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Dear White Women

Jun 19, 2019

Today, we continue with our conversation about the Ku Klux Klan, the history of hate in America, and why we're seeing the current resurgence of hate groups. There is so much wrapped up in all of this, so it is really very important for us to understand why it happened, and also, what might be happening now.

Fraternal organization structures, like the Freemasons, started becoming very popular in the late 1800s and the first part of the 1900s. In fact, they were so popular that it was suggested that at one point as much as 40% of the adult population of America held membership to at least one organization or fraternal order. At the time, the KKK was becoming more organized as a hate group and was looking for ways to establish itself and grow its base, so it started infiltrating these organizations.

It is understandable that the KKK began to affiliate with these fraternal organization structures because this really ties into the sense of belonging that is so important to all of us as humans. And what we choose to be affiliated with is really important for us to consider, because with hate groups on the rise right now, there is clearly a gap in our collective sense of belonging and meaning in this country.

Tune into today's episode of Dear White Women to learn more about the second and third waves of the KKK being in power, to understand why and how this is showing up in today's culture, and to find out what you can do to address the hate that is currently on the rise in our society.

Show Highlights:

  • Why the KKK started affiliating with fraternal organizations.
  • How people's need for belonging translated into a way for the KKK to become monetized.
  • The aggressive sales pitch that the Klan used to appeal to white Protestants.
  • How the Klan exploited the fears of the nation with their 'mission of social vigilance'.
  • At the time when women were fighting for their rights, the Klan was going after women looking for independence, as they claimed to stand for pure womanhood.
  • Why the membership of the KKK started dropping in the 1930s.
  • What brought the second wave of the KKK to an end.
  • The Klan, as it appears today, consists of four different organizations.
  • How the FBI managed to infiltrate the KKK in 1965.
  • Along came David Duke, who founded a branch of the KKK in 1975.
  • The cycle of hate and the cycle of hate trying to gain more power through our political system does not stop. It's important for us to be aware of it and also to protect ourselves from it emotionally, while not becoming desensitized to it.
  • Mass immigration seems to precede each wave of hatred and of the KKK coming to power.
  • Why it's so important to address the hate that is currently arising.

Links and Resources:


Southern Poverty Law Center


Books mentioned:

Hooded Empire: The Ku Klux Klan in Colorado by Robert Alan Goldberg

The documentary series, Eyes on the Prize

Reconstruction: America After the Civil War by Henry Lewis Gates Jr.