It is well-known how terrible racism can be.

 

It
is well-known how terrible racism can be. It can be personal, institutional, or
social. Often racism is both learned from others and born of ignorance from not
interacting with people who are from a different culture and ethnic heritage.
This historic experience has been enhanced by the selective outrage at some
forms of discrimination and the silent support of other expressions of
discrimination 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 heavy
burden for some to bear.  It causes the
very real pain in people’s lives.

Discrimination
deprives people of dignity and a chance for a better and happier life. All
people should be able to be objectively evaluated. The attitude towards them
should be based on their personal qualities and cognitive abilities. Prejudice
does not allow a person to breathe in full.

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Migration
waves in Europe, terrorist acts and political scandals associated with persons
of non-European origin. Every day the modern world gives us new challenges. How
to react to them? This remains on the conscience of each of us. However, there
is a certain type of people – well-known back in the days and now -white
supremacist fanatics who use newsbreaks to propagate their unhealthy ideas, who
put themselves above the other nations in order to achieve their insane
dreamland. This phenomenon is very dangerous for the modern world in its
precarious position. All it indicates the relevance of the topic of this
scientific work.

The
purpose of this work is to study the history of the formation of the Ku Klux
Klan in order to better understand their internal specifics, its impact on
modern reality and to be able to prevent the formation and development of such
organizations today, to prevent a new era of white terror.

History of
the Ku Klux Klan

 

Founding of
the Ku Klux Klan

Many people may say that The Ku Klux Klan is the most hated organization
in the US. There is no doubt, that this statement is true. The Ku Klux Klan was
founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865, as a social club by six former
Confederate 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 conference
and established, as they called it, an “Invisible Empire of the
South.”

As their first leader, they chose leading Confederate general and slave
trader Nathan Bedford Forrest, he was given the title of “grand
wizard” 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 the
second phase of post-Civil War Reconstruction, put into place by the more
radical members of the Republican Party in Congress. After rejecting President
Andrew Johnson’s relatively lenient Reconstruction policies, in place from 1865
to 1866, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over the presidential veto.
Under its provisions, the South was divided into five military districts, and
each state was required to approve the 14th Amendment, which granted “equal
protection” of the Constitution to former slaves and enacted universal male
suffrage.

 

The Ku Klux
Klan violence in the South

From 1867 onward, African-American participation in public life in the
South became one of the most radical aspects of Reconstruction, as blacks won
election to southern state governments and even to the U.S. Congress. For its
part, the Ku Klux Klan dedicated itself to an underground campaign of violence
against Republican leaders and voters (both black and white) in an effort to
reverse the policies of Radical Reconstruction and restore white supremacy in
the South. They were joined in this struggle by similar organizations such as
the Knights of the White Camelia (launched in Louisiana in 1867) and the White
Brotherhood.

At least 10 percent of the black legislators elected during the
1867-1868 constitutional conventions became victims of violence during
Reconstruction, including seven who were killed. White Republicans (derided as
“carpetbaggers” and “scalawags”) and black institutions such as schools and churches—symbols
of 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 clear
leadership. Local Klan members–often wearing masks and dressed in the
organization’s signature long white robes and hoods–usually carried out their
attacks at night, acting on their own but in support of the common goals of
defeating Radical Reconstruction and restoring white supremacy in the South.
Klan activity flourished particularly in the regions of the South where blacks
were a minority or a small majority of the population, and was relatively
limited 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 lynched
eight black prisoners.

 

The Ku Klux
Klan and the end of the reconstruction

Though Democratic leaders would later attribute Ku Klux Klan violence to
poorer southern whites, the organization’s membership crossed class lines, from
small farmers and laborers to planters, lawyers, merchants, physicians and
ministers. In the regions where most Klan activity took place, local law
enforcement officials either belonged to the Klan or declined to take action
against it, and even those who arrested accused Klansmen found it difficult to
find witnesses willing to testify against them. Other leading white citizens in
the 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 for
help, resulting in the passage of three Enforcement Acts, the strongest of
which was the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.

For the first time, the Ku Klux Klan Act designated certain crimes
committed by individuals as federal offenses, including conspiracies to deprive
citizens of the right to hold office, serve on juries and enjoy the equal
protection of the law. The act authorized the president to suspend the writ of
habeas corpus and arrest accused individuals without charge, and to send
federal forces to suppress Klan violence. This expansion of federal
authority–which Ulysses S. Grant promptly used in 1871 to crush Klan activity
in South Carolina and other areas of the South–outraged Democrats and even
alarmed many Republicans. From the early 1870s onward, white supremacy
gradually 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 of
the Ku Klux Klan

In 1915, white Protestant nativists organized a revival of the Ku Klux
Klan near Atlanta, Georgia, inspired by their romantic view of the Old South as
well 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-black
but also took a stand against Roman Catholics, Jews, foreigners and organized
labor. It was fueled by growing hostility to the surge in immigration that
America experienced in the early 20th century along with fears of communist
revolution akin to the Bolshevik triumph in Russia in 1917. The organization
took as its symbol a burning cross and held rallies, parades and marches around
the country. At its peak in the 1920s, Klan membership exceeded 4 million
people nationwide.

