“Ma’am,” he said, “I’d say if a man’s a good Klansman you won’t know it.” Sam Bowers, “No Twang of Conscience Whatever”, Issue 86, Oxford American, Patsy Sims, November 6, 2014
Call me old-fashioned, but I am most comfortable with the group of Klansmen who enlist their wives to bleach pickled pig feet stains from the sheets taken from their kid’s blow-up beds in the effort to re-purpose the linens into proper anonymous headdress for a Klan meeting. This new, socially-media savvy and non-anonymous Klan has me a bit unsettled.
Frank Ancona, the Imperial Wizard and President of the Traditionalist Knights of the Ku Klux Klan was invited to appear on Chris Hayes’s program on MSNBC this week. Mr. Hayes made clear it was a moral dilemma for him to provide air time to Mr. Ancona and stated to a follow-up guest that “it is not something I like doing”.
Thank God that Mr. Hayes allowed his journalistic standards to override his personal reservations, because how else would I have been able to ascertain the level of disdain Mr. Hayes held for Mr. Ancona, were I not privvy to Mr. Hayes interrupting Mr. Ancona mid-sentence to end the interview? And being that I had never actually seen an actual Imperial Wizard (I may have seen a Grand Wizard, once, I think) I was curious as to what these Imperial Wizards actually looked and sounded like.
Mr. Hayes defended his having had Mr. Ancona as a guest in an All In post to MSNBC.com. Mr. Hayes said he had allowed Mr. Ancona’s appearance because the Imperial Wizard and his ilk had been “fliering metro St. Louis, speaking to a small, but real growing darkness in white St. Louis.”
Mr. Ancona was, as far as I can discern, invited on the program to defend the Klan distribution of paper fliers in St. Louis, Missouri stating that the Klan would “use lethal force as provided under Missouri Law to defend ourselves”. I am still a bit confused as to how a group of men posting fliers on car windshields in a Walmart parking lot qualifies them as experts, but Mr. Ancona’s distribution of those fliers is currently being studied by B2B experts on Twitter as a case study in how to raise brand awareness on social media in three easy steps.
I decided that before I discounted MSNBC’s inviting Mr. Acona on the program as a tool of sensationalist journalism, I should first research Mr. Acona’s qualifications: it turns out that Mr. Ancona is qualified as a Klansman, because his LinkedIn profile clearly states that he is the one who sets “the agenda, goals and directions of the organization.”
In fact, of his eleven recommendations by those who know him best, his top skill is that of “public speaker”. (He also receives high recommendations for “non-profits” and “event planning”.)
Not since David Duke’s ascension to political office, has a relative unknown fortune teller of race wars been transformed from the run of the mill unstable uncle next door to legitimate authority on race and inequality. (There was, of course, Charles Manson’s rise to fame in predicting Helter Skelter, but history informs us that Mr. Manson was as about as accurate as Nostradamus in pinpointing exact dates that doom is to be visited upon us.)
Before I could fully process the Klansman’s evolution from hooded knights into savvy and public media purveyors of hate and racism, Anonymous reminds me why there may be little to fear.
Be Gods! Could we ask for anything greater than the clash of masked men? To our right, are hooded men in sheets using Scotch tape to post paper fliers to light poles; and, to our left is Anonymous, working under the hashtag #hoodsoff and #opkkk, securing the actual home addresses and phone numbers of Klansmen and organizations.
It was through Anonymous’s investigation and subsequent posts to Twitter that I was able to ascertain the phone number of The Loyal White Knights, “the largest group Klan group in America”. You too can phone the Loyal White Nights at (336) 432-0386. I was welcomed with the kindest introduction, “Greetin’s, you have reached the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan…” The voice-mail also invited me to visit the group’s website at www.kkkknights.com.
I’m certain I am not supposed to laugh, but I have called the number a couple of times and each time, I find myself humored by the idea that I can telephone a chapter of the Klan; watch an Imperial Wizard serve as an expert on nightly cable news; and, follow this activity on Twitter. It is a 21st century we are living in, so a personal thank you to Mr. Hayes because without him, I’m not certain any of this would have been possible.