Part I. Introduction
The Ku Klux Klan is also known as the KKK. This group was most prominent in the late nineteenth century and the mid twentieth century. Unfortunately, even in current times the group is still quite strong. This is an extremists’ group that aims at spreading their views to as many people as possible both in the United States and globally. Based on Christian identity, this is one more example of how religion continues to be used to control the will of the people, political ambitions, and other manipulative techniques. Although the needed focus is yet to be directed to such extremists’ groups, their growth and influence will not be ignored for long (Boyle, 2011). Like other extremists’ groups based on Christianity, the group believes that it carries out its activities in order to bring “Hope and Deliverance to the White Christian America,” (Ku Klux Klan, 2012). In the members’ perception, they are the only true people who have a right to be in America and to live comfortably in the world as God had ordained them to be (McVeigh, 2009).
Like other extremists, they have contributed to domestic terrorism, racial activities and other forms of violence in America across the recent three centuries (Russell, 2010). This research paper shows that the group does not differ from other radical groups that are Christian or religious-based in the country. It also identifies the alarming strength of the group and their violent acts both in the past and in the present. This research paper also intends to recognize their willingness to fulfill their goals in terms of making America a racial and segregationist nation. Furthermore, it intends to focus on both the past and the present although there will be more weight put on the recent activities pertaining to this group. If serious actions to curb it growth are not put in place, the Ku Klux Klan will be identified as a group that can be of danger to the people of America and even globally in the nearest future. The group’s doctrines will drive the nation into going against the values of its foundation such as liberty and democracy (Smith, 2005).
Part II. Overview of the General Topic
As identified earlier, the Ku Klux Klan is an example of a group emphasizing on the dangers of Christian identity. These are extremists who are ready to do anything in order to make sure that their agendas have been realized. This is why most if not all terrorist attacks against the government, occurring prior to the September 11 attack, were orchestrated by groups that were racists, ,but domestic groups (Etter at al., 2005). The Ku Klux Klan is under such a category. The leaders in such groups base the beliefs on information that is found in their religion, but distorted in order to suite the agendas of the founders. Through convincing the people on this half-truth and distorted information based on Christianity or any other religion, the leaders convince the followers that they are doing the will of God and accomplishing a task necessary to fulfill God’s original plan (Newton, 2010).
The origin of such radical groups begins with good intentions in order to cover up their core intentions. This is another tactic of ensuring that they are able to attract as many people as possible within their initial stages of operation. It also acts as a camouflage so that they are not detected early enough by the government, thus being destroyed (Russell, 2010). The KKK for example, stated as a social club for former soldiers of the Confederate. The group was based in the southern region of the nation. Before the government or any other person could notice, it had turned out to be a terrorist group, which was carrying out attacks and other terrorist activities in the nation. The group’s aim was to promote anti-immigration, white nationalism and white supremacy. The African American race was mostly under attack in this region. The people who supported the Republican Political Party were also not spared by the members.
As stated, this group is considered to be a Christian extremist group. Like Muslim extremists, the group believes that they are carrying out the will of God when conducting their activities. In their perception, God appointed the white race to lead the world (Newton, 2010). The members of such groups are segregationists because God was also a segregationist. He appointed the children of Abraham as his appointed people, yet there are other kinds of people in the world. Similarly, he has appointed the white race as the race to lead the world as it already is at many levels. The United States is a nation that leads in he fronts of economy, leadership, technology and infrastructure, amongst other fronts. In fact, it is termed as a first world country. According to such groups, the whites are the chosen people as God allowed them to capture the United States from other communities in the same way He allowed the Jews to capture Israel (the land of Canaan) from its original habitants.
Extremists in such groups as the Aryan Nation, the NewChristianCrusadeChurch amongst others continue to evolve in an attempt to hide their identity as they find ways of becoming more powerful, influential and prominent. Most extremist groups were established in the nineteenth century. While the century was characterized by wars and other conflicts, it was also a century where extreme groups started forming. Groups related to Christian identity and other extremist groups started forming their initial members at this time. During this time, countries known as the developed countries were going through the period of revolution (Etter et al., 2005). Campaigns relating to freeing slaves in the United States were also quite proponent during this period and so white supremacy was under threat. The first group of the Ku Klux Klan was formed in the 1860s, during the occurrence of the above mentioned activities.
