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The Ku Klux Klan
Of all the hate groups in this country none is as well recognized, or as uniformly accessorized, as the Ku Klux Klan.
Thankfully the Klan has been diminishing in power and in numbers over the years. However, that knowledge does little to lessen the disturbing impact of a Klan public appearance. It is a vile, disquieting thing to see.
But be seen they will as they march in Austin, Texas Nov. 5 in support of an anti-gay marriage amendment.
Not that the Klan’s support of the anti-gay measure is a surprise. Gays are not excluded from the long list of folks the Klan shakes a pointy-head at. In fact, the list is so long it’s easier just to say who they don’t hate: white Christians – the ones who think like them at least.
Waking up this morning to the news that Rosa Parks had passed away and then coming into work and reading about the Klan’s planned anti-gay protest brought to mind the “great debate” surrounding rights for LGBTs. There are those, black and white alike, who take issue with calling the movement for LGBT equality a civil rights battle. What Rosa Parks did, they say, was fight for civil rights. What gays do, they say, isn’t the same thing.
Mind you, I disagree. Civil rights are civil rights regardless of who is fighting for them – and regardless of whether or not you think said group should have them. But I can see where people are coming from. After all, the civil rights battle for racial minorities is hardly over. Racism is hardly a thing of the past in this country. It’s just less overt. There is a lot of work to do. Meanwhile here come all of these gays acting like its their turn now. Or at least it must feel that way to some.
But the fight for LGBT equality isn’t a fight with racial minorities over a limited pool of civil rights that only one group can have access to. The country as a whole is stronger when everyone is protected under the law. LGBT people span every racial category, every religion, every income bracket, every zip code. Currently LGBT people can be fired from their jobs or denied a lease or refused service at a restaurant and aren’t protected from such discrimination under Michigan or federal law. These are basic civil rights.
Of course, whether people reject or accept that the LGBT equality battle is a civil rights struggle, the Klan reminds us that equality has a common enemy. The hate behind racism and heterosexism comes from the same place. Granted, many people who also support amending the Texas Constitution – or any other constitution in this country – to make gays second-class citizens don’t want to be associated with the Klan. It’s distasteful, after all. Besides, the Klan represents the fringe right-wing. They’ve long been written off as an enemy to the majority of Americans. But sometimes it’s what you have in common with your enemy that reveals the most about you.
The driving force behind the Klan is fear. They fear all who are different. Mind you, they claim theirs is “a message of love not hate.” And as any LGBT can tell you, we’ve heard that before, and not just from some loony in a hood.