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One State Deemed Most 'Hateful' In U.S. On 'Hate Map'

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The updated HateMap, which lists organizations that target people because of their religion, race or sexual orientation, says California is the most hateful state in the nation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which released the "map" on Feb. 15, stated in its findings that California has 79 organizations deemed hateful, according to the Record-Bee. Florida follows with 63, then Texas with 55.

The year 2016 was an "unprecedented year for hate," according to the Law Center's senior fellow Mark Potok, who edited the report.

There were 917 hate groups in the U.S. in 2016, up 3 percent from 2015.

"The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists," Potok said.

He added that the addition of Steve Bannon, former Breitbart head, to President Donald Trump's White House has led extremists to believe they "finally have an ally who has the president's ear."

Some critics of the map said it was a form of political correctness and was meant to discourage free speech.

"They don’t want anyone to have religious freedom and condemn the people they don’t agree with," Traditional Values Coalition chairman Louis P. Sheldon told the Record-Bee.

Sheldon's group was included in the list of hateful organizations because of its views on the LGBT community.

"These are people -- something happened in their lives and took them in the wrong direction -- like tripping and falling," Sheldon said, denouncing the claim that his group is hateful. "They are to be pitied and loved."

The Law Center has certain qualifications for what constitutes a hate group, and makes sure each group meets that criteria before they're placed on the map.

"We make a big effort to separate a man, his dog and a computer from a group with on-the-ground activity," Potok said. "They need to meet our criteria as a hate group, which means they have a clear ideology of hate vilifying an entire race of people."

Sources: Record Bee, Orange County Register / Photo credit: WWLP

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