Itis well-known how terrible racism can be. It can be personal, institutional, orsocial.
Often racism is both learned from others and born of ignorance from notinteracting with people who are from a different culture and ethnic heritage.This historic experience has been enhanced by the selective outrage at someforms of discrimination and the silent support of other expressions ofdiscrimination by some political forces, some faith-based and church entities,and some media. What should be a blessing – the diversity of our backgrounds,experiences and cultures – is turned into a hindrance to unity and a heavyburden for some to bear. It causes thevery real pain in people’s lives. Discriminationdeprives people of dignity and a chance for a better and happier life. Allpeople should be able to be objectively evaluated.
The attitude towards themshould be based on their personal qualities and cognitive abilities. Prejudicedoes not allow a person to breathe in full.Migrationwaves in Europe, terrorist acts and political scandals associated with personsof non-European origin. Every day the modern world gives us new challenges. Howto react to them? This remains on the conscience of each of us. However, thereis a certain type of people – well-known back in the days and now -whitesupremacist fanatics who use newsbreaks to propagate their unhealthy ideas, whoput themselves above the other nations in order to achieve their insanedreamland. This phenomenon is very dangerous for the modern world in itsprecarious position.
All it indicates the relevance of the topic of thisscientific work. Thepurpose of this work is to study the history of the formation of the Ku KluxKlan in order to better understand their internal specifics, its impact onmodern reality and to be able to prevent the formation and development of suchorganizations today, to prevent a new era of white terror.History ofthe Ku Klux Klan Founding ofthe Ku Klux Klan Many people may say that The Ku Klux Klan is the most hated organizationin the US. There is no doubt, that this statement is true.
The Ku Klux Klan wasfounded in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865, as a social club by six formerConfederate veterans. That was the starting point of the dreadful story. Later,in the middle of 1867, local departments of the clan met in a common conferenceand established, as they called it, an “Invisible Empire of theSouth.”As their first leader, they chose leading Confederate general and slavetrader Nathan Bedford Forrest, he was given the title of “grandwizard” of the Klan. Then he created and approved a hierarchy of the Klan,there were such titles as grand cyclopes, grand titans and grand dragons. The organization of the Ku Klux Klan coincided with the beginning of thesecond phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the moreradical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting PresidentAndrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto.Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, andeach state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equalprotection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal malesuffrage.
The Ku KluxKlan violence in the SouthFrom 1867 onward, African-American participation in public life in theSouth became one of the most radical aspects of Reconstruction, as blacks wonelection to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress. For itspart, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violenceagainst Republican leaders and voters (both black and white) in an effort toreverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy inthe South. They were joined in this struggle by similar organizations such asthe Knights of the White Camelia (launched in Louisiana in 1867) and the WhiteBrotherhood.
At least 10 percent of the black legislators elected during the1867-1868 constitutional conventions became victims of violence duringReconstruction, including seven who were killed. White Republicans (derided as”carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”) and black institutions such as schools and churches—symbolsof black autonomy—were also targets for Klan attacks.By 1870, the Ku Klux Klan had branches in nearly every southern state.Even at its height, the Klan did not boast a well-organized structure or clearleadership. Local Klan members–often wearing masks and dressed in theorganization’s signature long white robes and hoods–usually carried out theirattacks at night, acting on their own but in support of the common goals ofdefeating Radical Reconstruction and restoring white supremacy in the South.
Klan activity flourished particularly in the regions of the South where blackswere a minority or a small majority of the population, and was relativelylimited in others. Among the most notorious zones of Klan activity was South Carolina,where in January 1871 500 masked men attacked the Union county jail and lynchedeight black prisoners. The Ku KluxKlan and the end of the reconstructionThough Democratic leaders would later attribute Ku Klux Klan violence topoorer southern whites, the organization’s membership crossed class lines, fromsmall farmers and laborers to planters, lawyers, merchants, physicians andministers. In the regions where most Klan activity took place, local lawenforcement officials either belonged to the Klan or declined to take actionagainst it, and even those who arrested accused Klansmen found it difficult tofind witnesses willing to testify against them.