The Great Depression in the 1930s depleted the Klan’s membership ranks,
and the organization temporarily disbanded in 1944. The civil rights movement
of the 1960s saw a surge of local Klan activity across the South, including the
bombings, beatings and shootings of black and white activists. These actions,
carried out in secret but apparently the work of local Klansmen, outraged the
nation and helped win support for the civil rights cause.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson delivered a speech publicly condemning
the Klan and announcing the arrest of four Klansmen in connection with the
murder of a white female civil rights worker in Alabama. The cases of
Klan-related violence became more isolated in the decades to come, though
fragmented groups became aligned with neo-Nazi or other right-wing extremist
organizations from the 1970s onward. In the early 1990s, the Klan was estimated
to have between 6,000 and 10,000 active members, mostly in the Deep South.

 

Symbols of
hate

As any other terrorist organization, Ku Klux Klan has its own pool of
special signs and symbols to messaging encrypted and recognizing its members in
the 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 the
burning cross. Cross-burnings (called “cross-lightings” by Ku Klux
Klan 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 Klan
rituals as well as in attempts to intimidate and terrorize victims of Klan
groups.

However, nowadays the Ku Klux Klan is very fervent about the burning
cross and claims that in the past the associations of burning crosses with the
expression of hatred were the result of the activities of a rogue group or
offshoot groups, and attempt to intimidate and terrorize. An example of such
groups-offshoots are the Silver Dollar Group and the Water-snake Band, who
committed many crimes during the civil rights struggle for blacks in the United
States.

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 (an
acronym for “Mystic Insignia of a Klansman”). It is more commonly
referred to as the “Blood Drop” Cross. It appears as a square white
cross in black outline against a circular red background. In the middle of the
cross is what appears to be a drop of red blood. Though even most Klan group
members do not know it, this symbol originated as neither a cross nor a blood
drop. In the early 1900s, when the so-called “Second Ku Klux Klan”
emerged, it adopted a symbol consisting of four letter “K” images
arranged in a square facing outwards. In the center was a yin-yang symbol. In
subsequent years, however, the four letters were re-oriented to a vertical
position, 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 colored
part, which resembled a drop of blood. Thus, eventually, many Klansmen came to
believe 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 variety
of salutes and hand signs both public and private. Most of the hand signs and
gestures used by the first and second Ku Klux Klans have fallen by the wayside
over the years, except for the Klan salute, which dates back to 1915. It
resembles a Nazi salute (which some Klan members will also use), except that it
is performed with the left arm. Often Klan members will separate the fingers of
their hand when making the salute (to represent the 4 K’s of Knights of the Ku
Klux Klan).

The hood and robes of Ku Klux Klan members are the most visible Klan
symbol of all, so much so that a hooded and robed Klansman is a popular type of
tattoo 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 to
Klan group.

The above are the well-known symbols of the clan, but there are also a
large 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 the
Ku 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 this
with the number 6, to indicate the historical “era” of the Klan they
think 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 times
11 equals “KKK,” for example, Ku Klux Klan.

“FGRN” is a Ku Klux Klan acronym for “For God, Race and
Nation,” a common Klan slogan. It is one of a number of slogans, codes and
rituals created by the Second Ku Klux Klan in the early 20th century. That Klan
did not survive, but many of its codes and rituals were adopted by later Klan
groups. 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 is
related to another Klan acronym, “AYAK” (“Are You A Klansman?”).
These are among the many acronyms developed by the Second Ku Klux Klan that
emerged in 1915. There is also a secret acronym for greetings – “KIGY” is Ku
Klux Klan shorthand for “Klansman I Greet You.”

 

Ku Klux Klan
and modern manifestations of racism

 

Ku Klux Klan
nowadays

The general rules for those who want to join the Ku Klux Klan today look
like this: “The applicant must be a white man of no Jewish origin, not using
drugs and have no criminal record, in a sober mind, with good character, not
homosexual, with a good reputation and worthy vocation, to be a believing
Christian and to be faithful and keen on the Ku Klux Klan in all aspects
without questions.