Humans have a tendency of searching for a motivating factor that will allow them to find a reason to face tomorrow. They also like being in control or controlling. However, there are personalities that like being in control more than others. This is partly a reason leading to the emergence of such radical groups (Hall, 1953). No matter whether it is based on Christianity or any other religion, the leaders’ main goal is to find means of controlling or manipulating people to facilitate the full execution of their plans in the long-run. Ku Klux Klan has tried to make sure that its agenda is fulfilled at whatever cost. Through its emergence in three different periods up to the current times, the group growing rate is alarming. Although it was mainly responsible for many terrorist activities across the past two centuries, it has still proved to propel its activities even in this century.
Part III. Overview of the Specific Topic
The Ku Klux Klan first started in Pulaski, Tennessee. The main founders were six veterans who were from the Confederate Army. Their names were Captain John C. Lester, Frank O. McCord, Richard R. Reed, Calvin Jones, John D. Kennedy and Major James R. Crowe. The name Ku Klux Klan originated from the Greek word kuklos. This words means circle. It would be used to define a band of brothers too. The group has presented itself in three main groups. The first group started in 1865. It was disintegrated in the 1870s. The second group manifested itself in 1915. This was in Atlanta, Georgia. It was disbanded in 1944. The third group manifested itself in 1946. It is still there up to date.
Since the emergence of the first group in the Reconstruction Era, the group’s main target was to restore white supremacy. They went after freed people and their allies. They conducted violent activities on Republicans and black people whenever they found an opportunity to. In most cases, the victims were either seriously wounded or murdered. The members of this first Klan added up to 550,000 by the time it was disintegrated. The second Klan group had the largest number of members and followers. The members, followers and sympathizers approximated between 3,000,000 to 6,000,000 people by the time it was disbanded (McVeigh, 2009). This group came during the industrialization period. All forms of immigration were on the peak during this period. The group called for the purification of politics, absolute Americanism, better prohibition enforcements and strict morality. Since there were a lot of tensions emerging from the rapid changes taking place, the group attracted many followers as people thought that it would put the white Americans at an advantage over the blacks and the immigrants. The third group came after the Second World War where Civil Rights movements were at their peak. They opposed the equality being called by the black community. The Klan made alliances with the police departments from the south, thus, making their movements and actions more effective. The group has between 3,000 and 5,000 members (Newton, 2010). This number may increase if the sympathizers and supporters were also included in the list.
The Klan’s activities were characterized by wearing masks and ritual-like clothes. This practice started with the first group. Their main symbol is the cross as the one identified in the Christian religion. The second group introduced cross-burning, a practice that is still evident today. These practices were meant to instill some form of fear in the people. Additionally, the masks are meant to disguise the members from the rest of the society. In giving the reason for wearing the mask, a man who is currently in the group in Mississippi said, “You don’t know who I am…You could think the world of me, and yet if you see me in this hood and knew who I was, your whole thoughts could change” (“Shocking Documentary”, 2012). They also chant and perform rituals deep in the forest during the night. This may be performing these practices at such times in order to hide their identity. Additionally, they also perform these rituals in order to create some form of unbreakable bond.
Some people and even significant authorities feel that the group does not pose a threat to the country in the recent years. However, there have been attempts of the group to cause harm to the public. In September 1999, there were tensions in Corydon, Indiana as rumors spread that the Klan was going to hold a public rally in their town. The town was saved by another emerging group known as the Community Unity Group. It counteracted the Klan’s messages by promoting messages of the wealth and beauty that emerges from diversity. The Klan in this area was led by Jeffery Berry. Since the security department was not as compromised as the one in the 1940s, the region did not face any serious violent attacks from the group (Newton, 2010).
North Carolina has also had its share of the Klan’s plans in the recent years. In JohnstonCounty, the local law enforcement officers arrested a member of the Klan for planning to blow the Sheriff’s office in the county. The man’s name was Charles Robert Barefoot, Jr. and the arrest was made on July 19, 2002 (Russell, 2010). At his home, the officers found weapons amounting to two dozen. They included an AK-47, an Uzi, rifles and handguns. They also put into custody ingredients for bomb-making, two bombs that were homemade and ammunition amounting to 4,500. The accused belonged to the group’s chapter known as the “Grand Dragon” in the subgroup known as the Knights (Boyle, 2011). These are only a few of the incidences that have occurred in the recent decades confirming the Klan’s threat to the public. The group’s actions show that it is still strong and active even though it may appear as a forgotten empire as Boyle (2011) puts it. They are ready to fight anybody who is against their activities and the blacks.
