I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Aim Small, But Set The Bar High
An Unlikely Denial
Since Donald Trump was elected president, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist organizations have claimed a victory in "taking back" the United States of America. At least, that's what the media has said multiple times since the election on November 8, 2016. The thing is, the Ku Klux Klan is now claiming that they are not a white supremacist organization.
"We're not white supremacists. We believe in our race," said a man with a Midwestern accent and glasses just hours before a pro-Trump Klan parade in a town near Pelham, NC, according to Montana Standard.
The thing is, we all know how important self-belief is. We encourage our kids to believe in themselves all the time, or at least we should. To come out and say something like, "We believe in our race," seems awfully disingenuous somehow.
When one looks at the Kloran, we realize just how disingenuous the man's statement actually is. The Kloran is the bible upon which the KKK is based; established in 1915, it states that the organization "shall ever be true in the faithful maintenance of White Supremacy."
Several KKK groups still follow the Kloran throughout the United States.
The thing is, KKK members denying that they are white supremacists is sort of like seeing snow on the ground and denying it's winter. The KKK has long been the definition of white supremacy, and pretty much the standard by which racists have been defined.
As unlikely as their seeming denial of what their organization is really about seems, it does make a certain degree of sense. Being racist is not "fashionable," if you will, so if the KKK is trying to distance themselves from the white supremacy label in order to garner more numbers, it might work.
According to New York Post, the numbers of people joining are steadily on the rise, and part of the reason could actually be that the group is no longer the same organization that advocated lynching back in the 1960s.
“While today’s Klan has still been involved in atrocities, there is no way it is as violent as the Klan of the ’60s,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that tracks activity by groups it considers extremist. “That does not mean it is some benign group that does not engage in political violence."
Those who lead various Klan groups estimate that their numbers are consistently growing while the Anti-Defamation League says that their estimates are quite a bit lower. At this point, while the actual KKK membership numbers may remain a question, the fact that the group is trying to distance itself from the white supremacist label is intriguing, and that may be enough for some.
The question is, how do we promote the antithesis to the KKK - an agenda of acceptance?
Generally speaking, there are three sides to every story - what each side says, and the truth being somewhere in the middle.
Some university professors are reporting that some Klan groups are trying to espouse a kinder, gentler white supremacy, simply because that was similar to the platform David Duke was running on when he campaigned for a US Senate seat and lost.
"(There was) this peddling of kinder, softer white supremacy. He tried to pioneer a more respectable vision of the Klan," associate professor Josh Inwood said of Duke's failed Senate run.
Some Klan enthusiasts are using the term "white nationalist" to garner support for their organization, but in reality, it boils down to the same thing - the promotion of the white race and heteronormative way of life being the accepted norm for all.
But that's neither true nor accurate, and that's not the life we all live. There are kids who are involved in interracial, interfaith relationships; some are also identifying anywhere along the LGBTQ spectrum. Regardless of the gentler outlook, the Klan is offering a "kinder, gentler" bigotry. It's important for those who don't want to encourage that sort of outlook in their children to educate them about acceptance for all, and what it means to disagree.
We need to show our kids that just because someone might have an extremist view about some things, as the Klan typically does, that does not mean we should react violently or with hatred in return. In fact, these individuals need compassion and understanding, as they may not have been taught anything other than the extremist rhetoric they have been surrounded by.
We need to demonstrate that enthusiasm for the human race, regardless of anything, should be the most important thing, and that we need to encourage kindness for everyone, whether we disagree with them or not.
By denying their connection to the term "white supremacy," it could be argued that the Klan is trying to evoke kinder, gentler images of what their organization is about in an effort to garner greater membership. 2016's presidential campaign has shown the world some very ugly images of what humanity should not be about: images of hate, of separation, of fear.
Let's bring everyone together again and work towards a greater understanding of each other. That can only come through education, not ignorance.