Why Isn’t the KKK Designated a Terrorist Organization?
It’s beyond time for the U.S. government to take a firm stance against the hate group
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has been an unfortunate presence in the United States since the 1860s. First formed to harass and intimidate Black Americans and Northern reformers in the Reconstruction South, the white supremacist hate group rapidly grew on the basis of its principles of white nationalism (specifically anti-Black), anti-immigration and anti-Catholicism, among other despicable stances. They are responsible over the past century-plus for untold numbers of murders, assaults, harassment and other acts of violence and intimidation. Yet, in the year 2020, they are still not classified as a terrorist group, which begs the obvious question of why?
President Donald Trump recently made headlines by announcing his intention to classify antifa (anti-fascists) as a terrorist movement after unfounded allegations that members have been responsible for some of the more violent aspects of the recent Black Lives Matter protests and riots. Trump’s assertion comes despite the fact that antifa is not even an official organization, but rather a blanket term for those who identify as far-left extremists. There is no evidence of any syndication or widespread coordination outside of a smattering of small local pockets. It doesn’t take a genius to connect that individuals who do identify as antifa largely target right-leaning (i.e. white) institutions, while KKK is firmly against minorities and other under-represented peoples.
The Patriot Act, which is now almost 20 years old, defines domestic terrorism in a way that is impossible to not equate with the KKK, including the intent “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population”
The federal government currently reserves terrorist labels for those with international origins, such as Al-Qaeda. The Hill’s Joseph Guzman recently wrote, “There is currently no domestic terrorism statute, nor does the federal government have the ability to designate a domestic group as a terrorist organization, fueling questions about what the designation would mean in practical terms.”
Designating the Klan as a domestic terrorist group would be setting the groundwork to attack the scourge with force and finality. Instead of letting them hide behind the First Amendment, working to shut them down and holding them accountable for the violence and intimidation they have fomented over the years would be the goal. At any rate, if the President is going to start designating any domestic group as terrorists, he had better start with one that is actually real and established instead of one based on conjecture and political grandstanding.
If you’re interested in throwing your support behind urging the government to properly designate the Klan, this recent Change.org petition has well over one million signatures and climbing. Consider adding your signature today.