In Wyoming, it’s a race to the KKKraziest meeting of all time...
09/04/2013 10:33 AM
09/04/2013 10:34 AM
“NAACP-KKK meeting in Wyo. said to be a first” -- headline in The Sacramento Bee.
In the course of my daily perusal of the news, I read a lot of strange, otherworldly things.
“Bay Bridge opens”
“Mayor Johnson in town all this week”
This NAACP-KKK headline jumped out at me because, first, who knew that the NAACP had a chapter in Wyoming? Is that the National Association for the Advancement of Cowpokes? No, it’s the real NAACP, as in civil rights. That chapter has to be pretty small, like the Norwegian Rosicrucian Manchester United Fan Club of Casper (nice people, free tinned fish), or the Liz Cheney for U.S. Senate office. But when I saw that the Ku Klux Klan and the NAACP had a formal meeting in Casper, Wyo., I stopped.
This Associated Press story, which is an organization that tends not to run toward the fanciful, seemed to be legitimate. I guess it must be true. So, why would the NAACP and the KKK have a summit? This is not like the Boston Red Sox in a three-game series with the New York Yankees, right? This is a civil rights group meeting with white supremacists with a history of murder, cross burning and racial intimidation. I would have loved to have been in that meeting:
“Hey, nice to meet you. I’m the KKK Western Regional Division Marketing Director, Aryan Division. Let me tell you why my race is superior to your race. ”
“Uh, yeah, hey, look. We’re off on the wrong foot here already.”
Apparently the KKK is interested in renouncing violence and moving in a new direction, which is establishing a white territory stretching “from Wyoming to the Oregon and Washington coast.” While there are indeed lots of white people in those states, practically everyone I know in that area is way more interested in the blood feud between the University of Washington Huskies and the University of Oregon Ducks. Last time I checked, huskies and ducks were not a race, they’re a species, like humans.
Given that the members of the KKK and the NAACP have the same mutual genus and species (“Wow, you’re a homo sapiens? Me too!”), I guess that’s a start.
The Klan representative, a guy named John Abarr (who didn't even hold the title of Grand Wizard -- he “works in a motel and is pursuing a degree in business administration”) actually joined the NAACP for $30, “plus a $20 donation.” He just wanted to stay informed about the NAACP’s activities and show them a little white love all at the same time.
If you’re in the KKK, should you join the NAACP, and give them a donation? Should you really be in the KKK? I mean, it’s a nice gesture and all, but it kind of defeats the whole purpose of being in the KKK, which is to be a hateful white supremacist bigot.
Oh, and the free costume.
Maybe this is indeed a hopeful sign, after all.
The NAACP Casper Chapter president, Jimmy Simmons, wisely declined to join the Klan, as I am sure he was well aware of the Klan’s activities and didn’t need a subscription to the newsletter ( KKK Today? The White Street Journal?). They’ve been all over the news for the past 150 years lynching black people, scaring the hell out of millions of innocent citizens, and providing cheap metaphors for lazy political cartoonists (turn x object into KKK hood).
If the KKK were really serious about racial reconciliation, there is one thing they can do, and it won’t cost $30, plus a $20 donation.
Here’s my $30 toward that goal, plus a $20 donation.
About This BlogJack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.
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