If the applicant who has submitted the application meets all the
requirements, he will be given a probationary period, after which it will be
necessary to pass the ritual of initiation. After this, he will swear an oath
and be knighted by the Ku Klux Klan.

In a sense, members of the clan have evolved; they no longer walk around
the neighborhood and do not talk about how good it would be to kill an
Afro-American person now. A man from the clan, if he does not have noticeable
tattoos and he is not wearing a shirt with radical inscriptions, you will
hardly ever find out until he tells you about it. You can, of course, meet a
person 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 of
racism, the culmination of which is a ceremony with a burning cross. According
to the ideology of the community, the burning cross symbolizes the light of
Christ and the light that came to the dark world of disinformation.

As it was mentioned before, the Ku Klux Klan is very sensitive to the
burning cross and claims that in the past the associations of burning crosses with
the expression of hatred were the result of the activities of a rogue or branch
groups.

It is difficult to name the number of members of the Clan. Alabama
Center SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) has about 190 national branches,
which consist of about 6 thousand members. Now some of them have only three
members, while in others there may be hundreds of people. This is only a faint
shadow of the few millions that were members of the clan in the 1920s.

 

How terrorist
organizations of the past influence modern people?

Many notorious terrorist organizations of the past
have lost their former state, now they have fewer followers, less funding, or
they do not exist at all. However, nothing passes without a trace. Let us say
that now they do not exist, but they still affect the minds of people. How can
something non-existent influence people? Terrorist organizations have left
their 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 in
many countries to streamline the information heritage of such organizations, to
create so-called lists of banned literature, the evil still seeps into the
consciousness of the masses. Yes, no one now can go to the library and buy
literature there with a clearly racist message, full of hatred for a particular
social group, but no one would go there searching for such content, because now
there is the Internet. Thus, governments of all countries should look deep into
the Internet, where thousands of online libraries with prohibited content
develop freely. Only then, it will be possible to destroy the hideous legacy of
terrorists, since it is not enough to remove all physical media – this is the
era of digital technologies.

 

Hate speech
on the Internet

The Internet has a lot of positive features. It gives users fast access
to information, allows for communication with others who might otherwise be out
of reach, and much more; however, the Internet allows for a lot of negativity
as well. There has been an increase in hate based activity on social media, and
the anonymity and flexibility afforded by the Internet has made harassment and
expressions of hate easy, thus making it much harder to implement traditional law
enforcement.

The topic of open expression of hatred based on racial or other signs
has more in common with science sociology, but this point will be considered in
the framework of this research work. So, what makes users hate people different
from 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 the
actions of other people or getting to know not the best examples of human
heritage, for example, reading forbidden literature, because a bad example is
contagious.

Thus, a professionally written book about the hatred of African
Americans can show a person that there is nothing wrong with a dislike that
this is permissible, and in individual cases, a person can even think that this
is cool. Everyone wants to be steep, successful, dominant, but not everyone has
a worthy example, so some children adopt the behavior of the characters of a
randomly seen banned film, and then subjected to humiliation of children of
another nationality on the Internet. It is necessary to limit access to hateful
content, primarily for children, then, year after year, the amount of hate on
the Internet will decrease.

 

 

 

Things are
getting worse

In our time, there are many provocateurs who benefit from undermining
the social foundations; it is beneficial that adolescents have access to banned
literature. Moreover, these people are perfectly familiar with the basics of
human psychology, which makes them the perfect soldiers in this information
war. They easily use well-known images of mass culture to create and propagate
the wrong model of behavior among young people. These people entertain children
on the Internet, and through jokes and laughter, they gradually begin to impose
their wrong morals on them. The logical conclusion of this terrible process is
the participation of teenagers in chauvinist, sexist, xenophobic rallies.
Teenagers fall under the harmful influence on the Internet and expose their and
other lives not virtual, but quite real threat, become victims during clashes
at rallies, go to jail for attacking people of another race. This will not stop
until states around the world strengthen the control over opinion leaders on
the Internet.

 

Conclusion

The main goal of the current study was to outline the history of the
establishment and development of the Ku Klux Klan, in particular, to find out
the current state of the followers of the organization. This study showed that
even though the Ku Klux Klan with its former might had sunk into oblivion, in
the south of modern America there are still separate formations of followers of
the Ku Klux Klan, but they are no longer as dangerous as before.

The study also discussed the impact of the Ku Klux Klan on modern
society and the manifestations of racism, in the surrounding reality and on the
Internet. The result of this research has shown that the information heritage
of terrorist organizations of the past still affects people’s minds in our time
and fosters hatred in them.

Together, all the results of the research give us an understanding of
the nature of hatred, and how to overcome it, and it improves our understanding
of the history of the Ku Klux Klan as the main object of research.