Essays

SPLC — Great “Wall of Tolerance” Scam

standstrong

LAST OCTOBER, we first noted that one of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s most cynical fundraising gimmicks, its long-running “Stand Strong Against Hate” map was conspicuously absent from the company’s web site.

The gimmick was elegant in its simplicity. By simply clicking a link on the SPLC web site you could demonstrate your commitment to “stand strong against hate,” and to “stop the racist backlash from infecting your community.”

In return for nothing more than your name, address and email address, you fought the good fight by becoming a digital pinhead on an interactive map. By moving the cursor over your pinhead your first name and last initial would pop up magically.

“Bob J., Chicago”

How exactly this “stood up to hate” was never explained. In the meantime, your personal contact information went into the SPLC’s massive database, where it would be added to the company’s mailing list and turned over to their growing team of professional fundraisers.

As mentioned, it was a simple but effective gag, and no doubt brought in a lot of new donors and donor dollars, but the company seems to have retired it in 2015.

Today we stumbled across a parallel SPLC fundraising ploy that is every bit as simplistic as the “Stand Strong Against Hate” ploy, but takes the game to a whole higher level.

In this morning’s RSS roundup of articles about the SPLC was a press release written by one of those “exclusive” public relations outfits that target individuals, usually professionals, offering to polish up and pad out their resumés, in exchange for an exclusive fee.

This particular gentleman is an attorney, practicing law somewhere Down South. We’re going to change his name here to protect his identity, but the final line of his press release reads:

“In 2005, Mr. Smith was awarded the Wall of Tolerance Certificate by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

We are embarrassed to admit that, even after “tracking” and studying all things SPLC for the past seven years, we had never heard of the company’s “Wall of Tolerance” and had to learn more about it.

Our first thought, quite naturally, was that, like most nonprofit fundraising ventures, which might feature a “Golden Circle” or “Leadership Club” tier for their top donors, the SPLC was simply recognizing Mr. Smith for handing over the big bucks year after year.

But we were wrong…

According to the SPLC website:

“The Wall of Tolerance digitally displays the names of more than half a million people who have pledged to take a stand against hate and work for justice and tolerance in their daily lives.  Their names flow continuously down the 20-by-40 foot wall within the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Alabama.”

wall-of-tolerance

In order to get your name on this auspicious digital billboard you must first swear a solemn oath:

By placing my name on the Wall of Tolerance, I pledge to take a stand against hate, injustice and intolerance. I will work in my daily life for justice, equality and human rights — the ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died.

Half a million people have taken this pledge to honor “the ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died,” or did they?

While searching for information about the Wall of Tolerance we came across this blog post on the Democratic Underground website in which Mr. Joshua Allenberg expressed surprise to have received the same certificate of appreciation and had his name added to the wall, even though he’d never heard of the award and wasn’t even sure when, or even if, he had made a contribution to the SPLC. If he had, it wasn’t much.

At any rate, he never took a pledge, solemn or otherwise. Maybe getting on the wall is easier than it seems.

I just got an envelope in the mail addressed from author Toni Morrison. Enclosed was a form letter, a solicitation for a donation, and a Certificate of Appreciation. Now I typically donate 20 bucks here and there from organizations who send me mail, and I kind of lose track. So, what I got is:

Certificate of Appreciation
presented to
Joshua Allenberg

In recognition of an important contribution to the ongoing fight against hatred and intolerance in America. The name shown above will be added to the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama, to provide inspiration to all of those who choose to take a stand against hatred.

Thank you for taking a stand.

Morris Dees, Founder
Southern Poverty Law Center

Does anybody know where this came from?

The answer was swift in coming when several other posters figured out that the SPLC got Mr. Allenberg’s name from a mailing list purchased from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Mr. Allenberg’s certificate was signed by SPLC founder Morris Dees and author Toni Morrison. Earlier iterations of the document were co-signed by Rosa Parks.

The certificates are accompanied by several sheets of return address stickers bearing the honoree’s name and address, one of the oldest fundraising gimmicks in the book, but still quite effective among that segment of the population that still sends a lot of snail mail, i.e., the elderly.

Directly below Mr. Allenberg’s web post was a piece by SOFII, the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, an organization that rates and reviews fundraising pitches. Here are a few of the more telling comments about the Wall of Tolerance campaign:

SOFII’s view:

The Southern Poverty Law Center, who launched this campaign, is a hugely impressive organisation with a long and well-deserved reputation for effective donor development.

Though we don’t have the results, we think we can presume that this direct mail capital appeal must have worked really very well.

Merits:

This is one of the most moving and long-lasting donor involvement campaigns in the USA and represents some of the best that the direct marketer’s art can produce.

“Some of the best that the direct marketer’s art can produce.” And why not, the man behind this PR campaign is none other than Morris Dees, who made millions in the direct mail-order business in the 1960s before opening the SPLC.

