(first off, bravo!!! A story that's not 9/11 related, and an intresting one at that. +1 FP from me)
I used to live in Florida. And I'm not suprised at all. In fact, see that cluster of four near the center of the state? They're from those redneck towns just northeast of Orlando. They used to leak into the city occasionally. Gay pride day at Disney World would bring bigots out of the woodwork from ALL over the state. It was quite a show. I went a few times just to watch and heckle the protestors.
A few people mentioned suprise at the number of hate groups in Florida. Well, what you have to remember is that the civilizing influences are mostly part-time. Tourists come and spend money, New Englanders move down for the winter.
Absent those influences, it's still very much a southern state that elected a bush as its governor.
What suprised the HELL out of me, are all the groups here in California!!!
I've hardly seen them. The only instances I've seen in a year and a half were an incident of anti-semitism in Berkeley last october, and a small rash of post-9/11 vandalism against muslim-owned businesses. Other than that, hate groups seem to be DEEP underground.
For instance, I worked the DanceSafe table at the Castro Street fair just a few weeks ago. I was there ALL DAY, and saw NO evidence of any hate groups. No pickets... no hooded klukkers, no skinheads, no one handing out hatemongering propaganda, no nothing.
Back in Florida, the bigots will protest in great numbers at anything remotely RESEMBLING a gay pride event. (Trust me, I was NOT kidding about the freak show the klukkers, skinheads, southern baptists, and other hatemongers would put on at Disney World).
Here in California, I've seen none of that. The Mission is mostly hispanic, North Beach mostly italian, Tenderloin mostly black, Castro mostly gay, Chinatown and Japantown... well it's obvious. There's are also large indian contingents, and asians of all other descent . Most everyone seems to get along pretty well.
Accenting the point that people get along better here is the fact that, despite the predominant ethnic background of a community, most neighborhoods have peacefully coexisting contingents of people who are NOT of the predominant race. In Florida??? A black family in a white neighborhood, and vice versa is a RARE thing.
But aside from that disgraceful anti-semitism in Berkeley last year, and the equally deplorable post 9/11 vandalism rash, we seem to be remarkably free from hatemongers here.
I dunno... Jusy what to these hate groups *DO* here? I won't dispute tolerance.org's findings, but I just don't SEE more than the slightest hatemongering around here.
Or maybe it's relative? Maybe I'm just so used to the concentration of hate in the south that the lower level in California just SEEMS to be only slightly above nil?
In any event, it's good to be HERE, and OUT of the bible belt.
Imagine all the people...