I knew a very nice guy who told me his grandfather (or was it uncle?) was a klansmen, and used to take him to meetings when he was a kid. All he remembers, though, is a bunch of rednecks getting drunk in the woods.
The guy I knew wasn’t (as far as I could tell) racist in the least. He was a musician and a surfer, so he didn’t strike me as the type. But he came from a poor, rural family who grew up in North Central Florida (which has a traditonally Southern feel), so he certainly emanated from the demographic that often attracted klansmen.
One of my grandmothers told me that her father (my great grandfather) had been in the Klan when she was a kid. That was Depression era Louisiana. She said he stopped going to meetings because he thought it was basically just an excuse for a bunch of good 'ol boys to go out and get drunk. I think the Klan also ostensibly had some other political causes back then besides just racism. In an case, she said she thought it was something he got talked into joining by his buddies, but then thought was utterly retarded once he was in it.
Sometimes it is. Check out www.wildmans-shop.com. This guy is crazy as a shithouse rat. I lived in Atlanta in the 90s and my job broght me to Kennesaw, and this guys’s shop, about once a week. The proprietor is (or was) an active and proud Klansman. He also believes himself to be the living reincarnation of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. And he goes everywhere with two pistols slung on his hips. His shop is filled with Civil War memoribilia and antiquities, KKK supplies, and all manner of bigotry-oriented knick knacks.
This fella made Bo and Luke Duke look downright progressive.
So, to answer the OP: yes, I’ve met a member of the KKK.
Yeah, I’ve met a couple. I live in a town of a that has gone from being 99.9993% white to about 89% white in around 15 years, a growth which was accompanied by a hell of a lot of racism, xenophobia, etc.
Got into an altercation with one who was vandalizing merchandise at a thrift store in which I worked, around 1995; the merchandise was aimed at black consumers, and the fellow was putting permanent stickers on them that were pre-printed with a KKK recruitment message that said something like “If you’re sick of seeing this stuff in your community, join us!” along with a message that, if our business knew what was good for it, we’d stop selling ethnic goods. I apparently ran across the sticker mere seconds after he’d applied it. When I saw it, I loudly started bitching about it to the cashier across the floor, and the KKK guy began yelling at me that it was folks such as me bringing the town to ruin. Management came out just in time to see him begin to shove me, so he was quickly wrestled out of the front door and kicked out. He stood outside the shop for a while, yelling at customers coming in the door, and yelling at me every time I stepped outside to help customers unload donations. The thrift store was a favorite place for the local punk/skater scenesters who loathed bigots, and he ended up getting chased off (and quite probably beaten off-property) by a few angry SHARPs.
Around 2002, I came into my other job, also retail, and found dozens of KKK recruitment cards tucked in among the merchandise on my shelves. I started at my department and began going aisle-by-aisle, plucking the cards out. I kind of felt like the guy in the Pink Panther cartoon who was uprooting pink flowers to plant yellow flowers, while the Pink Panther would come along behind, uprooting the yellow ones and planting pink. I finished my department, happened back to the first aisle… and more cards! The card guy was still in the store! So, I just scanned aisles until I found the guy, and started in with an officious tone “sir, you can’t distribute your cards here, you need to stop” which got him to, of course, begin yelling loudly that I was trampling his first-amendment rights and, of course, must be having sexual relations with evil non-Caucasians. Luckily, as before, management extricated me from the confrontation, kicking the guy out of the store after reminding him that he was on private property. We tried to find all of the cards, but stray ones were still being found weeks later, and more than a few customers were angry at the store because they felt we were condoning the KKK when they found one laying around.
Sometimes. Not usually, IME. I never knew of anyone in my hometown (for example) who advertisted being a member, but I know that things being what they are, probably a handful of people I’ve met over the years would have been members. Statistics and all that.
I knew a guy in Kentucky who was supposedly the head of the local Klavern. I don’t know if it was true, because he wasn’t recruiting for members (at least around my crowd.) He was a local musician, otherwise unremarkable.
One of my dad’s good friends is a Klan member. Luckily, my dad doesn’t really hang out with him too much anymore. When I was younger I never liked this guy and it wasn’t until I was old enough to fully understand that I realized exactly why I never liked him.
Did you hear about the KKK bakery?
They make two things: white sheet cakes and hot cross buns.
Did you hear about Chrysler’s KKK car?
It comes in one color; white with a white hood. Goes from zero to Alabama in six seconds.
Ahem. No, haven’t met any of them. Back home in Northern Illinois, I had a junior high history teacher who told us something about the KKK having some members in the area, referring to perhaps the 1950s or 1960s.
“And when a man died, the family would go through his belongings. When they found the robe and hat, I can’t tell you the shame they’d feel.”
I don’t think she was over-dramatizing. They probably belonged and their families didn’t even know. In all my years as a student in public schools, up to grade 12, we had zero African-Americans. So, what would the KKK have as an agenda? They’d be the Maytag repairmen of racist militant groups.