For those not in the know, I’m from Bakersfield, California and while I do believe my little town gets a bad rap it most certainly doesn’t deserve, there are some fringe places on the outskirts of town that are pretty scary.
Oildale (which I’m often surprised to find out most folks have heard of) is on the North end of town, but is technically not actually part of the city. Now, Oildale is pretty much as awful as the name would imply- white trash-a-palooza, if you will. Houses with trailers in the yards, cars all over the yards, men with big ol’ beer bellies (and swatstika tattoos) walkin’ down the street like it’s nothin’ to them, poor dental hygiene, cousins bangin’ cousins and reproducing little web-footed children- you get the idea.
Well, as one might imagine, such a classy place as Oildale is a natural fit with the wonderful KKK. There is a middle school in Oildale (Standard, for the interested parties) which has a beautiful, large auditorium. Once a month, if you can arrive at the right time, you’ll see a bunch of men in white robes and hoods, meandering into the auditorium for their monthly meetings.
I went to driving school in Oildale because it was vastly cheaper than the rest of town (go figure) and next to our school was a barber shop. In the window of said barber shop was a sign that more or less read, “KKK- Show your card, get a free cut and shave!”
Also, just about every time I’ve sat and watched a KKK episode of Jerry Springer and they show the person’s hometown, it’s always Oildale. I remember this one where the person said, “WE DON’T EVEN EAT BLACK PEPPER!!” Aside from thinking that poor person is missing out on countless culinary delights, I couldn’t help but sigh and say, “Oildale.”
Taft, California is also another KKK paradise. I haven’t been there in a while, but I’d say Taft is about 20 minutes West of Bakersfield. If you were to drive down the Main Street of Taft, you would see oodles of business with signs in the windows that say things like, “WE DON’T SERVE NIGGERS!” and “NIGGERS BETTER NOT BE AROUND HERE AFTER DARK!”
My mom once did a temp job where she had to drive through Taft, into the Hills to get to a work site. I didn’t believe her so she finally took a picture, but there was an honest to God giant white cross on the hillside with a bright red “KKK” written in the middle.
I went to a high school that was predominantly Hispanic and Black students. Naturally, our sports teams were pretty much entirely composed of - you guessed it- Hispanic and Black students (for instance, I was quite literally the only non Hispanic or Black person the tennis team). Well, our school had to stop going to play Taft at their school because it got to the point where Klan members were- in full white sheet regalia- hanging out far too close to our school’s buses for comfort. Add to that the Taft parents screaming things about “Niggers” and “Spics” and you can understand the decision to stay away from Taft even further.
But none of these things really happen in Bakersfield-proper. Over all, our actually little town is a bit more liberal than folks give credit for. The only KKK thing in actual-Bakersfield I can think of is from a few years ago. A black family (Mom, Dad, and 3 kids aged 6 months-4, I think) came home from a family vacation to find their house had been ransacked. “KKK” and “DIE NIGGERS” had been written all over their walls, furniture had been burned, all the kids’ toys had been destroyed, and all of the family pictures had knife slashes through them. Absolutely disgusting, needless to say.
The family was on the news that night and the next day they had: an entire brand new house given to them by a builder (they had been renting), free security system from a local security place, all new furniture from a local furniture store, bags and bags of free clothes for the kids, bags and bags of baby stuff for the babies, a fridge load and pantry load of food, and a photo retoucher even offered to fix all of their pictures for them for free.
So while there are some very bad aspects of my little community (well, I don’t consider those assholes part of my community, but that’s not the point), I think over all my town is comprised of good, non idiot folk. For instance, the Klan applied to take part in the annual Christmas parade, but were soundly rejected by the city council.
Anywho, those are my Klan stories!