In 1998, Dees was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association’s “Hall of Fame,” not for his civil rights work, but rather for his prowess in direct mail fundraising. Mr. Dees is an undisputed master of the sales pitch.

We have to admit that it’s impressive to see and definitely as fine an example of a master-level fundraising tool as we’ve ever seen, as this short Youtube video demonstrates. You gotta admire the craftsmanship:

While the video notes how people can add their names directly to the wall from SPLC’s civil rights theme park, no mention is made of whether one’s contact information is a prerequisite for the honor, but if SPLC history is any guide, you can make book on it.

Another direct mail fundraising industry web site, DonorPowerBlog.com had this to say about the Wall of Tolerance “donor acquisition kit”:

“Can you overdo recognition of a donor? I don’t think so. There’s a donor acquisition kit out there that tries.”

One final example of just how cynical this marketing ploy is was demonstrated by one other web posting in our search results. Marcus Epstein posted on the VDARE website that he too had been honored by the SPLC for his “important contribution in the ongoing fight against hatred and intolerance in America.”

Not only does the SPLC consider the VDARE website so heinous that it deserves its own page on the company’s website, but Mr. Epstein himself, that great benefactor and paragon in the “ongoing fight against hatred” was found worthy of an entire article by the SPLC’s own Heidi Beirich, for allegedly being an arch-racist, and yet he is eminently qualified to be enshrined for all time on the company’s Wall of Tolerance.

Apparently anyone with a postal address can receive a “Wall of Tolerance” certificate and get their name on the electronic billboard in the hope that they will make that crucial first donation.

So much for pledging to support the “ideals for which the Civil Rights martyrs died.”

What an exclusive honor.

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3 Comments

  1. Sethmoto101
    December 8, 2018 at 6:31 pm — Reply

    Ok, no putting Will Williams on the Wall of Tolerance, kids.

  2. December 11, 2018 at 8:44 am — Reply

    I’ll take that as a compliment, SETHMOTO101. Thanks.

    The SPLC’s goofy Map Of Intolerance is where NA has been listed for years. With its $420 million tax-exempt endowment that’s used for eliminating “hate,” one would think SPLC could update their Hate Map listings every 15 years or so.

    Watching the Watchdogs is an excellent site that every White should watch regularly for updates on the activities of our oh-so-civic-minded queers, Jews and other non-Whites at their so-called “law center.”

    I addressed this Tennessee Hate Map crap a year ago, here: https://whitebiocentrism.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=2922&hilit=SPLC+hate+map+Tennessee–

    Southern Poverty Law Center reports 38 hate groups are currently operating in Tennessee.
    […]
    https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/2017/08/20/white-supremacist-groups-head-knoxville-protest-then-smokies-summit/583816001/

    Wow! Brittany [Crocker] is well on her way to her first Pulitzer Prize for “investigative reporting,” with this piece, quoting the Southern Poverty Law Center statistics.

    Three of those alleged 38 hate groups the SPLC claims are in Tennessee are here in relative tiny Johnson County up in the NE corner. One is some defunct Klucker group headed by an ex-Aryan Brotherhood convict that was in Butler, another is a one man operation, Sacred Truth Ministries, that publishes and sells books, and the third is the National Alliance because we have a POB here in Laurel Bloomery. There are 95 counties in Tennessee, and Johnson County, with its mere 18,000 people, 97.5% White, has nearly 10% of all those scary “hate groups.” :roll:

    • Sethmoto101
      December 12, 2018 at 8:03 am — Reply

      There is far more hate espoused through *actions* toward Americans by Mexican and S. American gangs of illegals and dreamers in the Southwest US, particularly in California and Arizona, than there is from *all* the PO Boxes in the former confederate states. Even outside their imaginary “turf” and the mayhem and property crimes they cause there, these gangs take over remote rest stops, road-side vistas and picnic areas, to graffiti tag and blast music while drinking Tecates and shouting obscenities, and to do illegal activity in their illegally modified vehicles with blacked out windows. If that isn’t expressing hate toward Americans who want to use such taxpayer-funded areas peacefully, then what is? None of those groups or gangs are catalogued by the SPLC, unlike Aryan gangs. Law enforcement does get involved though, but as we know such success is often reported as a “tip of the iceberg” : https://www.pe.com/2018/08/30/anti-gang-raid-by-police-sweeps-through-hemet-early-thursday-with-dozens-of-arrests-made/ .If the criminality and related law-enforcement and insurance costs aren’t an expression of hate toward Americans, then what is? How much law enforcement do the so-called white-supremacist groups in Tennessee require by comparison? How much do they cost taxpayers? The SPLC could use its war-chest excess to monitor, record and report illegal alien gangs’ border smuggling activities when Border Patrol is not immediately present, where potential for damage to Americans is greater than from any “white supremacist” group in Tennessee. But then donations to SPLC from the self-serving, jewish multi-millionaires would dry up. This is just another venue where jews’ self-concern over national concern skews the national conversation away from what the real threats to America are.

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