The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is still present in America today. Although America as a whole has made strides towards greater racial freedom, seeds of racism and white supremacy still remain in parts of the nation. Just this past Sunday, members of the Ku Klux Klan dispersed bags of paper candy with handouts telling people to join the KKK and save America as a response to the increased illegal Central American immigrants coming to the U.S. borders. Which raises the question–what is the Ku Klux Klan and what do they believe?
The KKK was formed in 1866 as a form of white southern resistance against what they perceived as encroaching African-American rights. In the 1920s, the group grew to have over 4 million members. At that time, anti black sentiments were predominant and were viewed as a threat to white rights. As a response to this perceived danger, the Ku Klux Klan often took violent means to express their dissatisfaction, resulting in numerous killings, lynchings, and hate crimes against African-Americans. Today, members of the KKK still exist in 41 different countries and is estimated to have around 5,000 to 8,000 members. Violence has much subsided from the past since its original conception, yet members still hold firm to the belief of white supremacy.
The KKK’s exclusivity causes them to have a very strict worldview. A review of the group’s website reveals that their view of themselves and their actions is radically different from how the public perceives them. How do the Ku Klux Klan view themselves and what do they believe?
The KKK’s core belief is to restore America back to being a white, Christian nation free from drugs, homosexuality, immigration, and race-mixing, which the group attributes to the country’s downfall. Extreme pride comes at the forefront of their ideology. On their website, they claim to be proud of their race, history, and traditions. They refer to the acts that the KKK did in the past as accomplishments, and believe they are, in essence, building a better society for everyone to live in.
The KKK page immediately begins by trying to dispel lies told about them through the “liberal news media.” One of the first things they claim is that they are not a group of hate but of love—love for their country and their people.
Furthermore, they claim that they are not evil, but that are trying to fight against the problems and the perceived evils of America–drugs, race-mixing, immigration, and homosexuality. They are, therefore, vehemently against anything that would destroy their race and nation. Moreover, they have come to adopt a savior mentality. The KKK believes that their version of America and Christianity is what will save the country from its impending downfall. This “fight” is often translated into racist acts against people who are not of like-mind and mission with them.
At the core of who they are and what they believe, the Ku Klux Klan view themselves and their mission as essentially good. This is the reality that they live in. However, their intense pride and love for their own people has caused an extreme exclusion of other people who do not fit into their mold of a white, American Christian. What people believe in–whether right or wrong–is what causes them to engage in certain actions, as displayed by the KKK in America’s history.
By Joyce Chu