridiculous.  Why is he stuck in such a rut?  Could it be because it is easier money than anything else he could turn his hand to?   

Here is a photo essay of the house owned
by SPLC founder, Morris Dees.  Here is a list of some predictions made by SPLC over the years. Lucky for him and others of the ilk the standards that apply to those raising money in the capital markets do not apply to the fundraising efforts of civil rights organizations

In 1989, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of skinheads, saying, "Not since the height of Klan activity during the civil rights era has there been a white supremacist group so obsessed with violence. ..."

In 1992, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of other white supremacist groups, which it claimed had grown by 27 percent from the year before.

In 1995, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of right-wing militias.

In 1998, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of Internet-based hate groups, which according to one press account had "created the biggest surge in hate in America in years."

In 1999, the SPLC warned that the growing threat of Web-based hate groups was growing even more, with a 60 percent increase from the year before.

In 2002, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of post-Sept. 11 hate groups, which it said had grown 12 percent between 2000 and 2001.

In 2004, the SPLC warned (again) of the growing threat of skinhead groups, whose numbers it said had doubled in the previous year.

In 2008, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of hate groups overall, whose number it said increased 48 percent since 2000.

And in 2010, just a few weeks ago, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of "patriot" groups, which it said increased by 244 percent in 2009.

In the world of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the threat is always growing. Ronald Reagan's policies led to a growing threat. The first Gulf War led to a growing threat. The election of Bill Clinton led to a growing threat. The Internet led to a growing threat. Sept. 11 led to a growing threat. The war in Iraq led to a growing threat. Is it any wonder that Obama's presidency has, in the SPLC's estimation, led to a growing threat?

When I look at the SPLC predictions since then, it seems to me that Dees risks becoming to civil rights organizations what Max Bialystock was to Broadway productions. 
I am trying to figure out how Morris Dees differs from Max Bialystock.  Around the time that the counter protestors outnumbered the sad sack white supremacist by maybe 15 to one at a Klan rally in Skokie, Illinois in 2000 I asked a Jewish colleague how Dees did it.  How did he still raise money pushing the dangers of white supremacy to a largely Jewish fundraising base? 

My friend explained that for many of those targeted by the SPLC's fund raising efforts, time froze fifty years earlier. That it was an organization his mother's friends supported far more avidly than his own generation.  A decade later, Dees certainly has to know his white supremacist narrative has become totally ridiculous.  Why is he stuck in such a rut?  Could it be because it is easier money than anything else he could turn his hand to?   

Here is a photo essay of the house owned
by SPLC founder, Morris Dees.  Here is a list of some predictions made by SPLC over the years. Lucky for him and others of the ilk the standards that apply to those raising money in the capital markets do not apply to the fundraising efforts of civil rights organizations

In 1989, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of skinheads, saying, "Not since the height of Klan activity during the civil rights era has there been a white supremacist group so obsessed with violence. ..."

In 1992, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of other white supremacist groups, which it claimed had grown by 27 percent from the year before.

In 1995, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of right-wing militias.

In 1998, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of Internet-based hate groups, which according to one press account had "created the biggest surge in hate in America in years."

In 1999, the SPLC warned that the growing threat of Web-based hate groups was growing even more, with a 60 percent increase from the year before.

In 2002, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of post-Sept. 11 hate groups, which it said had grown 12 percent between 2000 and 2001.

In 2004, the SPLC warned (again) of the growing threat of skinhead groups, whose numbers it said had doubled in the previous year.

In 2008, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of hate groups overall, whose number it said increased 48 percent since 2000.

And in 2010, just a few weeks ago, the SPLC warned of the growing threat of "patriot" groups, which it said increased by 244 percent in 2009.

In the world of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the threat is always growing. Ronald Reagan's policies led to a growing threat. The first Gulf War led to a growing threat. The election of Bill Clinton led to a growing threat. The Internet led to a growing threat. Sept. 11 led to a growing threat. The war in Iraq led to a growing threat. Is it any wonder that Obama's presidency has, in the SPLC's estimation, led to a growing threat?

When I look at the SPLC predictions since then, it seems to me that Dees risks becoming to civil rights organizations what Max Bialystock was to Broadway productions.