Klu Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan, abbreviated as the KKK is a far-right organization in the U.S. which has been historically known as an advocate for extremist reactions. Also known as the Klan, it has been agitating for white supremacy and white nationalism as well as being against issues such as same-sex marriages and immigration. The Ku Klux Klan has a constitution and bylaws and is considered by many to be a hate group. It started in the 1860s and was conspicuous for their white costumes consisting of masks, robes and conical hats. It started flourishing nationwide in the 1920s and introduced cross-burnings (Wayne 2000). The Klan has been engaging in acts of terrorism and violence. However, there are few members today and is composed of small and independent chapters.
Arguably, there have been about three versions of the Ku Klux Klan. The first version came into existence on Christmas Eve, 1865 in Tennessee. They were not very violent and would wear white costumes; ride around, and scare people at night. However, by 1867, the Ku Klux Klan began formalizing its society, rituals, and members. Under Nathan Bedford Forrest’s leadership, the Klan grew to over 400,000 members. This group is responsible for the torture and killings of people they saw deserved the punishment of the crimes committed against them. The group disappeared but later resurfaced in about 1915. This time around, William Simmons, a Methodist minister, came up with his own version. This is the group which was symbolic for burning of crosses (Perry 2000). It later became a trademark, and the group pushed on with their massive violence against innocent American citizens. It also ended after some time.
A lot has changed and so has the Klan in its adaptations to the changing society. There is a huge difference in the way Americans live and behave over the period. When it first started, the Ku Klux Klan was just made of ex-soldiers who had no agenda for killings, violence or cross-burnings. When the federal government imposed the hated Reconstruction Act back then, civil rights were denied and the South were looking for someone to stand up for them. This is why the group gained popularity. At that time, many groups had been formed which took the law into their own hands. However, it is important to note that, the burning of the cross was later introduced by a Methodist minister who wanted to lead his own KKK version.
However, the U.S. government moved fast to ban the Klan and its activities. The group was disbanded by their leaders. The American society of today is more mixed than ever. There are civil rights movements and laws which protect every U.S. citizen. Any unlawful killing by a society would be seen as terrorism by U.S. citizens and lead to its downfall since not many would like to associate with murderers. This has forced groups like the KKK to be more secretive and discrete in their activities. Their membership today is small and the Klan exists as a hate-directed white supremacist group. It is far from the KKK that had emerged at first. People in today’s modern world join gangs like the Klan in search of an alliance with other like-minded individuals.
The KKK has been using the right of speech to recruit new members. It uses this to hold parades, public rallies and marches in most parts of the country. They have recently engaged in membership campaigns basing on issues like Americans’ anxiety over same-sex marriage, illegal immigration and urban crime. These are issues that affect most Americans who want it dealt with, so most of them wind up becoming members. Most of those who join the Klan view it as a platform where they can express their feelings towards current issues affecting them like the thorny issue of immigration. The Klan’s activities are supported by laws which support free speech, or right to gather or associate. In this rallies they hold, the Klan leaders try to convince and recruit new members. New members can join since they are not forced to be violent.
The KKK is a hate group which incites violence with its ideologies. It advocates for hostility, hate and violence towards the non-whites (Wayne 1981). The Ku Klux Klan has been known to preach violence against religious, racial, sexual and other minorities in the U. S. There use of torture and murder against people of color or those who are considered to be against them makes it a violent group. Why should one race feel superior over the others? The KKK has been known to form ideologies that promote violence, terrorism and sedition. However, it is ironical that the Klan has always based its precepts on Christianity and racial identity. It is known to react with killings, rallies, or death threats when under threat. Its actions make them far away from being termed as a mere idea or religious theology and instead became a terrorist organization. The KKK leaders have been supporting, preached, planned and fomented violence.
As much as freedom of speech is fundamental, hate speech should not be allowed under the First Amendment. The First Amendment has its declaration of freedom of speech which proves to be a challenge to the government curbing hate speech. While it is okay for one to express his or her opinion, there should be limits on how far they can go. We should not tolerate any speech that hurts feelings or that which breach peace or cause hatred amongst another group. In my own view, when an individual uses a slur that indicates a person of gender, handicap or race, gender or handicap, his or her right to free speech has gone overboard. Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness despite their race, gender or disability. Hate speech should be that which advocates or violence or crimes of hate. It is that speech that encourages a climate of prejudice, which may, in turn, promote hate crimes.