The South Will Rise Again??

By Dr. Boyce Watkins, BASN Contributor
Updated: November 26, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — I was intrigued by recent reports that the Ku Klux Klan had a rally on the Ole Miss campus.

It may surprise you to know that I am essentially unconcerned by the group’s presence on campus.

Don’t get me wrong, Klansmen are incredibly ignorant, and we cannot deny their historical reign of terror over people of color in America. I can, however, give you a list of reasons why we should stop paying attention to the KKK.

It thrives off attention The KKK has very little power. It doesn’t do very much anymore, and even in this rally, it appears that there were only a few members present. The truth is that the Klan only has power because we provide it by paying attention to its actions.

The group is like a grease fire: The more water you put on it, the more it grows. If you starve the fire of oxygen, though, it eventually dies out. The Klan must be starved of attention, and then it will go away. It only remains relevant because we allow it to.

The KKK distracts us from real racism While Ole Miss can proudly brag about how it ran the KKK off campus, school administrators haven’t dealt with the fact that the university doesn’t hire very many African American professors and doesn’t graduate black athletes at a high rate. But it is not alone in its campus segregation.

According to a survey we conducted on YourBlackWorld, more than one-third of black college students have never had a black professor, and more than 60 percent of them have only had one. That should embarrass our universities and be the source of absolute outrage among African American students.

Rather than fighting against Klan members they will probably never see again, Ole Miss students should focus on dealing with their professors. Also, we are allowing the campus to brag about something that is not worth bragging about. For campus administrators to fight against the KKK and simultaneously support systemic racism via the lack of campus diversity is like saying, “I am completely against rape, but I plan to molest you every single day.”

The KKK has freedom of speech just like everyone else Whether we like it or not, the KKK has liberties. As long as it is not encouraging people to kill African Americans, it is protected by the Constitution. I want to protect the Klan’s right to speak, because that also gives me the right to speak. The last thing we want is to live in a country where the government decides whose opinions should be heard.

The Klan has a right to exist.

I don’t support the KKK, but I also have major problems with Ole Miss. The university was built on a foundation of racism, and it is not being very progressive in terms of fighting it. In order for us to combat racism in America, we must be intelligent about our targets.

The KKK should not be a meaningful part of that dialogue.