comscore White supremacists? Not exactly, KKK and other groups claim | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

White supremacists? Not exactly, KKK and other groups claim


    The KKK and other white extremist groups don’t like being called “white supremacists,” a phrase that dates to the earliest days of white racist movements in the United States.

PELHAM, N.C. >> White supremacy is a label that’s too hot to handle even for groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

Standing on a muddy dirt road in the dead of night near the North Carolina-Virginia border, masked Ku Klux Klan members claimed Donald Trump’s election as president proves whites are taking back America from blacks, immigrants, Jews and other groups they describe as criminals and freeloaders. America was founded by and for whites, they say, and only whites can run a peaceful, productive society.

But still, the KKK members insisted in an interview with The Associated Press, they’re not white supremacists, a label that is gaining traction in the country since Trump won with the public backing of the Klan, neo-Nazis and other white racists.

“We’re not white supremacists. We believe in our race,” said a man with a Midwestern accent and glasses just hours before a pro-Trump Klan parade in a nearby town. He, like three Klan compatriots, wore a robe and pointed hood and wouldn’t give his full name, in accordance with Klan rules.

Claiming the Klan isn’t white supremacist flies in the face of its very nature. The Klan’s official rulebook, the Kloran — published in 1915 and still followed by many groups — says the organization “shall ever be true in the faithful maintenance of White Supremacy,” even capitalizing the term for emphasis. Watchdog groups also consider the Klan a white supremacist organization, and experts say the groups’ denials are probably linked to efforts to make their racism more palatable.

Still, KKK groups today typically renounce the term. The same goes for extremists including members of the self-proclaimed “alt-right,” an extreme branch of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism.

“We are white separatists, just as Yahweh in the Bible told us to be. Separate yourself from other nations. Do not intermix and mongrelize your seed,” said one of the Klansmen who spoke along the muddy lane.

The Associated Press interviewed the men, who claimed membership in the Loyal White Knights of the KKK, in a nighttime session set up with help of Chris Barker, a KKK leader who confirmed details of the group’s “Trump victory celebration” in advance of the event. As many as 30 cars paraded through the town of Roxboro, North Carolina, some bearing Confederate and KKK flags.

Barker didn’t participate, though: He and a Klan leader from California were arrested hours earlier on charges linked to the stabbing of a third KKK member during a fight, sheriff’s officials said. Both men were jailed; the injured man was recovering.

Like the KKK members, Don Black said he doesn’t care to be called a white supremacist, either. Black — who operates, a white extremist favorite website, from his Florida home — he prefers “white nationalist.”

“White supremacy is a legitimate term, though not usually applicable as used by the media. I think it’s popular as a term of derision because of the implied unfairness, and, like ‘racism,’ it’s got that ‘hiss’ (and, like ‘hate’ and ‘racism,’ frequently ‘spewed’ in headlines),” Black said in an email interview.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League, which monitor white extremist organizations and are tracking an increase in reports of racist incidents since the election, often use the “white supremacist” label when describing groups like the Klan; white nationalism and white separatism are parts of the ideology. But what exactly is involved?

The ADL issued a report last year describing white supremacists as “ideologically motivated by a series of racist beliefs, including the notion that whites should be dominant over people of other backgrounds, that whites should live by themselves in a whites-only society, and that white people have their own culture and are genetically superior to other cultures.”

That sounds a lot like some of the ideas espoused by today’s white radicals, yet they reject the label. That’s likely because they learned the lessons of one-time Klan leader David Duke, who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in Louisiana this year, said Penn State University associate professor Josh Inwood.

“(There was) this peddling of kinder, softer white supremacy. He tried to pioneer a more respectable vision of the Klan,” Inwood said.

Extremist expert Sophie Bjork-James, a scholar at Vanderbilt University, prefers the term “racist right” to describe today’s white supremacists.

“They are not simply conservative or alt-right, but actually espousing racist ideas and racist goals,” she said. “They won’t agree with this label, but I think it is important to be clear about what they represent and what their goals are.”

Whatever you call them, the muddy-road Klansmen said their beliefs have gained a foothold. The popularity of Trump’s proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border — an idea long espoused by the Klan — is part of the proof, they said.

“White Americans are finally, most of them, opening their eyes and coming around and seeing what is happening,” said a man in a satiny green Klan robe.

Comments (31)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

      • Allie, you really need to get out into the world and experience it. A sheltered life leads to paranoia, misunderstanding, and an overall misinterpretation of the world we live in.
        Do us all a favor-go out see the world-meet the various people in the world and see it though objective eyes.
        Yes, this world can be scary, but, unless you develop your own sense of humanity, books, articles and social media can only cloud the true perspective of our world.

      • Well, maybe it is NOT so scary.

        Consider this: Isn’t it puzzling that for the last 8 years we have heard almost nothing about “the invisible empire”, but now that Trump has been elected we are being inundated with “news” about the Ku Klux Klan?

        Perhaps it is not so puzzling, after all. For the last 8 years the Klan had their man in the White House doing the Klan’s bidding by stirring up racial animosity and divisiveness at every opportunity without the Klan having to so much as lift a finger.

