The Adaptive Ku Klux Klan Essay, Research Paper
The Adaptive Ku Klux Klan In the southern states of the USA, the era known as the “Reconstruction” period created a tension ,a fear and total hate for the black race among many white people. This event was the result of the primitive version of constitutional equality of the African-American race at the end of the Civil War. It was in this state of confusion and transition that the Ku Klux Klan was born. As any strong orginization, it adapted to its changing surroundings and times. Before the end of the civil war, May 26th 1865, black men, women and children were used as slaves, and considered objects of exchange and of monetary value to the white people. But between the Yankee’s triumph of the civil war and 1877, 700 000 black voters were registered, which was approximate to the new white voters registered in that same period of time. Once White America became aware that blacks could not only vote, but vote effectively, many began to dread the unthinkable; that the black man was becoming equal to the white man. Many went beyond fear,resorting to violence and fascism to cope with their problems. ChristmasEve of 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, six men young men began the earliest version of the Ku Klux Klan. Some of them had simpler professions such as blacksmithingand farming, however some of them were Confederate army officers. The group needed a name, which was then based on the Greek word “kuklos” meaning circle. The circle was chosen for it symbolises unity, perfection and the progress of humans. Being an organization, they added “clan”; with a “K” for show. To avoid being recognized andto induce fear, they wore sheets as cloaks and made hats out of white sheets as well. Their organization started as a local racial terrorist group that would play evil pranks, leaving many black families with burnt houses and the black community with churches torched to the ground. The Klansmen soon realized the impact of their actions on their enemy, the blacks and that what started as an “after work pass time” could be much greater and more powerful. Other Klan groups would emerge and “attracted some respectable members, including Gen. John C. Brown, who in 1870 became governor of Tennessee and later was to become president of the Tennessee Coal and Iron Company.” The Klan then elected General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a confederate officer, as their leader. By that time, “The Ku Klux Klan, which had begun as little more than a social club for disaffected, wealthy young whites was turning into something much more ominous.” As the Klan became more aggressive, so did its actions. Additionally to using extreme vandalism as their weapon as they did earlier, the KKK resorted to bloodshed to increase the intensity of their expression ; and their message was heard.Black Americans in the southern states were the usual victims of the 43 shootings, five stabbings, fifty-five beatings and the eight whippings recorded to have occurred in Georgia alone. In addition, an estimated 2000 people were killed before the elections in Louisiana as the Klan razed newly-built schoolhouses and killed teachers of former slaves and poor whites. Terrified, many blacks in South Carolina slept in the woods for safety. Eventually, the Klan s rampage of carnage and lawlessness became too excessive even for the sympathetic authorities. Thus, the Ku Klux Klan was dismantled by martial law and congressional investigations, but not before it crushed democracy in the South, “leaving former plantation owners and southern aristocrats back into power.” “By 1900, blacks had lost the right to vote in every southern state and not a single elected black official remained in office.” The Ku Klux Klan would regain recognition in 1915, known as the Invisible Empire of the KKK. The revival began as these Klansmen of the 20th century “showed a film entitled “D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation ,a tribute to theoriginal Klan” . The 14 million immigrants that had flocked to America’s shores for the past fifteen years would be the cause for a rebirth of the Klan as the latter adopted a new devotion, branding anti-war protests as “anti-American”. Their enemy’s face had changed also as Jews, Asians, as well as the African-Americans and other immigrants were the target. But the KKK’s hate went further than race alone. Catholics became a target since the Klan’s official religion was Anglican. Power-hungry, the Invisible Empire became involved politically. “By the mid 1920’s, the Klan dominated state governments in Oregon, California, Indiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.” In Colorado, [the KKK] helped elect two U.S senators and the state governor. In Denver, Klansmen were elected as political figures such as the city’s police chief, and even its mayor. Ohio had a dozen Klan-supported mayors, not including the mayor of Youngstown, who was a Klansman himself. Their goal, to become politically involved and take the law’s side for popularity, was working. “The Empire was even becoming a business, running its own real estate firm and a manufacturing company distributing Klan regalia. They also published their National publication called “The Searchlight”, which included sponsors such as Studebaker and Coca-Cola” . Simply by behaving as a legit, lobbying organization, that is exactly what they become in the eyes of the law. The Ku Klux Klan, with the Invisible Empire as their alias, would continue to give the White American Public what they wanted while using their beliefs as a base, in it’s goal to prevail. It is however virtually impossible for the values they defend to become those of the common public. Nevertheless, the KKK would evolve and is still with us today. It was during the 1920’s that the “All American” Ku Klux Klan began spreading their word of white supremacy and racial discrimination in Canada. “Fanatic Klansmen, roaming like Alexander for new worlds to conquer, cast their eyes upon Canada.” , read the Montreal Standard. It was in fact in Montreal that the Klan would attempt to establish their first Canadian base or “Klavern” as the Klansmen dubbed. However, the head office in Atlanta, Georgia “disavowed any intentions of applying for a charter in any other country.” Montreal was eventually home for Quebec’s Klan, that struggled because of the Catholic majority, a Klan enemy. Complications quickly arose and the Empire, although claimed to be in action, died out in Quebec despite the hostility towards blacks there. Meanwhile in the Maritimes, “Klan officials reported having 20 Klaverns across the Canadian [east] coast”. In Manitoba, the Klan was successful in passing a resolution condemning bilingualism, taking advantage of the French minority there. The Klan tried to do the same in Saskatchewan with less success. Ontatio was surely the Klan’s strongest base in eastern Canada. The target there was non-Protestant religions.
