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Aww. The KKK is Upset.

The Memphis City Council voted last week to change the names of three public parks that are named for prominent confederates, including the first grand wizard of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest. And the KKK is promising to put on their finest white sheets and come out for a good ol’ fashioned protest.

A Ku Klux Klan leader has warned that Memphis, Tennessee will soon face a KKK rally with thousands of Klansmen from around the US, who will be protesting against a decision by the city council to remove Confederate names from three city parks.

The Memphis City Council on Tuesday voted 9-0, with three abstentions, to approve changing the names of three of its parks to rid them of their Confederate ties. One of the names also memorialized a leader who had ties to the KKK. Stripping the park of its name has angered the white power organization, which plans to hold a massive rally in the park…

The changes have angered the KKK, which plans to protest the renaming. Klansman “KKK Exalted Cyclops”, who also goes by Edward, told WMC-TV that the KKK will hold the largest rally that Memphis has ever seen.
“It’s not going to be 20 or 30, it’s going to be thousands of Klansmen from the whole United States coming to Memphis, Tennessee,” he said.

The KKK Exalted Cyclops claims that this rally was planned before the council voted for the renaming, but the decision has also prompted the KKK to accuse Memphis of trying to “erase history”.

I’ll make a prediction. Instead of thousands, they’ll get a few dozen. And they’ll be dwarfed by counter-protestors. And seriously, how could you call yourself, or anyone else, the “exalted cyclops” without giggling?

Comments

  1. says

    I was always annoyed by the “grand dragon” title. I like dragons, and don’t want them associated with racism.

    Although, come to think of it….in the D&D monster manual, all of the colored dragons are evil. Yes, seriously. Red, blue, white, black, green– evil. The good dragons are all metallic– bronze, gold, silver, platinum, etc.

    So does that mean dragons are racist? Or just really into metal?

  2. Taz says

    This is good. Having the Klan take the lead will actually dampen objections to the name change. There are a lot of Southerners inclined to argue that it’s perfectly ok to honor Forrest as a Confederate general, but they won’t want to be associated with the KKK.

  3. slc1 says

    Here in Northern Virginia, we have highways named after the traitors Robert E. Lee and Thomas Johnathan Jackson, but none named after loyal American and fellow Virginian George Thomas.

  4. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Klansman “KKK Exalted Cyclops”, who also goes by Edward,…

    That’s the best line I’ve read all day. It’s like finding out there’s an all- powerful, all- knowing god and it goes by the name “Cookie”.

  5. dianne says

    Heh. There at least used to be a street in Houston named Booth. Yes, after that Booth. Not sure if they changed it or not.

  6. roggg says

    Edward… time to come in for dinner dear.

    Mom please! I told you a million times it’s Exalted Cyclops when my friends are over! Sheesh.

  7. says

    When you think about it, it makes sense that members of the KKK would be into D&D. After all, in the gaming world, some races (elves and dwarves) are inherently good while others (goblins and orcs) are inherently evil. As Gretchen noted, even the dragons are neatly divided between good and evil by the circumstances of their birth.

    Fits I perfectly with the world view of the Klan.

  8. Alverant says

    When a wizard can cast a fireball spell, I’ll be impressed.

    @14 Not only that dragons are good/evil depending on the color of their scales. That’s what bugs me about early fantasy game settings; that every member of a race shared some personality traits and helped classify them as good or evil. Worse is you have “dark” elves and dwarves with charcol colored skin and were evil. No ….. no overt racism there.

  9. tomp says

    Yes, there is still a Booth St. in Houston but there is a Booth St. in NYC too. Are you sure that the Booth St. in Houston is named after THAT Booth?

  10. slc1 says

    In some fairness to Forrest, ha may not have been quite the racist that he is portrayed. According to Wikipedia, near the end of his life, he was advocating reconciliation between the races.

    In 1875, Forrest demonstrated that his personal sentiments on the issue of race now differed from that of the Klan, when he was invited to give a speech before an organization of black Southerners advocating racial reconciliation, called the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association. At this, his last public appearance, he made what the New York Times described as a “friendly speech”[10] during which, when offered a bouquet of flowers by a black woman, he accepted them as a token of reconciliation between the races and espoused a radically progressive (for the time) agenda of equality and harmony between black and white Americans

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_bedford_forrest

    Re tomp

    John Wilkes Booth was a member of a famous family of performers (e.g. Edwin Booth) so the streets may have been named after one of his relatives.

  11. Trebuchet says

    I keep picturing the exalted cyclops with a single eye-hole in the front of his hood. And shouldn’t it be “cyklops”?

  12. tomp says

    There is a Booth Theater in NYC that is named after Edwin Booth, the brother of John Wilkes Booth. The theater is located at 222 West 45th Street. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is currently being performed there.

  13. timpayne says

    It would be an excellent idea to rename the park after Memphis born Aretha Franklin. Be even better if they could erect a monument to her before the KKK rally.

  14. says

    Okay, to keep everyone happy we can rename these places, but take the signs with the current names and so that we don’t forget history but instead reinforce it, move them elsewhere, renaming other places. The dump, for instance.

  15. justsomeguy says

    I like that this comment thread is slowly turning into an OotS discussion. Although maybe I shouldn’t be; after 8 or so years of the strip running, there’s enough of a backlog that we should be able to connect *anything* to an OotS strip. We gotta step up our game, people!

