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Autor: reviewessays • February 23, 2011 • 2,411 Words (10 Pages) • 1,169 Views
The infamous white supremacist organization, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) Knights of the White Kamelia (KWK), held a rally at Bee Creek Park in College Station on the afternoon of Saturday, May 9. Seventeen Klan members participated, including two women and one female child around ten years of age. Members traveled from as far away as Florida to take part in the meeting.
The KKK held the rally in hopes of recruiting members from the Bryan-College Station area. They claimed to have received numerous letters from B-CS residents who were anxious to establish a local chapter. This assertion seemed dubious, though, based upon the exceedingly small number of supporters who attended the rally. Out of the 50 or so spectators, only about 10 showed interest or support in the Klan; the majority was adamantly opposed. Furthermore, at least three of the KKK sympathizers were not from the Brazos Valley, but Palestine, Texas.
The park was surrounded by representatives of the College Station Police Department and the State Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Agents from the latter perched themselves on the top of a jungle gym and stood in the shade of neighboring trees with their weapons ready. Police officers surrounded the entire area and physically separated the Klan members and the crowd with police tape.
The KKK drove into the park caravan-style with a large Confederate flag flying in the back of one of their pickup trucks. After they donned their white robes and head-coverings, they proceeded to set up for the rally. The American, Texas, and Confederate flags were prominently displayed along with KWK and KKK banners that proclaimed Anglo-Saxon superiority.
The meeting opened with the song "Koonstown," in which the Klan stereotyped Euro-Americans as hard-working providers and African-Americans as lazy parasites with lyrics such as, "Every Nigger earns his living off the welfare." Rev. Darell Flinn, imperial wizard of the Knights of the White Kamelia, followed up the Klan "anthem" with a short talk about freedom of speech and assembly, and presented a sanitized version of Knights' ethics, "We don't hate. We love the white race . . . in [a] legal, non-violent manner." His comments were consistent with the new "look" that the KKK has recently adopted to improve its image and boost membership. This includes a more positive, psychologically-pleasing emphasis on their freedom of speech and assembly, white pride, southern pride, Roman Catholic inclusion, and the use of legal, non-violent means to achieve their desired ends. The Klan could not hide for very long under their new rhetoric, though, before the real KKK came to the surface.
The next to speak was Michael Lowe, the grand wizard of the KWK, who began with what sounded like a talk by Rush Limbaugh, "White Americans are being discriminated against." A tirade against affirmative action and "stories" of white discrimination at the hands of "niggers," liberals, homosexuals, and Jews followed. Lowe, then, brought up the recent controversy surrounding a TAMU Cadet who was ordered to remove a Confederate flag sticker from his locker. According to Lowe, the Corps' ban on this divisive symbol is just one example of the widespread discrimination that exists against those with southern pride. Southern secession under a Confederate flag was his proposed solution. Lowe continued his diatribe with a southern interpretation of American history since the Civil War, and concluded his speech calling TAMU "a mecca of liberality and misinformation in the hands of Jewish professors."
Flinn and Lowe controlled center stage the remainder of the rally, and their scapegoating and name-calling continued. They referred to homosexuals as perverts, called AIDS "God's just punishment for gays," and asserted that persons with AIDS should be quarantined. Latinos were labeled "wetbacks," and African-Americans, "savages who think they own the city bus." Euro-Americans were praised for their "superior intellect and culture," and the ignorant notion that people of color had not made any significant intellectual or cultural contributions to the world was voiced. Finally, nearly every problem that plagues modern society from crime to poverty was blamed on those of non-heterosexual, non-European, and non-Christian descent.
Most of the spectators were TAMU students in their late teens to early thirties. Euro-Americans represented the largest ethnic group, followed by Latinos, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans. As to be expected, Knight sympathizers appeared to be Euro-American, though, one had to wonder how they could be without any African American or Native American blood if their ancestry had roots in the south, or any part of the United States for that matter. The most outspoken pro-KWK spectator was a young man with connections to the Aryan Nation. At one point, he approached a young female protester and a heated discussion ensued about what the Bible said about the status of those that are of non-Anglo-Saxon origin. The police had to step in when the white supremacist lunged toward the protester as if to hit her. He was asked by the police to leave the area and he complied. The other spectators, intimidated by the large number of protesters, privately admitted their support or interest in the KKK-KWK. Otherwise, they remained subdued and only occasionally voiced their approval. Catherine, of Palestine, TX, who was in favor of the Klan thought the rally, "would be better than Jerry Springer." While a group of blond-haired, preppy, grunge-wanna-be, TAMU freshmen agreed with the KKK because "if whites don't stand up for themselves, blacks are gonna take over and rule." About interracial dating, these same students seemed to agree that they were personally opposed, but they would not persecute someone else if they decided to date outside of their ethnicity.
Although relatively unorganized, the protest sent a clear message to the Klan that they were not welcome in the community. It started at the beginning of the rally with the arrival of five TAMU students, Kaleta Krull, Mary Elizabeth Fenille, Heather Madigan, Tiffany Tobaben, and Katherine Junkins who held signs with the following messages, "Truth in Diversity," "The Klan - N.I.M.B.Y.," "Stop the Hate," and "Don't Spread Fear and Hate." The students said they did not represent any particular organization, but considered it their moral obligation to protest the KKK. Other students and B-CS residents soon joined in the protest and more signs were distributed to the crowd. Andrew