You Know Who Needs To Rebrand? The KKK, Which Is All About Love
Let's face it: while white supremacy and racism is still pretty popular in the United States, actually SAYING you're a white supremacist racist is manifestly UNpopular, and looks to remain that way for a little while at least. So you really can't blame the Ku Klux Klan for its recent PR and rebranding campaign, in which they desperately insist that they aren't racists because how gauche, unfashionable, and completely unmarketable. Instead of being known as a group that hates everyone who isn't white for not being white, they want to be known as a group that loves white people for being white. The latest salvo in this rather pathetic campaign is this billboard Klan affiliate The Knights Party has erected in the town of Harrison, Arkansas.
Just look at that sad little white girl who has so much room in her heart for white people and brown (hmm, problematic) dogs but mostly the white people! Why won't you let her love her people? What's racist about the phrase "white power" except for its legacy of racism, the way every single person who has ever uttered these words in affirmation has been a racist, and the way whiteness itself is a construction of white supremacy? The Ku Klux Klan just loves white people SO much that they just don't have any room in their heart for anyone else! I mean after all, Thom Robb, the national director of the Knights Party, asked this quite cogent and incredibly insightful question:
“What is a racist? he asked. “Everyone has their own definition of it.”
Wow. Thom has really cut to the heart of racism. Is racism a form of structural discrimination or is it, say, a small group of Shetland ponies happily gamboling on the Scottish moors? Who knows! Everyone has their own opinion which they are entitled to, and which we must respect. And anyway, it's not like the city of Harrison isn't open to all! The last race riot that left the town with literally one black resident happened such a long time ago and the county in which Harrison sits has One Hundred and Thirty One black people, which means they make up a whopping 3/10ths of a percent of the population! They HAD to drive all the blacks out, their intense self-love resulted in even more intense melanin-sensitivity, they had to get rid of all that blacks for their health!
This whole sad and ludicrous garbage-wreck would be a whole lot funnier (but let's be real: it's pretty funny already) if it wasn't so telling. As much as we'd like to laugh at groups like the Ku Klux Klan being irrelevant and outdated, the argument they advance here is just the logical conclusion of the story of race in America we've taught in our schools for four decades: the Civil Rights movement defeated racism, which was when white people didn't like black people. It's only a short jump from this shallow and ahistorical story of racism in America to all the various shades of incoherent nonsense that color white attitudes about race, from "what about white history month?" to "reverse racism!" to responding to the cry of "black lives matter" with the corrective "actually, all lives matter." As usual, the reason we recoil from the Klan is not because they are so out of the mainstream, but because they lay bare the menagerie of the grotesque that is the American racial id. They are America, just more honest about it. Happy 2015!