The catholic community did suffer losses as churches were robbed, vandalized, or torched. Although, the Klansmen still took action against the blacks as an inter-racial couple in Oakville were in their home when the Klansmen went in the house and took away the white woman. The Klansmen said that the inter-racial marriage was “a menace to the purity of the Anglo-Saxon race”. But the Ku Klux Klan would find more popularity in British Columbia and Alberta, where the white majority was beginning to fear the increase in Oriental immigration there. “By 1927, the Klan claimed a B.C. membership of 13 000, including 8 000 in Vancouver and 3 000 in Victoria.” Ironically, the KKK’s revolution was hardly a revolution at all ; the Oriental minorities had already been discriminated for decades. The Klan simply “added oil to the flame”. Even Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, said that “a Mongolian or Chinese population in our country…would not be a wholesome element for this country”. The Klan, adjusting to the new surroundings, simply altered their ways to survive. The Chinese Immigration Act, passed in 1885, gave the government the power to “prohibit for a stated period, or permanently, the landing in Canada…of immigrants belonging to any race unsuited to the climate or requirements of Canada.” From 1921 to 1930, all oriental immigrants, including those who were Canadian citizens, were prohibited from voting in British Columbia . During this same period of time, only three Chinese immigrants entered the country. The B.C. premier even suggested deportation of the Oriental population and that their property be confiscated, even though the oriental population in B.C was only about 7.5 per cent. Therefore, racism in Canada has been alive and well long before the Klan’s arrival. They just took advantage of the situation and increased the racism already settled in Canada. The Invisible Empire did not have to even have to show their faces as the politicians did the work, through the political process which made the prejudice not only legal, but obligatory. This is why the Ku Klux Klan gained so much power in the western portion of Canada to this day. Today’s Ku Klux Klan, still focusing on white supremacy, has evolved with the rest of the world. It has a particular focus on practical American political issues such as taxes, social compensation, constitutional rights and foreign affairs. In their eyes, theAmerican army should not “waste their time” fighting foreign conflicts. “America first” cries the self-centered Empire. They feel that the “best army in the world” should defend its own country alone. The KKK would rather see the “American troops on the South American border to stop the entry of illegal aliens.” Not only illegal immigrants are targeted, but all non-white immigrants as well. This is an action that the Klan has believed in since their beginning. As for international exchange, the Klan opposes the “Free Trade Agreement” that was passed by Bill Clinton in 1995. The Klan’s national goals also vary in extremity. Their view towards welfare for example suggests that there should be “drug testing for all welfare recipients [because] if they have money for drugs, they don’t need [American] tax dollars.” The Klan also demands tougher conditions for welfare recipients because it believes that “you work for your check, so should [those on welfare].” This view might seem reasonable and could very easily be supported by many working citizens and politicians. Some of the other of the Ku Klux Klan’s views are also rather acceptable, but would receive a evenly mixed response. For example, the American Constitution states that every American has the right to own a gun. Yet, the American government has recently been trying to impose laws that would prevent those with criminal records to possess guns. The Klan labels this as “unconstitutional” as many people would agree. Ironically, most of the Klan’s views and opinions are very unconstitutional in themselves. One of their more descent goals would be to “return prayer to school” . This would make a good first impression of the Empire to many. On the contrary, the Klan has many extreme and prejudice ideals that have remained with them since their beginning, such as their constant wish to “stop all non-white immigration..” The KKK has adopted another exaggerated goal that is one to suitour modern days ; to “quarantine all AIDS carriers.” Another outrageous concept of the Klan’s is to “make the purchase of American industry and property by foreigners illegal.” This would destroy the very society they love so much if their wish came true. Such a drastic action in international exchange would not only crash the American stock market,but affect the entire world because of its current financial status. This is yet another example of the Klan being blinded by its own American pride and why most of America does not support their extreme methods of what the Klan calls “progress”. The Invisible Empire’s most important goal of all is to give the white race the right to be proud of itself. “When an African-American, Native-American or any American that is not white is proud of his/her race, society calls it pride in one’s heritage. When an Aryan-American is proud of his/her race, it is labeled as racism.” Many would agree to this statement, however the Ku Klux Klan builds their race by destroying other races. A less political standard of the Klan’s is their fight against “race-mixing”. According to them, “God gave us different races, therefore inter-racial reproduction would be sacrilegious.” “Americans” are in fact a mixture of various races, not a single one. Therefore, it is preposterous to think that there will be no interracial reproduction in North America. If “race-mixing” became increasingly popular, the KKK would struggle as there would be no “pure Aryan Americans” left to support their fight for white supremacy. The Ku Klux Klan may have some arguably decent intentions, but its disrespect for those who are not like it must stop. The Klan must learn that having pride in the white race is not a crime, but that having white pride while insulting and discriminating other races is a crime. The Klan must also realize that “American” is not a race, it is a mixed society. Regardless, they will continue their journey of hate into the next millennium, whether they be known as the Ku Klux Klan or the Invisible Empire. This racist organization shall feed on the racism, prejudice and discrimination that may change shape and size, but that will remain with humanity forever. Endnotes 1:Sher, Julian. ; White Hoods: Canada s Ku Klux Klan (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1983) , p. 20 2:Ebid ; p.203:Ebid ; p.204:Ebid ; p.215:Ebid ; p.216:Ebid ; p.217:Ebid ; p.218:Ebid ; p.219:Ebid ; p.2210:Ebid ; p.2211:Ebid ; p.2212:Ebid ; p.2213:Ebid ; p.2314:Ebid ; p.2415:Ebid ; p.2616:Ebid ; p.2817:Ebid ; p.3218:Ebid ; p.3319:Ebid ; p.3420:Ebid ; p.3421:Ebid ; p.3522:Klavern of Tennessee, http://www.kkk.com23:Ebid24:Ebid25:Ebid26:Ebid27:Ebid28:Ebid29:Ebid30:Ebid