I did not attend the rally or protest, just followed the proceedings. Contemplating on what happened, I struggled to figure out what there was to learn from what happened, but here are my thoughts.
We all learned that the protesters exceeded the KKK in numbers and in passion. The KKK group arrived and with police protection rallied for about 40 minutes, got in their cars and left. The protesters ultimately were dispersed by the police using teargas. I guess the KKK who announced they would be carrying weapons were less dangerous than the crowd opposed to the hate group. I wonder if the KKK will be back, this group from NC, or they got a message. Did they get any message, or only more resolved that their southern heritage was being eliminated by the masses?
The more I thought about this rally, the more I wonder why a hate group exists trying to live in what their ancestors from the 1800s thought was glory? Is there some oppression they are fighting now we don’t see or is it a grasp for former glory, long past? I actually understand the interest in reenacting, which we see a great deal of in the Fredericksburg area. Those groups do take a weekend and relive something of interest to them, and understanding history is important. I find that re-enactors in general are interested either in the military strategy, but not really the issues, or they are open to discussing the issues of the time, for what they were in the 1860s.
The KKK is something very different to me. They knowingly represent oppression and hate. They announced they would be carrying guns at their rally, not exactly a veiled threat to those who disagree. It’s an organization still attempting to gain power purely because of race. There is no attempt to understand or remember the past, it is a current battle for them. Sadly, the battle is one I would like to be of the past, but rallies like the KKK’s, remind me that we have not even gotten past their level of racism.
I wonder are KKK groups made up entirely of people whose parents were members and continued the tradition? Or, are there new members who see value in the KKK? Do they actually believe they are fighting white oppression? If their group disbanded, would they find another organization to fight their oppression with, or would they move on to productive lives without the group mentality to support their fears?
The KKK is something of an oddity because they are secretive and I don’t give them a second thought until they have a rally in our state. Are they more or less dangerous than the racial bias in everyday life? If we want to build a wall to keep a race of people out, or block people of certain religions from entering out country, aren’t those biases more impactful and dangerous then the KKK?
In these respects, the KKK seems just a weak, sad group. Weak in their impact to the world, weak in their need to announce carrying weapons to intimidate others, and sad and weak in their thinking, as they struggle to maintain a racial power structure from the 1860s. Are they a threat? It hardly seems the group is, but as individuals, their biases carried out in their daily lives are.
Awareness of their individual biases, and ours, is the key to improving our decision making and effecting real change so we aren’t fighting ideas of the 1860s.