I was scrolling down my Twitter timeline when I saw a retweet from the account @RefuseFascism. The tweet contained a video of “protesters” (and I use this word VERY lightly) dressed in mock Ku Klux Klan hoods. The person speaking was saying popular quotes from Donald Trump, such as his comments about Mexicans, filling prisons, and the torturing of the families of terrorist suspects. After each quote, those dressed in the mock-KKK hoods surrounding him would shout “hail Trump” and do the signature Nazi salute. Their caption for this video was “#IllegitimatePEOTUS fascist program. Street theatre that is deadly serious. Millions must stop it. Get in the streets, stay in the streets.” This tweet was posted on Wednesday evening, just one and a half days before our Cheeto-In-Chief was set to be sworn into office.
I saw this tweet and my immediate thought was: “I KNEW IT! The KKK is going to get bolder now!” Then I paused, read the caption, scrolled through the comments, read the caption again, and then listened to the video. You see, anyone’s first reaction (especially any black person who knows their history) to seeing a group of people in KKK-like hoods in the middle of a street, with signs, and a microphone are going to have a few emotions: panic, fear, panic and fear combined, anger, or panic, fear, and anger all at once.
My first question to this group is: Y’all really couldn’t think of a better way to protest?! Like, seriously? You really thought it was a good idea to go out in KKK hoods a day and a half before a super racist President-Elect who is trying to fill his cabinet with white supremacist takes office?
In the comments of the tweet, someone mocked the fact that people couldn’t or wouldn’t realize that this was a form of protest theatre. I’m sorry, but are we really going to sit here and mock people because they can’t immediately discern between the real KKK and the fake KKK? Let’s just pretend that we saw this “protest” on the street while we were walking. I shouldn’t have to stand around and listen to what you’re shouting at night to figure out that you aren’t indeed the KKK. Because let’s be honest, as soon as I see your hoods, I will be running in the other direction.
And this isn’t the first protest like this. There have been several “protests” where people (usually white) decide to dress in KKK-like garb as a statement against white supremacy and Trump taking office.
You know who probably stopped to watch this protest? White people. Because the KKK is no threat to white people. So, I’m sure a group of white people stood around watching these fake-KKK members, while really thinking and believing that this protest was good “protest theatre.” I’m sure there was no fear in their souls as they approached a group of masked figures in white hoods.
And to be quite honest, if you can’t see how this was a bad idea and you’re white, I’m sorry to tell you, but your privilege is showing. Becuase it is a privilege to see KKK hoods and not fear for your life.
It is a privilege to see a video or see in person KKK hoods and know that you can stand around to hear what they have to say without fearing that they’ll torch your church or bomb your house or call you a nigger while chasing you down the street.
It is a privilege to ignore the decades of horror black Americans were subjected to and indured because of the KKK and advocate that this group’s actions were just “protest theatre.”
It is a privilege to even THINK that this is protest theatre.
I’ve been doing theatre for basically my entire life, and this is not it.
This “protest” was not only poorly thought out, it was inconsiderate, insensitive, and, frankly, screamed of white people looking for a reaction at the expense of the very people they call themselves allies towards.
I get it: you want to protest and make change. But what are you sacrificing and who are you traumatizing in the process?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Copyright 2017 Ahtiya Liles