Give Hamilton Nolan at Gawker props for lasting a whole weekend with these cretins. The Ku Klux Klan, which is actually seeing its numbers decline, even as hate groups tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center have numbers rising, is a look into the past. Actually, not so much the past, but the quaint time when flat out bald naked racism just flowed from the mouths of bigots. Wait. Nothing has changed. Except these fools gathered in Harrison, Arkansas.

Much of the opening night was devoted to scoffing at a story by AP reporter Jeannie Nuss that had come out just days earlier about how Harrison is trying to “rebrand” itself, promote diversity, and disassociate itself from its image as a Klan haven.

“Harrison is ‘too dangerous for minorities?’” Long quoted. The whole crowd broke out in raucous applause.

“Only 34 out of 13,000 residents are black?” he quoted. “Too many!” came the reply.

“Now you know why people move here!” “Haw haw!”

“Who wrote this article? Jeannie Nuss. I just caught that. Noose!” “Haw haw!”

It’s quite disconcerting in this modern age to be in a room full of white people who are all spouting the most vile racist slurs that one can imagine, openly, while everyone else laughs and applauds it. There is a Twilight Zone feeling to it, as if you’d stumbled into a secret clubhouse where white people can say those forbidden things—the Valhalla of dumb racist jokes. These things are usually hinted at, or said quietly under someone’s breath as they glance over their shoulders to make sure that no non-white people are wandering by. Chris Rock has a bit where he imagines white people, in private, bellowing out “NIGGER!” at full volume as they sing along with rap songs. I can report that for the Klan, no rap accompaniment is necessary.

This long piece is worth the read, and makes you want to shower afterwards. But sadly, these extremists only make it easier for more well-scrubbed racists to deny that they assert white privilege daily without even thinking about it, and that we all are products of a race-conscious society. The Klan is All-American. The dark side of our fears and hopes, the desperate pitiable remains of a belief system that is falling apart as the races continue to mix, creating a sea of less well-defined categories, more nebulous boxes of “races” for these people to pigeonhole and deride as they assert white pride.

But just when you think that you can arrange your mind in such a way that you can comfortably dismiss these people, with their “72 marks of Israel” and “Trust in the lord but keep your guns” sloganeering, as a bunch of sorely misguided and ignorant unfortunates who’ve been too sheltered with their own kind to know any better, they bring up a no-necked motherfucker like Randy Gray, who ends his remarkably ignorant disquisition on Jews in the media not only with an exclamation of “White power!” (which the crowd repeats en masse) but, as an added flourish, by passing around a cooler full of Arizona iced tea and a big bag full of Skittles, as an homage to Trayvon Martin. “The choice of thugs everywhere,” jokes the slitty-eyed racist shit, about the murdered child.

 

Wow. Just. Wow.