Other leading white citizens inthe South declined to speak out against the group’s actions, giving them tacit approval.After 1870, Republican state governments in the South turned to Congress forhelp, resulting in the passage of three Enforcement Acts, the strongest ofwhich was the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.For the first time, the Ku Klux Klan Act designated certain crimescommitted by individuals as federal offenses, including conspiracies to deprivecitizens of the right to hold office, serve on juries and enjoy the equalprotection of the law. The act authorized the president to suspend the writ ofhabeas corpus and arrest accused individuals without charge, and to sendfederal forces to suppress Klan violence. This expansion of federalauthority–which Ulysses S. Grant promptly used in 1871 to crush Klan activityin South Carolina and other areas of the South–outraged Democrats and evenalarmed many Republicans. From the early 1870s onward, white supremacygradually reasserted its hold on the South as support for Reconstruction waned;by the end of 1876, the entire South was under Democratic control once again. Revival ofthe Ku Klux KlanIn 1915, white Protestant nativists organized a revival of the Ku KluxKlan near Atlanta, Georgia, inspired by their romantic view of the Old South aswell as Thomas Dixon’s 1905 book “The Clansman” and D.
W. Griffith’s 1915 film”Birth of a Nation.” This second generation of the Klan was not only anti-blackbut also took a stand against Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners and organizedlabor. It was fueled by growing hostility to the surge in immigration thatAmerica experienced in the early 20th century along with fears of communistrevolution akin to the Bolshevik triumph in Russia in 1917. The organizationtook as its symbol a burning cross and held rallies, parades and marches aroundthe country. At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 millionpeople nationwide.The Great Depression in the 1930s depleted the Klan’s membership ranks,and the organization temporarily disbanded in 1944.
The civil rights movementof the 1960s saw a surge of local Klan activity across the South, including thebombings, beatings and shootings of black and white activists. These actions,carried out in secret but apparently the work of local Klansmen, outraged thenation and helped win support for the civil rights cause. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered a speech publicly condemningthe Klan and announcing the arrest of four Klansmen in connection with themurder of a white female civil rights worker in Alabama. The cases ofKlan-related violence became more isolated in the decades to come, thoughfragmented groups became aligned with neo-Nazi or other right-wing extremistorganizations from the 1970s onward. In the early 1990s, the Klan was estimatedto have between 6,000 and 10,000 active members, mostly in the Deep South. Symbols ofhateAs any other terrorist organization, Ku Klux Klan has its own pool ofspecial signs and symbols to messaging encrypted and recognizing its members inthe big crowd. This list is a collection of the most popular symbols used today.To begin with, one of the most notorious Ku Klux Klan symbols is theburning cross.
Cross-burnings (called “cross-lightings” by Ku KluxKlan groups, to make it seem as if they are not destroying a Christian cross)have long been used as a traditional symbol by Klan groups, used both in Klanrituals as well as in attempts to intimidate and terrorize victims of Klangroups. However, nowadays the Ku Klux Klan is very fervent about the burningcross and claims that in the past the associations of burning crosses with theexpression of hatred were the result of the activities of a rogue group oroffshoot groups, and attempt to intimidate and terrorize. An example of suchgroups-offshoots are the Silver Dollar Group and the Water-snake Band, whocommitted many crimes during the civil rights struggle for blacks in the UnitedStates.For the past century, the primary symbol related to Ku Klux Klan groups(other than Klan robes themselves) is what Klan members may call the MIOAK (anacronym for “Mystic Insignia of a Klansman”).
It is more commonlyreferred to as the “Blood Drop” Cross. It appears as a square whitecross in black outline against a circular red background. In the middle of thecross is what appears to be a drop of red blood.
