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Sep 05 2013

When the NAACP and the KKK Meet

Here’s one of the more surreal stories you’ll read today. Jimmy Simmons of the NAACP in Casper, Wyoming actually had a meeting with a local KKK leader, who promptly tried to convince him that he’s totally not racist and a recent rash of violence toward black men seen with white women was the fault of a “splinter group.”

The KKK’s Abarr arrived in a dark suit and carrying a brown briefcase, wrote Fugleberg, and was quick to assert his non-racist bonafides to Simmons and the other NAACP members. The modern Klan, he told them, is a non-violent Christian group that advocates for conservative political causes. Abarr assured them that he was a paying — and card-carrying — member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Current Klan imperial wizard Bradley Jenkins gave the meeting his blessing, Abarr said, in hopes that the groups could come to an understanding.

“He lives in Alabama, and he told me he would love to sit down with the NAACP in Alabama and talk,” Abarr told the group. He argued to them that a certain amount of segregation is good for the races, and that whites and African-Americans shouldn’t mingle.

“We want white babies,” he said. But the beatings in Casper, he insisted, were the work of a splinter group. He called them a hate crime and said they shouldn’t be condoned by anyone.

His group, based in Great Falls, serves as a neighborhood watch group, handing out fliers and pamphlets.

“I like it because you wear robes, and get out and light crosses, and have secret handshakes,” he told his listeners of being in the KKK. “I like being in the Klan — I sort of like it that people think I’m some sort of outlaw.”

Oh yeah, of course. It’s like you’re the Fonz or James Dean. And you’re totally not a racist, which is why you chose to join a group with a 150 year history of lynching black people. And it’s totally coincidental that black men are getting beaten up in the area for being with white women and your group preaches about the evils of miscegenation. Totally a coincidence. I think my eyes just rolled to Hong Kong and back again.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Johnny Vector

    But the beatings in Casper, he insisted, were the work of a splinter group.

    Probably the People’s Klan for Ku Kluxia. Splitters.

  2. 2
    doublereed

    I think the weirdest part was that Abarr joined the NAACP at the end. But then:

    Abarr said he didn’t ask anybody if they would like to join the KKK.

    “You have to be white to join the Klan,” he said.

    Source

    Seriously, what a weird meeting. It’s obvious the Klan are not reasonable people you can have an actual conversation with. Why bother?

  3. 3
    watry

    I think I need to post a sign reading “Never read the comments” over my computer screen.

  4. 4
    democommie

    A “splinter” off the ol’ “Pickrick drumstick”?

  5. 5
    karmacat

    So his reasons for joining the KKK was for the robes, setting fires, and secret handshakes? What is he like 5 years old. (actually, that’s an insult to 5 year olds). I’m surprised nobody laughed him out of the room. so much stupidity I just don’t know what to say

  6. 6
    Subtract Hominem, a product of Nauseam

    But the beatings in Casper, he insisted, were the work of a splinter group. He called them a hate crime and said they shouldn’t be condoned by anyone.

    I’ve heard of the No True Scotsman fallacy, but No True Klansman? That’s a new one.

  7. 7
    Cynickal

    It’s possible it was Klaxia’s Klan for the People’s Ku. They’re splinterers.

  8. 8
    ianeymeaney

    “The KKK’s Abarr arrived in a dark suit and carrying a brown briefcase”

    See? This proves he’s not a racist!

  9. 9
    David Hart

    We may not have got rid of racism, but at least we have made it embarrassing to admit to being racist. This I suppose is progress of a sort.

    But it ought to be possible to allow people to get their fill of robes and secret handshakes in a manner less obviously connected to a violent criminal organisation. Maybe the Masons could do some outreach. Heck, maybe even the Catholics – they’ve already got the robes and the secrecy; they just need the handshake.

  10. 10
    wscott

    And I’m sure Abarr’s group has publicly condemned the attacks, right? I mean, I’d hate to think it was just something said in private to one black man.

  11. 11
    jba55

    “The modern Klan, he told them, is a non-violent Christian group that advocates for conservative political causes.”

    I recently saw a documentary where not only was this claim was made but also that they were predominantly a charitable organization. They got footage of klan members handing out bag lunches to anyone who wanted them from the parking lot of a local church (I think it was a church anyway) and the leader says “oh sure, we even give them to black people”. Makes me wonder who they think they’re fooling.

  12. 12
    Ichthyic

    We may not have got rid of racism, but at least we have made it embarrassing to admit to being racist. This I suppose is progress of a sort.

    yes, yes it is. and a planned one.

    the use of ridicule to marginalize specific social attitudes has a long history of effectiveness, and has been effective again in fighting racism in the West.

    However, we have reached the generation where many younger people aren’t consciously aware there was a problem with civil rights in the US; it is something they learn about in history class – not real for them. They think that racism only lives on in isolated and “backwards” pockets of the US.

    This means of course, that the real problem now is dealing with 200 years of white privilege, while the current generation only sees racism itself as not being relevant to them directly. They don’t see why things like affirmative action are needed.

    Hell, it was even a problem in the previous generation, that decided to curtail so many affirmative action programs. FFS, we only even TRIED to repair the damage to equality generations of white supremacists made in the US for less than a single generation, before short memory spans and generations of privilege started to mind-wash the populace into forgetting WHY we put them there in the first place!

    it’s amazing how living under 200 years of privilege blinds people to the institutionalized results OF that privilege.

    did I say amazing?

    I meant sad.

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