The Klan is Back, Belligerent As Ever
I got this text message yesterday from a friend I was supposed to be catching up with, but she had to cancel at the last minute.
I’m so sorry! We had several neighbors get racist hate mail yesterday for having BLM signs in their yard. Many more of us have signs and we’re just not sure if more mail (or other things) are coming.
Oh yeah…other things are definitely coming.
F*ck them Statues!
About a month or so ago, at the first BLM protest I attended here in Richmond, a white girl was boldly holding up a very professionally designed protest sign that said: Fuck them Statues!
What statues? The oh so controversial Confederate statues that are all over the city of Richmond, Virginia. Confederate statues line Monument Avenue, which is one of the oldest, wealthiest and certainly whitest avenues in all of Virginia. Monument Avenue is graced with hundreds of extraordinarily large and beautiful historical homes, that surely once belonged to the wealthiest of plantation owners in Richmond, if not all of America. To this day these those Monument Avenue homeowners so love their traditions, their heritage and their statues on the avenue. The statues can be seen as many things, but one of the things they are thought to represent by those who dislike them is an incessant dog whistling to the Klan.
But now, the statues are down. The Klan has been ambushed. They never expected (hell, I never expected) a national, turned global uprising in defense of black lives. The Klan, whose entire purpose is dedicated to the constant oppression, terrorization, hunting and taking of black lives, (and many other kinds of lives as well) are feeling a bit threatened these days, and they are fighting back. They want those statues up.
Remember the General E. Lee memorial I wrote about in America’s Race Problem? Well, most of the statues that were apart of the General E. Lee confederate army on Monument Avenue, are down. This happened, near the end of June 2020, the beginning of July.
Now the statues are off of their pedestals, off the street, and out of sight: J. E. B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Matthew Fontaine Maury all came down. While General E. Lee, is still up at the General E. Lee memorial, he continues to suffer defacement still and his memeorial had been unofficially renamed the Marcus-David Peters Circle. It still remains the site of much Black joy. (Marcus David Peters was a black Richmonder, unjustly slain by Richmond police.)
There has been a battle over these monuments that has been going on for decades in Richmond. Depending on whom you ask, the monuments mean different things to different people. Love of heritage to one group of people, hate, oppression and hell to others, while people like me have been largely indifferent to them. All of that was until recently when I learned the truth about what these statues signify, why and how they were put in place, (largely by the Klan as a method of terror and intimidation) and who the people they are memorializing really were in American history (were absolute monsters). Now I along with many others, not only want the statues down from any public place…I also want the truth to be known about these statues.
Black Richmonders have known the truth about these statues all along and have had enough. After nearly a month of protests, the City of Richmond has taken most of the confederate statues down. Many of the statues were splattered in red paint to symbolize the bloody hands of those monsters who fought so viciously for the enslavement of black people.
Whether they own it or not, many of those who are viciously defending the heritage that they have tied into these statues, are viciously defending the white supremacy and the Klan, an organization the has been responsible for disseminating and indoctrinating much of America into the philosophy of White supremacy.
They are viciously defending the Klan’s right, to hunt, kill and oppress black people as they wish, (and police departments nation wide, but especially in the South, have had a very intimate relations with white supremacy and the Klan.) As we have seen white supremacists are everywhere (secret societies and police departments alike). These white supremacists will stop at nothing to defend their right to terrorize black people, they will even terrorize other white people. This is exactly how the American civil war started, about 150 years ago. The hate mail directed at my friend’s neighbor (who is white and lives in a predominantly white suburb of Richmond Virginia) was designed to intimidate the community out of resisting white supremacy. And why wouldn’t the Klan resort to these tactics? They have been highly effective for centuries.
The letter is so awful! They are threatening to burn houses down if people keep the BLM signs up.
Indecline and The Insane Klan Clown Posse
Burning down houses? According to the FBI, that’s a longstanding practice of the Klan. The Klan has terrorized countless African-Americans (in my own family) with these and other tactics such as lynchings, floggings, body mutilations, tarring and featherings, kidnappings, brandings with acid, as well as cross-burnings (a warning that the house is next).