Though even most Klan groupmembers do not know it, this symbol originated as neither a cross nor a blooddrop. In the early 1900s, when the so-called “Second Ku Klux Klan”emerged, it adopted a symbol consisting of four letter “K” imagesarranged in a square facing outwards. In the center was a yin-yang symbol. Insubsequent years, however, the four letters were re-oriented to a verticalposition, causing the symbol to look like a cross instead. At the same time,the white part of the yin-yang symbol disappeared, leaving only the coloredpart, which resembled a drop of blood.
Thus, eventually, many Klansmen came tobelieve that their symbol was a cross and that the “blood drop”represented blood shed to protect the white race. From its beginnings in the 1860s, the Ku Klux Klan has employed a varietyof salutes and hand signs both public and private. Most of the hand signs andgestures used by the first and second Ku Klux Klans have fallen by the waysideover the years, except for the Klan salute, which dates back to 1915. Itresembles a Nazi salute (which some Klan members will also use), except that itis performed with the left arm. Often Klan members will separate the fingers oftheir hand when making the salute (to represent the 4 K’s of Knights of the KuKlux Klan).The hood and robes of Ku Klux Klan members are the most visible Klansymbol of all, so much so that a hooded and robed Klansman is a popular type oftattoo among white supremacists, including non-Klan members and non-Americans.The meanings of colors or stripes on the robes tend to vary from Klan group toKlan group.The above are the well-known symbols of the clan, but there are also alarge number of symbols, that an ordinary person does not even guess.
“33/6″. The number 33 is used by Ku Klux Klan adherents to signify theKu Klux Klan: since the 11th letter of the alphabet is K, three Ks signify”KKK” or the Ku Klux Klan. Klan members will frequently follow thiswith the number 6, to indicate the historical “era” of the Klan theythink the Klan currently is in.
311 is also a number used by Ku Klux Klan members to refer to the Klan.The eleventh letter of the alphabet is the letter “K”; thus, 3 times11 equals “KKK,” for example, Ku Klux Klan.”FGRN” is a Ku Klux Klan acronym for “For God, Race andNation,” a common Klan slogan. It is one of a number of slogans, codes andrituals created by the Second Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century.
That Klandid not survive, but many of its codes and rituals were adopted by later Klangroups. In acronym form, the slogan is used primarily as a Klan identifier,typically appended at the end of on-line messages and postings.”AKIA” is Ku Klux Klan shorthand for “A Klansman I Am.” It isrelated to another Klan acronym, “AYAK” (“Are You A Klansman?”).These are among the many acronyms developed by the Second Ku Klux Klan thatemerged in 1915. There is also a secret acronym for greetings – “KIGY” is KuKlux Klan shorthand for “Klansman I Greet You.” Ku Klux Klanand modern manifestations of racism Ku Klux KlannowadaysThe general rules for those who want to join the Ku Klux Klan today looklike this: “The applicant must be a white man of no Jewish origin, not usingdrugs and have no criminal record, in a sober mind, with good character, nothomosexual, with a good reputation and worthy vocation, to be a believingChristian and to be faithful and keen on the Ku Klux Klan in all aspectswithout questions.
If the applicant who has submitted the application meets all therequirements, he will be given a probationary period, after which it will benecessary to pass the ritual of initiation. After this, he will swear an oathand be knighted by the Ku Klux Klan.In a sense, members of the clan have evolved; they no longer walk aroundthe neighborhood and do not talk about how good it would be to kill anAfro-American person now. A man from the clan, if he does not have noticeabletattoos and he is not wearing a shirt with radical inscriptions, you willhardly ever find out until he tells you about it. You can, of course, meet aperson who meets all stereotypes, but it does not happen so often.Most of the clan meetings look like a big picnic, but with the touch ofracism, the culmination of which is a ceremony with a burning cross.
Accordingto the ideology of the community, the burning cross symbolizes the light ofChrist and the light that came to the dark world of disinformation.As it was mentioned before, the Ku Klux Klan is very sensitive to theburning cross and claims that in the past the associations of burning crosses withthe expression of hatred were the result of the activities of a rogue or branchgroups.It is difficult to name the number of members of the Clan. AlabamaCenter SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) has about 190 national branches,which consist of about 6 thousand members.
