The Ku Klux Klan is running a recruitment campaign across the country. The Klan propaganda dropped off in my home-town of Whittier, California Sunday morning had been previously distributed in other parts of the state: the week before in Fullerton, before that in Orange, and before that in Santa Ana on Martin Luther King’s birthday. The fliers have also been found in the past few months in other cities in America, from Florida, to Alabama, to South Carolina, to Georgia, to New York, and likely many more. Each time, the fliers are enclosed in plastic bags containing a rock as a paper-weight (and perhaps as a reminder) and a piece of candy.
So the Whittier incident is not isolated, nor is it a non-issue. Given what has gone down in the past few weeks (Charleston shooting, Confederate flag backlash, marriage equality, black president getting his health care bill approved) the Klan probably feels like the world is ganging up on them, and they are using the divisions caused by these issues, including immigration and police abuse, to recruit angry whites to their cause. The South Carolina chapter is planning a rally in July in support of the Confederate flag.
Of course, this is typical reactionary bullshit. It is a similar social phenomenon to the Men’s Rights Movement — a reaction to the perceived loss of rights and privilege and identity, often exacerbated by a sense of victimhood and impotence, which transitions into action and threats and violence as a way to reclaim masculinity. It is what you expect from a movement right before it dies: a final gasp, a final reaching out to clutch its lost images. But popular opinion can swallow it at last if the average person becomes organized and focused. The Klan is not what it used to be, but it is still strong, and still relevant, and still dangerous. And there are sympathizers and potential recruits, outside its ranks, who must be combated with dialogue before they become radicalized.
The ideas which must be combated are the seemingly docile ones, held by non-Klansmen, who will even criticize the Klan, but then follow that up with radical views on race. Ideas such as America being a land of whites, or that only black people riot or commit crimes, or that immigrants are taking jobs and bringing crime and disease and sexual assault to the country. Persons with such ideas will even turn around, after saying the above, and tell you that race is a non-issue, or a distraction from more important things, displaying an obsession with race while then insisting race doesn’t matter.
We ran a counter-propaganda drive yesterday in Whittier, canvassing the same blocks the Klan hit. We dropped fliers summarizing the issue and demanding action to keep the Klan out of our city. We also included a short, powerful poem by Langston Hughes, entitled, “I, too”:
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
One of our canvassers got into an argument with a gentlemen who I would rate as a potential sympathizer of white supremacy. He insisted nothing was happening, that Dylan Roof was not a racist, and that these things were not a big deal. I don’t personally consider it “nothing” that a young white fascist murdered nine black people in a church in the middle of a nation-wide KKK recruitment drive. Imagine instead if nine Americans had been shot by a radical Muslim. No one would be down-playing the event. Conservatives agree that Islamism must be fought. But the Klan must be fought as well.
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Here is the propaganda the KKK put in plastic bags and left on lawns in Whittier, California. I put this online for the purpose of informing you of what the Klan is doing and saying, that you may educate yourself and be better prepared for dialogue and debate.
Be warned that the language and ideas contained in these images (click to enlarge them) are disgusting and offensive. But such are the thoughts of our enemy.