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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Activist group spokesman to talk myth of post-racial US

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Sarah Lane — THE BATTALION Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center spokesperson, speaks to a class Tuesday about SPLC’s work.

To raise awareness of the persistence of hate groups in the United States, Mark Potok, spokesperson and director of publications and information for the Southern Poverty Law Center, spoke to classes Tuesday and will give a lecture Wednesday.
Dianne Kraft, the event coordinator and diversity education and curriculum specialist, said the SPLC was one of the original anti-hate activist groups that formed in the 1960s.
The SPLC combats many different organizations that perpetuate prejudice, Potok said.
“We cover a broad array of right-wing extremism,” Potok said. “We cover the neo-confederates, we cover the Klan groups and the neo-Nazi groups and we cover the militia groups, like the groups that are down on the border right now in Texas.”
Potok said the best way to push against extremists is to ensure citizens are knowledgeable about them.
“Educating the broad public about these groups is really important because I think most people think, ‘Oh, the Klan and those kinds of groups are a thing of the remote past and those kinds of things don’t happen anymore,’ and of course it does,” Potok said. “It’s certainly not the same as it used to be. The Klan doesn’t have police departments in its pocket or run governors as it did back in the 1920s and before. But it’s not only Klan groups — all kinds of others groups are doing an enormous amount of damage in our society.”
Potok said the reality of American society might differ from individuals’ perceptions.
“Our work is, in a sense, educational,” Potok said. “We’re trying to educate people about the fact that these groups do still exist in quite large numbers. That we don’t live in a post-racial America, all is not well. There are a lot of things going on in our society.”

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