When interviewed, the leader of the Mississippi White Knights, Steven Howard, stated that he considers himself a white separatist. Although he also found the name racist to be a fair description of himself, he did not like the name bigot. According to Howard, “Black people and white people are nowhere related. In my opinion, black people revolved from animals. That’s what I think they evolved from apes” (“Shocking documentary”, 2012). The leader openly stated that a black person was not to be trusted. In fact, he stated that another leadership term for president Barrack Obama would send the white people to concentration camps. He also added that he would disown his daughter if she ever dated an African American or a black person. Howard only portrays the sentiments and the perception of the members in the Klan. Their aim is to make sure that the whites are the supreme beings. If it was to be done their way, people would go back to the slave years
The Ku Klux Klan exists in more than 40 diverse Klan groups. These Klan groups have many chapters known as klaverns. The country constitutes of more than a hundred diverse chapters. The headquarters of the Klan vary with the diverse Klan groups. The group uses the internet, leafleting and mass mailings as the media to reach out to other people. It also uses protests, public rallies, attention-getting tactics and programs referred to as adopt a highway, as strategies of promoting their aims and objectives. As identified earlier, their affiliations include Christian Identity, Aryan Nations and National Socialists Movement groups (Smith, 2005). Like other movements, they need financial support. Their support comes from funding gained from membership fees and the sale of paraphemalia from the Klan.
The neo-Nazi activities overshadowed the Klan’s activities in the 1990s and 2000s. However, the hard times resulted in the fragmentation or the collapse of the neo-Nazis. This provided the emergence of the Klan in 2006 after the neo-Nazi collapse in 2005. The Hispanics’ rate of immigration into the United States increased rapidly compared to 2000 (Worall, 2005). This increased the fears of the radical group, while it gave them a platform to promote their campaign. The limited job opportunities and the division of resources were issues discussed in such rallies. According to this radical group, the Hispanics, blacks, amongst other non-white Americans were enjoying the resources of a country that did not belong to them, yet they had their own countries.
Part IV: Analysis
In this section, there is a definition of the objectives outlined earlier. The conclusions will be made on the basis of the identified research methodology. The analysis identifies that the Ku Klux Klan is different from other religious based radical groups that promote racism and inequality among citizens in a country. The Klan is identified as the oldest terrorist group in the country having its roots back in the nineteenth century. Like the Christian Identity the Ku Klux Klan was founded by a few people with the aim of fulfilling their negative intentions (Smith, 2005). The objective identified in the first part of the paper shows that the group is willing to undertake any actions without fear of law or any other authority as long as their plans are accomplished. Although the group shows that it is based on the Christian religion, most of its activities do not align with the Christian teaching and beliefs. The Christians follow the bible. However, it does not advocate for the murder or the violations of the gentiles. The cross is immensely significant to any Christian as it is a symbol of salvation. Their act of burning the cross goes against the symbol’s meaning. The group does not respect any laws, unless thy have been made by the group. They do not even respect the laws in the religion that they claim they follow. These characteristics are quite evident in other radical groups including the Christian Identity groups.
Through the descriptions given in the second and the third parts of the research, the group can only be identified as a terrorist group as one would identify Al Qaeda or any Islamic terrorist group. A group than is not loyal to its own country is no longer associated with any religion, for religious groups tend to at least respect their own countries. Like the Islam extremists, KKK only abides by its own laws. They interpret the religious book as they wish and they execute it in ways that will suite their interests. The Al Qaeda believes that they are the true followers of prophet Mohammed. The group believes that by conducting the attacks, it is fighting the Holy War also known as the Jihad. However, it is not the will of Mohammed or Allah to murder children as it happens in many attacks including the 9/11 attack. Ku Klux Klan attack and promote messages of hate stating that there should be a superior group as there is a superior group in the Bible (the Jews). Ironically, the Klan does not like the Jews as they blame them for the world’s problems.
In one of the Klan’s website, they state that they bring “a message of Love [and] NOT Hate!” (Ku Klux Klan, 2012). The descriptions given in the second and the third sections of the research indicate that the messages and the activities spread by the group are clearly of hate to any rational person. As the other radical groups, the people promote their agenda by playing with the people’s psychology and perception of issues. For example, it is true that the immigrants bring competition to the available resources. However, the Klan fails to reveal the contribution these same immigrants make towards the growth of the country’s problems. Additionally, they fail to prove how the whites are superior to the blacks. They also fail to describe where they came from if the black people evolved from apes. If some members claim that the whites were created by God, they fail to give n certainty that Adam (the first man to be made by God) was white and not a Jew or a European.