    Also: not *all* dragons are conveniently color-coded for alignment, at least in 3.5. Their MM entries are “usually chaotic evil” or “usually chaotic good” or whatever, which leaves plenty of room for variation. Even outsiders like angels and demons with their “always good” or “always evil” descriptions can occasionally change – celestials succumb to temptation while fiends seek repentance. And it gets even weirder in Eberron, with the complete absence of gods and all-over-the-map draconic alignments. Like how it was an ancient green dragon who trained the first druids in the ways of nature so that they could repel an otherworldly invasion.

    Wow, I’m geeking out. Maybe it’s best we keep these things on topic.

  16. baal says

    Wait, the KKK still exists? I thought they died out of shame (and loss of big name politicians) back in the ’70s.

  17. lofgren says

    As for the DnD connection, I can confirm that there is a very strong racist streak in the gaming community. While most gamers I have met are open-minded and progressive (reflecting the geographical areas where I have played), I have met more than a handful who believe that the racial divisions in early DnD editions reflect something that is irrefutably true. I have heard gamers argue that you can’t have good orcs or evil elves because “it’s not realistic,” and I have hurriedly excused myself from a table when the players complained that a setting without racially essential personalities is annoying because they play DnD to “get away from all that PC bullshit I have to put up with at work.”

    The mechanical nature of game manuals strongly appeals to these people’s rigid and unchanging notions about the world. I also suspect it is not a coincidence that most of these types of players are twinks of the worst order. They are authoritarians with fascist tendencies.

    It’s also no coincidence that they tend to be the nastiest misogynists you will ever meet this side of a Promise Keeper convention.

  18. says

    Dark elves always bugged me for the racial overtones, too. I’m glad someone mentioned Eberron. That campaign site always appealed to me because of the loose rules on alignment. Well, it did until WOTC took a big crap and called it “4th edition”.

  19. says

    As the article notes there is no single unified Klan in the US, but several. Chances are the other Klan groups will ignore Eddie’s call to action.

  20. lofgren says

    Dark elves and dark dwarves never bothered me because I believe that they are using dark and light in the Manichean sense, not in the concentration of melanin sense. Dark elves and dwarves that I have seen have almost always had skin colors that are physically impossible for living humans and their cultures do not resemble any stereotype about the culture of dark-skinned humans that I am familiar with. I have never met a dark skinned human who identifies with or feels victimized by dark elves or dwarves. I have only ever encountered it as a concern from light-skinned humans. If you are a dark skinned human who feels that drow or duerger are intended to represent you, then by all means speak up. Any black or Latino person who I have discussed the matter with (admittedly not a huge sample) thought the notion was a silly distraction from legitimate issues. One said he felt insulted that white players seemed to think he should care, as if they can decide better than he what offends him.

  21. Doug Little says

    A Ku Klux Klan leader has warned that Memphis, Tennessee will soon face a KKK rally with thousands of Klansmen from around the US, who will be protesting against a decision by the city council to remove Confederate names from three city parks.

    Isn’t that kind of an empty threat, after all they will be injecting a lot of cash into the local economy while they are there.

  22. kantalope says

    “The KKK is Upset”

    How you know you are doing something right.

    hehe hooded guy who can’t see where he is going

  23. dianne says

    Are you sure that the Booth St. in Houston is named after THAT Booth?

    Well, the Booth St I know about is part of a series of streets named Lee, Davis, Jackson, and Booth. They’re all common names so I suppose it could be a coincidence, but…

  24. unemployedphilosopher says

    @Gretchen: The funny bit is that white dragons are the weakest subtype. By quite a bit. Also, the official miniature looks like a chicken.

    The Dark Elves/Light Elves thing is, I think, like most of D&D, a Tolkein trope gone horribly wrong. Moriquendi vs. Calaquendi? I may have got one of those wrong.

  25. fastlane says

    I think they should go the extra mile and name the park after our sitting president.

    Of course, given the location, the actual signs might end up reading “Uppity Nigger Park”….but it’s a start.

  26. says

    Memphis isn’t really the ordinary south. I’m a bit surprised it’s taken this long to change the name (although it may have something to do with little awareness; I for one had no idea this even happened, much less that there was such a park, and I haven’t heard anything about it from anyone here). If you went about 30 minutes east or south or west of here into the small towns of west Tennessee or west Arkansas or north Mississippi you get the south you are thinking of with Confederate flags and such. Memphis is very religious but pretty liberal on political issues and racially diverse (and minority white, by about 2/3 to 1/3) unlike most of the rest of the state. The city of Memphis actually took the state of Tennessee to court of the voter ID law the state passed, suing for permission to fulfill the law’s requirements by the new photo enhanced Memphis city library cards because the city felt the poorer citizens would be disenfranchised by the voter ID law and that this would help ease the situation.

    I am a white woman from the midwest and I’ve been dating a black man here from New Orleans for about 4 years. One day we were visiting his uncle and grandmother at their home outside Memphis and they had the television on in the background while we were visiting. The news was on and a segment came on where they were reporting on a man in a neighborhood somewhere in the area trying to recruit for the KKK by using the great recession and people being out of work – passing out flyers about how the KKK was just another club that people could use make networking connections to get jobs. My BF’s grandmother is in her late 80s and his uncle in his 60s, so they are both old enough to remember the civil rights and Jim Crow era in the deep south, and none of them are unaware of any of it even now. When that segment came on all conversation instantly stopped and every eye fixed on the television until it was over, and conversation afterwards was sober and worried. It was an enlightenment I will not soon forget – something I would have seen as just disgusting was truly worrying to these people I love, because of the difference in perspective.

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