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Why Does the KKK Still Exist?
by Asma Gaba
The Ku Klux Klan, or the KKK, was founded on December 24th, 1865. The KKK is a white supremacist group; they believe they have a God given superiority over every other race, specifically black people. The KKK’s initial goal was to victimize slaves that had just been freed after the Civil War, during the Reconstruction era. They carried out attacks in where they would lynch innocent black people when all they wanted was political and social equality after the brutal years of slavery.
It might seem outlandish, but the Ku Klux Klan is still operating today, alive and well. Believe it or not, this organization that thrives on racism, discrimination and white supremacy is legal in the United States. Why? The KKK uses their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Today, the KKK doesn’t kill black people, but they sure do everything they can to make them feel like they don’t belong in the United States. The hate group believes in segregation- they want to make the United States a white man’s land. The KKK are against interracial marriages, believing that black people are subhuman- literally. They’ve been passing out flyers in predominantly diverse areas, such as The Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and North Carolina to induce fear and instill unsettlement into the citizens.
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The question: Why is a group that constantly persecutes a race protected by the government? Simple: The United States was built on white supremacy and institutionalized racism. From the founding of our country, there has been a problem with the white man’s ego and their superiority complex.
United States v. Harris (1883) is colloquially known as the Ku Klux Case. The Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to punish crimes such as assault and murder, and that the local government alone has that power. Essentially, it means that the central government of the United States cannot silence the KKK, no matter how incendiary their speech and actions may be.
In 1919, the Supreme Court concluded the case Schenck v. United States. Charles T. Schenck was passing out flyers criticizing the military draft to men of age. The flyers urged the men to resist the initiation. The court deemed that Schenck’s critiques of the draft were not protected by the First Amendment, since it bought upon a “clear and present danger.”
Let’s back up a few steps. Schenk’s flyers were written protest, but the KKK’s flyers are pure, unadulterated hatred. So, a man’s free speech that harmed absolutely nobody was suppressed by the federal government, but a hate group that constantly harasses black people is protected by the First Amendment. How is it that Schenk’s words were dangerous, when the crime he was accused of was written protest, but the KKK’s presence alone- forget about their disgusting flyers- has caused civil unrest on a very real level?
The KKK is, and should be labeled as a domestic terrorist threat, as they continuously attack the black community, rendering their safety a risk. Every single person in the United States deserves to live in peace- this is the land of the free, after all.
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