Comment: What Louisiana really thinks about the Ku Klux Klan
Megan Boyanton writes for PinkNews about what Louisianians think about the Ku Klux Klan and its recent attempts to incite violence against the gay community.
The “Deep South” has earned a global reputation for being the least politically correct region in the United States, but does the Ku Klux Klan really maintain a prominent presence in day-to-day life?
This year has seen what seems like a lot of Klan activity in Louisiana, with fliers for the organisation materialising across the state and, subsequently, the news.
The pamphlets state: “Stop Aids: Support Gay Bashing.
“Homosexual men and their sexual acts are disgusting and inhuman.”
From the outside looking in, the South appears to be stuck in a time warp, circa ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ – rampant with burning crosses, Confederate flags and lynchings.
Speaking as a resident of Louisiana for 15 years, however, this thought couldn’t be further from the truth.
If the Ku Klux Klan ever dared to hang someone in 2015, it would have to deal with the outrage of hundreds of thousands, calling for the murderers’ heads – not exactly approval.
Granted, the region’s nickname – the “Bible Belt” – has been well-earned because, from western Texas to the Carolinas, Southerners love their respective monotheistic religions.
Catholic high schools are fairly common, but function alongside both public and private learning institutions, which are typically more populous.
However, the KKK doesn’t speak for church-goers any more- in fact, it hardly has a voice at all.
Almost every separate denomination of Christianity has condemned the group, which believes it stands for “White Christian America”.
For the vast majority of Southerners, the Ku Klux Klan has about as much of an effect on our lives as it does on the lives of average Londoners.
The Ku Klux Klan’s state-of-the-art website exhibits the organisation’s technological prowess (and a surprising lack of Comic Sans. Good on you, KKK).
It’s a dying hate group of ignorant and terrified Baby Boomers, who haven’t been able to come to terms with social change since the legalisation of interracial marriage.
Their heinous actions and everything they represent belong in our American history books and, for the most part, stay there.
The simple fact that the Ku Klux Klan even has to advertise for membership proves that its peak happened a long, long time ago.
Historically, that claim checks out as well.
The Ku Klux Klan has had three waves of participation.
The first cropped up in the mid-19th century and the second manifested again in the early 20th century, dying out before the 1950s.
In their prime in the 1920’s, the Klan initiated between three and six million members- an alarming number.
To everyone’s relief, the current KKK, which was sparked in the late 1940s, only claims a mere five to eight thousand.
Putting that into perspective, the entire state of Louisiana has closer to five million residents.
I’ve read comments from Internet users around the world, calling the Ku Klux Klan the “modern day US internal version of Islamic State,” but the KKK wishes it had that sort of effect.
I’ve lived in both the New Orleans metropolitan area and the oldest city in the state- never have I once seen the white costumes outside of a text book.
In particular, New Orleans nurtures a very strong LGBT culture and celebrated the same-sex marriage legalisation in June, just like many other cities throughout the States.
Am I saying that racism is non-existent throughout the South?
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We still have our societal problems that we’re trying to overcome, but none of those issues include the Ku Klux Klan.
My state has more than its fair share of passionate Republican voters, but the far-reaching majority of them denounce the organisation, just like everyone else.
In the past, the KKK would cover their faces at night because they worked during the day as government officials, attorneys and ministers.
Now, they use their masks to hide like cowards because, if anyone outside of the Klan knew they belonged, they’d be ostracised.
Giving the organisation media attention is exactly what it wants because it receives no praise from the community.
My advice is to ignore them, like we do at home, because they’re not recruiting our Southern children nor are they preaching at the pulpits.
They’re fading away in rocking chairs on front porches, ranting about the “good ole days” and knowing, deep down, that their cause has failed.
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