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Jul 18, 2014 | US MADNESS

Hate Group Recruitment: The Klux of the Matter

In a last-ditch effort aiming at reversing declining membership, Ku Klux Klan, (KKK), the not so lovey-dovey organization with a penchant for Halloween-like attire and pyromania, has of late denounced racism, rescinded their "hate group" status of glory days of yore and rebranded themselves as a civil rights entity adhering to biblical principles. Presumably the "rights" alluded in their self-identification are the liberty to hate, segregate and lawfully deport.


It would be heartening to bask under the diminished popularity of such an infamous hate-group (as, surprise-surprise, it still is classified by the Anti-Defamation League) if only the main reason for that wouldn't have been that other more hip, social-media savvy, supremacist groups have been poaching its members. A quick look at one of the KKK chapter's website, the sanguinely named Loyal White Knights (LWK) of North Carolina, makes it abundantly clear that they have been stuck in a dial-up, mid-90's internet era. So in a way, they may claim that they have moved on from their controversial past but ironically they don't seem to have yet arrived at the web 2.0, social-media-saturated present. In that sense, it is no wonder some KKK chapters' recruitment efforts are concentrating not on digital campaigning et al. but on a more hands-on, literal door-to-door approach.


LWK has for example been lately criss-crossing South Carolina neighborhoods diligently delivering, doorstep to doorstep, bags of goodies filled with candy. Their tactic is obvious, everybody likes candy; everybody with the exception of diabetic Latinos, obese African-Americans and health-conscious gays that is, all of whom coincidentally the group can't stand the sight of (not "hate" though!). The gift bag also included a minimalist flier with LWK's inspirationally mnemonic motto ("Save our land, join the clan") and their contact details (the old fashioned kind, no mention of any facebook, instagram, pinterest or other social media profile).


Of course, in a mixed-raced neighborhood like this one, people outside the KKK's target group (non-white, non-straight & non-Christian), also end up inadvertently receiving such promotional material, especially since, as the LWK's Imperial Klaliff pointedly stated, they, the LWK volunteers, "can't tell who lives in a house, whether they're black, white, Mexican, gay" and if they attempted to speculate as much then " you'd be pretty much a racist" and as mentioned above they wish no longer to be identified as such. One might say that by not discriminating who you give racist material to, they both appear less racist (albeit not under scrutiny) and at the same time manage to intimidate those recipients they "used to hate", quite a bold PR move.


By KKK standards the above initiative was quite low key, especially compared to previous recruitment drives involving outdoor gatherings for cross-burning (or more politically/religiously correctly "cross-lighting"), their trademark event. Apparently it is perfectly legal to burn (light up) a cross, or any other geometrical shape for that matter, if your intention is not to intimidate (e.g. you may want to shoot a controversial music video clip, declare your biblical rage about your government's socialist policies or get rid of the props for that crucifixion reenactment that is always popular during Easter). Probably this is why there is a whites-only admission policy to such events.


Lest you think that all this "cross-lighting" entails is setting up a cross, splashing some gasoline and lighting a match, be informed that these all-night, family orientated extravaganzas are much more than that. Shooting ranges, minstrel shows, country or hard rock bands, refreshments & snacks (regrettably no fried chicken or cornbread, white people's recipes only), and much more. Special activities for kids for all ages are also available, including the always popular hanging-Judas-piñata, a more laid-back variation of the Hunger Games (less gore, more flowing uniforms) and  blackface charades. Special sessions on bullying are provides for kids, free of charge, on subjects like: "How to be the best bully you can be", "Enrich your bulling vocabulary in ten easy steps" and "Four ways to avoid the principal's office when bullying". A wide selection of souvenirs is also available for purchase with great gift ideas like a rolling pin doubling as an baton to chase away illegal-immigrants (for the wife that had to stay home to do some catching up on her Mein Kampf reading), or a "Jump JIm Crow" music-box (for the husband who stayed back to guard his home from the epidemic of colored burglars).


Future initiatives involve canvassing prospect neighborhoods and informing white people in person about the great opportunities the group provides to new recruits, like border patrols with a chance to hound illegals away and (constitutionally protected) hate-speech. In case the house the canvassers approach is occupied by people of color or dubious sexuality, the plan is to either pretend to be bed-linen salesmen or travel agents doing house calls to promote a special offer to a one-way adventure trip to Syria, Iraq or Eastern Ukraine.

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