Friday, May 25, 2012
Let's crash the Klan party
I’m tempted to crash the party. Residents down the street in Reidsville, North Carolina are receiving fliers inviting them to a May 26 Ku Klux Klan cross burning intended for “white people only.” I would love to see the look on their faces when this big black dude with dreadlocks shows up to heckle the speakers.
Years ago it would have been insane to suggest such a thing. Given the KKK’s long history of hanging black men for no more than looking at a white woman, the thought of a cross burning brought chills to anyone with at least one black parent. Who can forget the movie “Mississippi Burning” or the countless stories connected to the KKK intruding on the march for Civil Rights?
That was then, this is now.
The absurd suggestion that I will attend the cross burning is my way of making a statement about how I feel about folks in hoods. I’m willing to show up, yell at the speakers, pull off their hoods and stand toe to toe with them for one reason. I’m not scared of the KKK.
If white people want to show up to hold a hate rally about how they feel about me, then I’m willing to show up and tell them how I feel about them. Those tactics worked back in the day when they were able to hide behind crooked law enforcement. There may be a few corrupt cops sprinkled in the crowd, but that’s not enough to hide them from the truth. I will expose them with my words. I’m not afraid of the burning cross and mean words about people who look like me.
Bring it on sucker.
I may bring some hot dogs to put in the fire. I’m sure there will be a keg of beer to add to the festive moment. Yes, I would drink with the Klan. I don’t eat hot dogs, but hey, I’m sure they do. It’s the least I could do since I’m crashing the party.
It all sounds insane. Right? Who in their right mind would consider such a thing? I would.
It’s about taking their power away. It simply doesn’t work anymore. No one cares that you hate black people. We’re not alone. You hate Jews and anyone else that doesn’t fit into the box of white power. I’m sure it must hurt having to live in a country with a brother in charge. I feel your pain. Deal with it.
So, why show up? Because I can. Because I don’t care about what they think. Because I’m not afraid of that burning cross. It has no power over me. Because it’s a waste of time, and I would show up to remind them I’m not going anywhere.
Besides, there’s nothing like looking in the face of a person who hates you and taking the high road. I’m reminded of an altercation I had with a Klansman back in 1981. I was working at a local radio station. It was a new job. I had just left working for a television station in the same city. I was a 22 year-old moving up in the world of media. I was gaining attention.
“I hate Niggers like you,” the tall Klansman informed me after introducing me with his hate credentials. He patted me on the head like a person would a dog. “My daughter asked me if we and Niggers are the same. Hate she asked me that. It’s cause of Niggers like you.”
We were at one of those fancy restaurants that catered to white people with fancy clothes. I wondered why he was there. The thought came to me that he had probably followed us into the restaurant. I was the only black person there. I felt alone. I felt angry. I felt exposed.
He was at least 6’5” and weighed at least 250. I stood 6’1” and was a well-cut 210. Earlier in the day I had worked out at the dojo in preparation for my black belt. “I can take this asshole,” I thought to myself as I prepared to take a violent swing in the direction of his head. Then it hit me.
That’s what he wants me to do. I closed my eyes. I took a deep breath. I opened them and stated calmly.
“I hate Niggers too,” I paused to let it settle in. “But a Nigger my friend is not determined by skin, but by the way one acts, and you are acting quite niggardly.” I watched as his skin turned red. I wasn’t done.
“But if your desire is that I show hate in the same way that you hate me, I refuse to give you that satisfaction. I will not be ruled by your hate. Don’t misinterpret that as fear. I don’t fear you. I don’t hate you, I feel sorry for you because you don’t know me, but more than anything, I feel sorry for your daughter.”
Something took hold of me. Some may call it the Holy Spirit. It was like the words came from a place beyond my own voice. I was resurrected in that moment. He walked away defeated. He was unable to prove to those watching that I was just a Nigger in a nice suit.
That’s when it came to me. Hate can’t work unless you give it power. It only works when you share in the hate. The fuel of hate is more hate.
Wouldn’t it be fun to transform that burning cross into a weenie roast?
Better still is the logo of the United Methodist Church. It’s a burning cross. That form of hate doesn’t work anymore. The Church has taken the symbol back.
Pass me a can of beer and holla at your boy. Whoops. Don’t call me boy. I’m a grown man.