        Now that a white man is going to be our 45th POTUS, it may be that the Klan fears that all the “advances” that have been made in the area of racial turmoil hostility by POTUS 44 are about to be lost, hence the need for the Klan to come out in the open and speak on its own behalf to make sure its advocacy gets plenty of media play. Otherwise, they may fear, given the inroads made in the formally solid black voting block made by Trump in this last election, peace and harmony among the races might be in the offing, a need to heal wounds and to recognize the role all have to play as fellow citizens if we are ever to make America great again.

    • Why resurrect an old worthless term that less than 1% of the population even promotes. Nobody thinks this, it’s in your heads, sure a few ugly characters will be found by the press but just because it is in the news does not mean it is any real part of this great country.

      • Nohea: “Why resurrect an old worthless term that less than 1% of the population even promotes. Nobody thinks this, it’s in your heads…”

        Most people in the USA, even its government, are actively using a racist term of purity, privilege and exclusion (“white”). Perhaps this meaning is not as overt as the less polite term “white supremacy”. But in many respects, and often unconsciously, they are the same.

        For centuries, and to this day, Euro-Americans have used the racial term “white” to mean “untainted” and “better than”. That makes it racist.


  • Trump has publicly disavowed the white supremacists. His current cabinet nominations include a Jewish man, a black man, a white woman, an Asian immigrant, and a daughter of immigrants from India.

    • Yes, and his “Senior White House Councelor”, Steve Bannon, is a creepy mam who produced right-wing propoganda documentaries and an alt-rught (white supremacist) propoganda website, Breitbart News.

      For all the conservative hypocrites out there, imagine if after disavowing Black natipnalism, Obama had made Jerrimiah Wright a senior White House adviser? Until Trump distances himself from Bannon and those like him (“You’re fired) he will be tainted. Trumo hasn’t done this because he thinks white supremacists are no big deal.

      • “…creepy MAN…”

        “… alt-RIGHT…”

        “…Black nationalism…”

        “….Trump hasn’t done this….”

        Please, SA, for the love of God, provide an edit function so your subscribers cab fix typos in our posts.

        • I guess you resort to that ridiculous statement because you can’t degend Bannon’s record. Of course I’ve don’t personally know Bannon, Trump, Pence, Clinton, Cheney, or Presidents Obama and Bush. Neither does the average citizen, voter or journalist.

          Since none of us will ever get to meet and know Steve Bannon, we must rely on the record of his words and conduct, particularly the content of his website and documentaries. These clearly indicate he had supported white supremacists, and that, like other propandists, he beleives in deception and lies – that the ends justify the means.

          What Bannon said in an interview published on 11/18 was truly creepy:

          “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they (liberals) get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”


  • There is no homogeneous white race. Also other races can run countries successfully, although I have not yet seen one successfully run by Blacks, but I have not given up hope that one day they will prove themselves too.

    • Allaha,

      I’m surprised to hear you say this, you’ve always struck me as sympathetic to ugly eugenacist (social Darwonist) views. There may be hope for you too.

    • “There is no homogeneous white race.”

      Correct. Americans who are consisted “white” are simply those with European ancestry. They or their ancestors immigrated from the European continent.

      African-Americans have ancestry in Africa, Asian-Americans in Asia, etc…
      Then why doesn’t the United States use the accurate and neutral descriptor “European-American” instead of the racially-charged term “white”?

      For over 400 years, Europeans in America, the Caribbean, South America, South Africa and elsewhere have institutionalized ise of the term “white” as racist term of privilege and purity.

      The persistence of this racist descriptor both reflects and perpetuates white supremacist racism in the United States. Like gravity ir the air we breath, this is so pervasive that few Americans ever think about it.

      Please learn more about the history of “white”:

  • Fascists and demagogues hide behind rhetoric. If they’re so “proud of their race,” why do they hide behind robes and masks? I just call them what they are: white supremicists who want to make amerikkka white. An irony of Hawaii: us locals would kick their okoles right out of here!

  • For anyone from Hawaii, the idea seems incredible, but whether few or more than few, they are out there and you can read their websites and see this– why they hate non-whites which they say includes asians (who cheat), and polynesians who are dirty moochers). There have been some incidents of tongans and samoans and asians, including some students from Hawaii being harrased and threatened in Utah and Idaho because they have been targeted by white nationalists. It has led Via Sikehema a former BYU player to apologize for some of the cultural practices of Tongans in the light of hate postings in Utah. They have some very polished and even scholarly looking websites making their ugly case.

  • The issue in Utah is compounded by a weird white cultist view that anyone not white and especially blacks and polynesians are cursed by god because of something called the “Curse of Ham” and that is the kind of harassment there.

  • I find it amusing that we have organizations such as Black Panther Party, Black Lives Matter, NAACP, Rainbow Coalition,National Action Network etc. etc. Not to mention Affirmative Action for hiring an admissions based on a quota of included minorities, instead of the best overall qualified. The aforementioned groups are ALL about promoting the interest of the Black community. They are never considered racist or bigoted, but are seen and promoted as needed by media, government and themselves. I do not condone the KKK, but if you are going to be calling out racism, the KKK is only one of many racist, pro skin color groups in the USA. [ KKK– founded as an enforcement arm of the Democratic Party }

    • The KKK killed fewer blacks in over eighty years than blacks killing blacks in one year.
      Statistics from FBI crime reports and the liberal Tuskegee institute.
      Look at Chicago, Filthydelphia, Baltimore, and like cities. It isn’t whites, and white cops killing blacks.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up