In 1924, at the height of their power, the Ku Klux Klan boasted a recognized membership of six million Americans. By 1930 their strength had been reduced to only representing 30,000 persons.
The reason for the KKK’s sudden decline can be traced back to the well-organized resistance that was established to combat the organization's hateful ideology. Two of the principal architects of the resistance against the Klan, was two newly established organizations, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Both organizations worked to penetrate the Klan’s secrecy, including unmasking its membership by publishing Klan memberships names. Additionally, both organizations launched public education campaigns in order to inform people of the Klan’s activities and became active political lobbyist against Klan abuses.
These organized efforts effectively destroyed the image the KKK was trying to present of being the righteous defenders of law, order, and moral values. By exposing the truth, the KKK was largely crippled and discredited to anyone who wasn’t willing to be an overt and outward racist. Activism by independent fractions of the KKK did increase as a reaction to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s. However, the Klan never was able to regain the prominence it once held at the turn of the 20th Century.
The cultural environment of the time is indeed a contributing factor of why bigotry and racism were not completely eradicated. However, another prominent factor of why the dark thoughts of tribalism that lurk in the minds of people weren't more severely eliminated can be traced back to one specific tactical failure on the part of the very organizations that helped facilitate the deterioration of the hate movement. Groups such as the ADL and the NAACP failed to unite with each other and present an organized allied front. To a large degree, this tactical failure is a contributing factor of why there has been a resurgence of racist groups presently.
Ultimately, in order for minority groups to be successful in ushering in an environment of equality and unity, minority groups must themselves unite.
Most people are largely unaware that during from the 1910’s to 1930’s the primary target of the KKK, de facto the principled leader of the nationalistic supremacy movement, was Jews, Catholics, and Immigrants. At the time, African Americans were too disenfranchised to be a meaningful threat to the American cultural status quo. It wasn’t until the 1930's did the KKK’s source of hate and angst turn towards people of color in America.
One of the principled failures of the ADL, Catholic, and prominent Protestant advocacy groups was the disappointing support that they pledged in African American’s fight for civil rights during the 1950's and 60's. Ultimately, these groups should have been standing arm in arm and been right on the front lines with African Americans and their fight for equality.
The fragmentation of minority and civil rights groups has allowed for the continuance of hateful bigoted beliefs and facilitated their permeation into modern societies.
All hate groups are motivated by the false belief in self-preservation and fear that their way of life is under imminent threat. There is some truth in there being a threat to the status quo, by the materialization of a diverse and equal society. To some, the change to the status quo is a very frightening change to their way of life. In order to mitigate the anxiety of social evolution, some individuals require an “enemy” to blame their perceived diminishment in cultural life on.
Ultimately, hate groups operate under a predatory-like mindset. Just like a predator they seek the path of least resistance or the “weakest in the herd” when determining an ethnic source for their fallacious sorrows. Due to a lack of unified fronts by minority rights groups, the latest enemy of hate movements is merely whatever minority demographic has not recently been vocal in the expression of disenfranchised treatment. Essentially which minority group presents the path of least resistance and appears to be the weakest in the herd.
The selection of the most recently silent of minority groups is not merely cowardice on the part of the advocates of hate and racial supremacy. It is also smart.
Ethnic target selection of the silent demographic is often wisely chosen in order to facilitate growth, strength, and support for a hate movement. Make no mistake, these white supremacy groups indeed abhor all individuals who do not fit into their ideas of ethnocentrism and the dominance of their racial demographic being the ultimate cultural authority. However, at the onset these movements gain traction by going after the most silent groups first in order to gain a following.
Presently a great number of White Americans have fallen into the trap of thinking that Alt-Right or White Nationalism groups and movements have arisen in response to modern prominence of African-American rights movements such as the Black Lives Matter. To a degree, many White Americans can mitigate the rise of white nationalism in mainstream America out of confirmation or implicit biases towards people of color and the rights movements that support them.
Many individuals dismiss the mere suggestion of inequality by people of color as being in itself racist. In fact, I would gather that it would be very difficult for the average White American to name one African-American rights organization that they consider to not be racist. When every minority rights organization is considered to be “race-baiters.” this in itself should be a massive red-flag of a perception bias.
Of course while confirming the biases of why white nationalism groups exist, what most average White Americans fail to actually examine is the ideology of these groups.
When one takes a quick look at the website of The National Policy Institute, the white nationalist think tank founded and run by the de facto founder of the Alt Right, Richard Spencer, they will find a section on the organization's “research.” Make no mistake, this is not legitimate scientific research and anyone with a limited exposure to published peer reviewed research, will quickly see their “research” is merely op-ed articles. The bulk of their “research” relates pseudo-scientific proposals of biological differences between racial demographics. Of course, the conclusions are always the same. Those of White-European ancestry process superior biological traits.