Now some of them have only threemembers, while in others there may be hundreds of people. This is only a faintshadow of the few millions that were members of the clan in the 1920s. How terroristorganizations of the past influence modern people?Many notorious terrorist organizations of the pasthave lost their former state, now they have fewer followers, less funding, orthey do not exist at all. However, nothing passes without a trace. Let us saythat now they do not exist, but they still affect the minds of people. How cansomething non-existent influence people? Terrorist organizations have lefttheir terrible legacy.
Literature, films, stories, images in popular culture -that is how, for example, the Ku Klux Klan influences the current youth.Moreover, this is very dangerous. Despite the attempts of government bodies inmany countries to streamline the information heritage of such organizations, tocreate so-called lists of banned literature, the evil still seeps into theconsciousness of the masses. Yes, no one now can go to the library and buyliterature there with a clearly racist message, full of hatred for a particularsocial group, but no one would go there searching for such content, because nowthere is the Internet. Thus, governments of all countries should look deep intothe Internet, where thousands of online libraries with prohibited contentdevelop freely. Only then, it will be possible to destroy the hideous legacy ofterrorists, since it is not enough to remove all physical media – this is theera of digital technologies.
Hate speechon the InternetThe Internet has a lot of positive features. It gives users fast accessto information, allows for communication with others who might otherwise be outof reach, and much more; however, the Internet allows for a lot of negativityas well. There has been an increase in hate based activity on social media, andthe anonymity and flexibility afforded by the Internet has made harassment andexpressions of hate easy, thus making it much harder to implement traditional lawenforcement. The topic of open expression of hatred based on racial or other signshas more in common with science sociology, but this point will be considered inthe framework of this research work.
So, what makes users hate people differentfrom them? As it was written earlier in this work, hatred for others, unlike,is a learned aspect of a man’s personality. It is planted by observing theactions of other people or getting to know not the best examples of humanheritage, for example, reading forbidden literature, because a bad example iscontagious. Thus, a professionally written book about the hatred of AfricanAmericans can show a person that there is nothing wrong with a dislike thatthis is permissible, and in individual cases, a person can even think that thisis cool. Everyone wants to be steep, successful, dominant, but not everyone hasa worthy example, so some children adopt the behavior of the characters of arandomly seen banned film, and then subjected to humiliation of children ofanother nationality on the Internet. It is necessary to limit access to hatefulcontent, primarily for children, then, year after year, the amount of hate onthe Internet will decrease. Things aregetting worseIn our time, there are many provocateurs who benefit from underminingthe social foundations; it is beneficial that adolescents have access to bannedliterature. Moreover, these people are perfectly familiar with the basics ofhuman psychology, which makes them the perfect soldiers in this informationwar.
They easily use well-known images of mass culture to create and propagatethe wrong model of behavior among young people. These people entertain childrenon the Internet, and through jokes and laughter, they gradually begin to imposetheir wrong morals on them. The logical conclusion of this terrible process isthe participation of teenagers in chauvinist, sexist, xenophobic rallies.Teenagers fall under the harmful influence on the Internet and expose their andother lives not virtual, but quite real threat, become victims during clashesat rallies, go to jail for attacking people of another race. This will not stopuntil states around the world strengthen the control over opinion leaders onthe Internet.
ConclusionThe main goal of the current study was to outline the history of theestablishment and development of the Ku Klux Klan, in particular, to find outthe current state of the followers of the organization. This study showed thateven though the Ku Klux Klan with its former might had sunk into oblivion, inthe south of modern America there are still separate formations of followers ofthe Ku Klux Klan, but they are no longer as dangerous as before.The study also discussed the impact of the Ku Klux Klan on modernsociety and the manifestations of racism, in the surrounding reality and on theInternet. The result of this research has shown that the information heritageof terrorist organizations of the past still affects people’s minds in our timeand fosters hatred in them.Together, all the results of the research give us an understanding ofthe nature of hatred, and how to overcome it, and it improves our understandingof the history of the Ku Klux Klan as the main object of research.