Hate Groups

Hate Groups
Barbara Bush: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Skill: Middle School
Time Required: One to two class periods


The 20th century was a time during which many groups espoused hatred of others.  Not only did this occur in Nazi Germany; but also in the United States.  There are examples--perhaps not as extreme--in our own society as well.  Unhappily, many of these groups continue today.  As George Bush was, at one time, head of the CIA, he and Barbara Bush were certainly aware of them.


The purpose of this lesson is to acquaint students with the 7 general types of hate groups active in the United States today.    

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet. Access to print reference materials.


Help students define “hate group” in a way that goes beyond “a group of people who hate others.”  Something along the line of “an organized group or movement that advocates hate, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, or other sector of society.”  Note to students that hate groups usually state that the targets of their attacks are harmful to society. 
Divide the class into 7 groups, one for each of the general types of hate groups listed below.  Assign or allow students to choose the type they want to research.  They are to identify by name one organization that fits into the general type they are studying, outline the general beliefs of that type of hate group, and identify where in the United States the group is active.  (All of this information is available within the Southern Poverty Law Center website listed under Resources.)
When each group has completed their research, the groups will present their information to the class. 
The teacher may wish to close the lesson with a brainstorming discussion of appropriate ways to resist the lure of such groups.
General types of hate groups:
  1. Black Separatist
  2. Ku Klux Klan
  3. Neo-Nazi
  4. Racist Skinhead
  5. Christian Identity
  6. Neo-Confederate
  7. Other

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson may be extended by inviting members of the community who have been the object of hate groups into the classroom to speak with students.

Sources & Resources:


Two organizations that try to counter intolerance and hate groups in the United States are the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  The SPLC website is the source of the listing of the 7 general types of hate groups that this lesson utilizes.

Southern Poverty Law Center

Map of Active U.S. Hate Groups (interactive)

Anti-Defamation League



This lesson was developed by Bette Brooks, Kent State University.