However, the first ethnic demographic that the organization’s “research” specifically targets for ethnic denigration comes up in the articles entitled, “Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement” – “Zionism and The Internal Dynamics of Judaism” – “Background Traits for Jewish Activism” – “Understanding Jewish Influence: An Introduction.”
In fact, 30% of all of The National Policy Institute's “research” is related to perpetrating falsehoods of their being a Jewish conspiracy against white people. 15% speaks out against the dangers of immigrants, and the remaining 65% are all supportive of some form of racial segregation.
So while the average American may think that these neo-white nationalism groups are simply a response to Black Lives Matter or the removal of Confederate monuments, the reality is that nowhere in their materials can you find a single comment about Black Lives Matter or the preservation of Confederate history. It’s simply not there. Instead, what is there is the quintessence of Nazi ideology. It isn’t even Neo-Nazi ideology. Rather, it is locked in step with classical Nazi beliefs.
This isn’t fake news and in fact, you don’t even have to find it in any news source at all. Just look at the very websites of these neo-white nationalists’ groups and look at the ideology and beliefs they are sharing. They are not speaking out in support of white history, or against Antifa, liberals, and minority rights groups. Rather, they are very directly expressing archetype Nazi ideology.
Now, just like the resistance groups at the turn of the 20th century, in order to combat this hateful rise of Crypto-Nazism, one must expose the methods in which they are able to deceive others into joining along or being complicit with their activities.
A central tenant of neo-white nationalism is the belief in the white genocide conspiracy theory. This white nationalist conspiracy theory suggests that mass immigration, racial integration, miscegenation, low-fertility rates, and abortion are being promoted in predominately white countries to deliberately turn them minority-white. The white nationalists say that the results of these efforts will cause white people to become extinct through forced assimilation.
Leaders in the white nationalism and Alt-Right movements such as Richard Spencer, David Duke, Alex Jones or Mike Cernovich all are advocates of the white genocide conspiracy. Cernovich is especially alarming considering he holds a White House press pass and therefore is allowed access to the White House and press briefings.
Ultimately, these white nationalist organizations will use any and every example they can to support the existence of a white genocide conspiracy. They have no real allegiance to conservativism or Republican political values. Rather, the more liberal stances on immigration, abortion, or racial and ethnic diversity are merely used as examples to support a hidden over-arching secret agenda to rid the world of the white race. This is why nationalism and populist views are also visages of white nationalism. It isn’t American nationalism they support, nor any of the varied opinions they hide behind such as anti-terrorism, law and order, or support of the working class. Rather, it is purely the tribal or Nazi view of racial nationalism in that the national identity of America is defined by the white race.
Many may consider the resurgence of white supremacy and Nazi dogmas in America to be horrifically repulsive and unthinkable. Ultimately, anyone that feels this way is correct. It is disgusting and a completely counter-productive component towards the advancement of society.
However, with everything that is bad, there also exists the presence and potential for good. Presently, the greatest good that subsists is the ability to overcome the errors made in our past that failed to effectively stamp out hateful ideology and raise new generations under the precedent of the beauty in diversity and equality. The most significant way we can do this is by joining together and uniting the varying rights groups and individuals who seek to enjoy a free and peaceful society.
We must take to heart the words of Holocaust survivor Martin Niemoller:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Niemoller's words speak of the dangers in continued fragmentation of support groups and advocates against hate and racism. Ultimately, by only being vocal in support of the concerns of our own racial, cultural, or ethnic demographic, we are by inaction supporting the beliefs of hate groups and white nationalists.
We cannot pick and choose which groups or rights we want to support because they are specific or important to us. For example, your opinion on the religious-sanctioning of homosexuality is irrelevant. If you believe in freedom for yourself, you must believe in the freedom of others. Therefore, you must speak in support of homosexuality.
The same goes for every other single categorical demographic that exists. As a Jew, if I support freedom and equality for myself and other Jews, I must support the freedom and equality of African-Americans. There is no middle ground. We must universally and equally band together behind the banner of freedom and equality.
Few generations are given the opportunity we have been given. We as a collective of diverse people have the opportunity to come together against hate and evil that wallows on its belly in societies until just the right moment to emerge and rear its ugly head. We have an opportunity to not merely support diversity in our words, rather demonstrate it in our actions. We can display the power and beauty of diversity by supporting all persons who are not like ourselves under one principle banner of freedom and equality.
This is a unique opportunity that our generation has to not only stand up to hate but also immerse ourselves through contact with others to truly discover the common bonds that bind all people together.
Consider this my rally cry to all major rights groups to come together under one shared and common goal. Additionally, I am throwing down the gauntlet to any individual who has ever said that they wish society could be “color-blind.” If you truly believe in that and you desire to see a society free of racial constraints, then put your money where your mouth is. Get off the couch and show that you can support others just as much as you would support yourself.
Let this time not be a dark era in American history. Rather, on the darkest of nights, the brightest of stars emerge. Let us come together and make this one of the brightest times in our national history. Let us be remembered in history for what we did and not what we didn’t do.