BAR Report: There is no Such Thing as a Black KKK

The Black Agenda Report is a website run by black trade unionists. They pull no punches about being of African descent in America or the war on the union movement that has been going before  Ronald Reagan decided that we did not need experienced people in the flight towers across America. Reagan supported legislation that made it easy to import jobs out of this country what we now call downsizing. I do not agree with everything they write, but in an age where the practice of blackface is the rise, conservative media pundits casually call for the lynching of the wife of a presidential candidate and any mention of the fact that the black experience in America has been marked with oppression is deemed racist BAR makes treats this recent racial faux pas with insight.

There’s No Such Thing as a Black KKK
African America – Black History – U.S.
Wednesday, 05 December 2007
by BAR contributing editor Mel Reeves

Blacks that bash the rest of The Race are richly rewarded, even – or maybe especially – when their slanders are blatant nonsense. So it is with Jason Whitlock, a sports writer for the Kansas City Star and, who blathered that murdered Washington Redskins player Sean Taylor was the victim of a “Black Ku Klux Klan” – equating Black-on-Black crime with the depredations of white supremacist nightriders. The effect of this exercise in “moral equivalence” is to absolve the historical KKK of its crimes, since, Whitlock seems to be saying, the Klan treated Blacks no worse than Blacks treat each other. Past and present reality is thus mangled beyond recognition.

There’s No Such Thing as a Black KKK
by BAR contributing editor Mel Reeves

“There is a difference between racist violence and violence aimed at one’s self.”

Immediately after the death of former Washington Redskins Safety, Sean Taylor, Jason Whitlock, a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star and wrote an article entitled, “Tailor’s death a grim reminder for us all.”

In the article Whitlock says that Taylor was “another victim” of what he calls the “Black KKK.” By Black KKK Whitlock means the crimes committed by blacks against blacks. Now to be fair, every sane black person is pained by the amount of crime in our communities, but that does not give us reason to confuse racist violence consciously aimed at the destruction of our race, with street crime born of desperation and self hatred.

But that is exactly what Whitlock has done. He writes, “…the traditional, white KKK lynched, terrorized and intimidated black folks at a slower rate than its modern-day dark-skinned replacement.” Dark skinned replacement? My first response was to question Whitlock’s sanity. But then I realized that maybe he does know what he is doing; it sure got my attention. Whitlock is guaranteeing himself a job and notoriety as a modern day Negro basher. Black folks who publicly denigrate the race have always been popular in this country and it’s always been a well paid position.

“Black folks who publicly denigrate the race have always been popular in this country.”

W. E. B Dubois had a saying that probably best fits Whitlock and some of our more conservative black pundits, when he called them, “ignorant social climbers, whose sole claim to fame was the ability to kick Negroes when they are down.” Whitlock has been trotted out before. He was on CNN denouncing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for their involvement with the Don Imus flap. Now, many of us have problems with Sharpton, Jackson and that ilk, but they didn’t create the problems that they respond to.

Now Whitlock is at again, alluding to a fictitious black KKK. We have to jump on this term with all the outrage we can muster. We must not let this live – as they say in church, we have to kill this “Black KKK” devil. There is no such thing and the metaphor is inappropriate. It is as inappropriate as the characterization of the real life phenomenon of institutional and personal racism, as a fictitious “race card.” And you know how much we hate that expression.

White folks are already beginning to eat this term (Black KKK) up and some misled and self hating black folks are as well. If you don’t believe me, look at right wing and conservative websites. A black woman on My-space, who continually posts self hating and black folk bashing blogs, posted Whitlock’s article and this is how one white guy responded: “I wish you were the spokeswoman for the black community, instead we have to put up with seeing racism continue due to characters like Jesse Jackson.”

“As they say in church, we have to kill this ‘Black KKK’ devil.”

What Whitlock has done is dangerous, because most of our a fellow citizens either don’t know, or barely know, the role the KKK has played in the oppression of black people in this country. The Ku Klux Klan is a White Supremacist and terrorist organization formed immediately following the Civil War, with the express aim of re-enslaving the newly freed slave. The group was organized around the hatred and destruction of everything black: black culture, black hopes, black progress and ultimately black people.

Later, the Klan amended its program. When they realized that they couldn’t eliminate blacks, or send them all back to Africa, they sought to disenfranchise them and make them easy prey to the new slave masters, the capitalist industrialists.

The Klan and its cousins the White Citizens Council and others – with a wink and nod from the federal government – sought to keep blacks from voting and enjoying other rights of a free citizen of this country. These racist groups particularly made it their business to terrorize blacks and keep them marginalized, segregated and in inferior status.

White Supremacist organizations helped push back the gains of the Reconstruction era. The KKK was responsible for thousands of deaths and the displacement of thousands of black households during that very important time following the Civil War. The Klan even had the backing, in many instances, of the power structure, or the State. They set the stage for the passing of Jim Crow laws in the South and de facto segregation in the North.

The Klan and its kind were instrumental in fomenting race riots, especially around the early 1900’s and later during and after World War I. These riots, we have more recently discovered, had a much more sinister purpose than initially thought. As was the case in Rosewood, Florida and other small communities, when blacks were terrorized and run off, the land that was left behind was stolen.

The Klan was allowed to carry out their program of lynching, rape, torture, murder, thievery and mayhem for over one hundred years and only a concerted effort by the victims themselves, along with allies, put an end to it. The federal government never saw fit to outlaw the Klan, or put them on a “list” even though their stated aim was racist violence and intolerance. The existence of this group and groups like them threaten the very existence of blacks in this country, even to this day.

“The federal government never saw fit to outlaw the Klan.”

Yet Whitlock wants to compare the Klan to street crime, which at bottom is an external manifestation of the internalized oppression we still know and feel in this country. Please!!

There is a difference between racist violence and violence aimed at one’s self. Blacks who commit crimes are like any others who commit crimes; they don’t discriminate in who they victimize. Blacks kill other blacks because they are in closer proximity and because of self hatred. I think it was Paolo Friere who said that the oppressed kill one another because they see the oppressor in one another’s eyes.

Black crime and random violence simply can’t be compared to the systematic, “on purpose” attempt to destroy us as a people. There simply aren’t any Black Supremacists in this country. There are groups, no doubt, who have and continue to sell “wolf tickets” about eliminating “whitey.” But we know what there chance of success would be, so it amounts to aimless chest pounding.

So please don’t use this term or take it seriously. Crimes by black people against other black people are not committed by any so-called Black KKK, but are rather a symptom of what’s wrong not just in the black community, but in the US. The truth be told, if there had never been a KKK and its racist underpinnings, and if this society didn’t still assign – overtly and subtly – second class status to the black population, then there would be a whole lot less of this violent acting out.

Mel Reeves is a journalist and activist living in Miami, Florida. He can be contacted at


About this entry