My great-grandmother Willia had her house burned down by the Kentucky Klan around 1910. What did she do that brought about such an extreme Klan reaction? She dared to request that her daughters be allowed to attend school with white children. Black Americans have been dealing with the intimidation tactics of the insane Klan Clown Posse for quite some time, but at least, the last 100 years. Their tactics are always the same, they go after anyone, and I do mean anyone who challenges the legitimacy of white supremacy. It doesn’t matter if your are white, black or any shade of ethnicity across the global spectrum, if you want to say that black lives matter, you will likely be targeted .
Post a picture of Klan clowns hanging from trees on your Instagram? The Insane Clown Posse will insist that you lose your job. Put a Black Lives Matter sign in your yard? The Insane Clown Posse will threaten to burn your house down.
Anti-racists, if you are seriously committed to anti-racist work, you need to know what you are up against.
Indecline, which has been described as an “activist anarchist art collective” hung Klan clown effigies from a huge tree in Joseph Byran Park, in Richmond Virginia in 2017, in response to the violence at the White Supremacists rally that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Indecline uploaded a video on You Tube, with a behind the scenes look into their work and this commentary: If attacked by a mob of clowns, go for the juggler.
Indecline has been known for other extraordinarily controversial works of art, such as their placement of naked Donald Trump sculptures all over America.
Indecline also renamed the Hollywood Walk of Fame Stars after Black Americans made famous via outrageous acts of police brutality and murder.
Though this anonymous collective operates globally, apparently they choose Richmond for the Klan Clown installation because Richmond is the capitol of the confederacy; and also because Richmond is, naturally, at the center of the sustainability of White Supremacy. If white supremacy falters here, it stands to reason that it is threatened everywhere else it has taken hold. In recent months symbols of the confederacy (the confederate flag and the confederate monuments) have come to be seen as symbols of white supremacy (which they are) and have taken major, major losses, all over the country (even in Mississsipi!) this past June.
The Klan Strikes Back
The picture of the lynched Klan clown effigies is making the social media rounds, yet again, due to the latest standoff between white supremacists proponents and everyone else. Madison Hartmann lost her job due to sharing the photo of the Klan clowns.
And in response to that, she wonders:
Is hate towards a hate group discrimination? I can’t be the only person that something like this has happened to.
The backlash over the dismantling of white supremacy icons is here. Everyday Richmonders that I know are being attacked, (just verbally for now) by a mob of clowns. About two weeks ago a friend texted me this:
I just got my first “I hope you die a slow and painful death comment,” on my posts about the confederate monuments coming down in Virginia.
It saddens me that people whom I know, who are daring to speak up and out against atrocious racial injustices are being targeted with such threatening and alarming vitriol. And yet, I knew it was coming. I’m not surprised in the least.
Now the ball is in their court. How should they respond to the insane clown posse? As tempting as it may be, posting up pictures of Klan effigies hanging from trees, is not the way. While I appreciate Madison Hartmann’s tenacity in her desire to make a statement about black lives mattering (in Utah no less), I could have told her, it would only lead to a pointless tug of war with the white supremacists in her community, and she really doesn’t want to waste her energy in that way. It’s absolutely exhausting.
You cannot curse the darkness, you can only fill it with light.
And that was the advice I gave to both friends, in these instances.
I said to the one who received the painful death wishes:
So sorry you are experiencing this, but you had to know it was coming right?
And she replied:
Yes. I have gotten weird white supremacists writing wild stuff to me, but never one hoping I would die. Oddly enough, I don’t feel much but I realize it is a very violent thing to say to someone.
She followed up with general questioning about how to respond to someone who wishes death upon you; and in doing so, she received a lot of good advice, and support from her community.
And in the neighborhood, where the community is being targeted for having Black Lives Matter signs in their yards, I told that friend,
Continue to hold the light and not give into the fear.
And to that she replied:
Totally! We just jumped further in and I am pleased to see more people joining us.
These are dark times we are living through. These are the times where we see have seen so many people turn into Nazis, gleeful wishing for the oppression, subjugation, death and extermination of others.
But that ever was and still continues to be. What is new, is all this light that is shining on everything. There is so much light on the planet right now. So many of us are doing the work!
Hold the light…hold the light…hold the light! Stand in your truth; and turn that truth into love. This is how we win.