To the girls with the “KKK” captioned photo,
I’d genuinely like to educate you on racial politics in the United States in 2017. Here goes.
For those who may not know what happened, a group of girls who attend Barrington High School (known as the “rich kid school” in the suburbs of Chicago) located in Barrington, Illinois, took a photo at a party making relatively uniform had gestures, and then proceeded to caption the photo “KKK.” Based off of the fact that all of the girls in the photo are caucasian, we can safely assume that the KKK they are referring to is the Ku Klux Klan.
For those of you who do not know what the KKK is, here is a definition from Britannica.
“Ku Klux Klan, either of two distinct U.S. hate organizations that have employed terror in pursuit of their white supremacist agenda. One group was founded immediately after the Civil War and lasted until the 1870s; the other began in 1915 and has continued to the present.”
In simplest terms, the KKK is a hate group who pursues a White supremacist agenda. Their actions can definitely be described as terroristic. This is a hate organization, not one that celebrates any form of culture.
By captioning their photo “KKK,” these girls (who claim they were “joking”) are making a joke out of a serious, dangerous, deadly part of American history. These girls are behaving in a care-free manner in the photo, which shows that they are not at all negatively affected by the nature of the caption. This photo paired with this caption insinuates that they are okay with the White supremacist agenda, and the extreme anti-Black nature of the KKK.
There are people all over social media attacking the girls in the photo and serving them personal threats. I believe that these personal threats are unnecessary and missing the point. It is not about these girls, it is about the ignorance that they exemplified. I would like to genuinely teach people with their mindset about racial politics, and true minority oppression in order to attempt to get rid of this racist mindset. I don’t think I am an expert enough in the area to dish out these lessons, but I will share what I know, and educational resources created by experts.
Firstly, in a series of text messages that one of the girls in the photo sent out, she says that people are being rude to the girls on Facebook because they are “pretty and White.” She proceeds to say that if the photo was of “ugly Mexican girls,” there wouldn’t be a problem. The thing is, Mexican girls wouldn’t be able to post something with that caption because they are not the primary target of KKK violence (mainly Black people), but they are also not Caucasian, so they cannot be considered a part of the in-group that the KKK believes to be the “superior race.” Mexicans are some of the many “others” that are a part of the out-group that the KKK considers racially and ethnically inferior. I’m not saying that all Mexicans are saints, or that any racial or ethnic group is as a whole good. However, Mexican girls posting that photo would be a whole different issue, and, yes, it still would be a very big deal. I don’t see any minority groups in the United States forming hate organizations saying “I hate White people,” and performing violent acts towards innocent White people. Also, on another note, calling your sisters, fellow women, ugly is not cool, or funny, or cute, or whatever you were going for. These women are your sisters, all women are your sisters, regardless of their racial or ethnic makeup. Tearing down your sisters is not cool and an unnecessary addition to this issue proving the racist nature fostered in one of the people pictured.
Secondly, people are saying that this behavior is being displayed because they are White. I would like to strongly disagree with that statement, because not all White people think like this. Most White people don’t think like this. I know so many White people who are good, and decent, and well-mannered, and very well informed on social issues and privilege. They are doing this because they are able to, and that is because they are White, but they are not ignorant and racist simply because they are White. This behavior is about the fact that these girls were probably raised in a household in which these behaviors were either displayed by family members, or they were raised in a household that never addressed the topic. This isn’t about liberal beliefs versus conservative beliefs either, it is about racism and ignorance. These girls (I am not removing any blame from them because they are older teenagers who are perfectly capable of forming their own beliefs) are most likely like this because their family consents or participates in this kind of behavior. Not all people of racial or ethnic minorities are saints, but neither are all White people. There are so many issues faced by racial minorities in this country, especially by Black individuals, that White individuals will never know. That is another enormous topic, so I will leave reading material about it for you below.
This email was sent to the principal of the high school by a woman whose relation to the girls is unknown.
This lady who wrote the email needs some serious history education. Being against racism, firstly, does not make somebody a “radical, left wing extremist.’ In my opinion, that makes them a decent human being. This lady is making assertions and then providing commentary without the evidence. As somebody who is in a writing-heavy major at an elite university, actually as somebody who passed high school freshman-level English, I know that you must back up you assertions with evidence first, and then provide commentary. The lack of evidence will reduce ethos as a writer of an argumentative piece of writing, which this email is.
This “joke” was not a “cry for help in a society that tells them they are ‘less than’ because they are White.” This is a display of ignorance. What help to face oppression do these girls need? What racial oppression do these girls face? None. These girls do not live in a country where they are overlooked due to actual racial minorities being noticed. These girls are not discriminated against in this country due to their skin color. I would like to ask this woman to listen to some of the dialogue of the current American president, a racist himself, in order to understand that this country’s government is not anti-White, as she is claiming.
I could go on forever pulling apart this email, but the last part that I would like to emphasize is that this woman asked the principal to “protect” these girls, who, she reminded him, are minors. I get that some people have been hostile towards the girls, and hostility is never appropriate, but these girls need to be appropriately educated and held responsible for the consequences of their actions. The action performed by these girls can also be considered extremely hostile, specifically by minorities who are targeted by the KKK historically. These girls should not be “protected” and slide by without consequences. If they do not have to face consequences, or are defended by their school’s administration, racism has won in this situation.
If, by some extremely slim chance, these girls read this: girls, here are some educational resources for you to learn about White privilege, history, and racism. You need to be taught this in order to be a good American citizen, and simply a good person. You are no better than anybody of any other race simply because of the pigmentation of your skin.
Dear White People TV Series on Netflix
Please, everybody, stay informed and racially sensitive. Racism is very real in the 21st Century in the United States, we must all come together to fight it.
#BlackLivesMatter and good afternoon.