ISIS and the KKK

This image recently was shared on Facebook, including by me.

racist kkk and isis

The text says, “No one thinks that these people” [a bunch of white-robed and -hooded KKK members in a black-and-white photograph with an American flag] ” are representative of Christians.” The text continues:

“So why do so many think that these people” [a bunch of black-clad ISIS members with what appear to be suicide belts around their middles] “{are representative of Muslims?”

Good question, I say.

One reason is that those Kluxers were in fact representative of many, many millions of white, racist, American, segregationist Christians from about 50-200 years ago. I am not exaggerating in the slightest. Almost all of the lynchings of blacks, anti-racist whites, and union organizers; and massacres of Indians; and slave-whippings promoted by the KKK were in fact committed by official government forces and by unofficial vigilantes or hired guns, and were generally condoned by Federal law and practices and by a majority of white public opinion at various times.But even then there were minorities of whites in the US who opposed that sort of horrible racism, often putting themselves in personal danger by doing so.

Those of us who marched or otherwise struggled against racism over the past 60 years in this country recall how scary it often was. I am certainly glad that we have come to the point that anybody espousing flat-out racism and intolerance is publicly shamed, but it took a heck of a long struggle to get there. And let us not forget how much the development of American capitalism depended on slavery. For details on that, I recommend reading The Half Has Never Been Told … See here for a low-key introduction by the author, Ed Baptist.

Right now in most of the middle east, it is often extremely dangerous to oppose sectarian religious massacres or to propose rationalist or humanist positions on almost anything. Thugs of one type or another run the show in every single country. Under Saddam (another murderous thug who was supported by the US until he wasn’t), Sunni and Shia at least lived together peacefully. After the American invasion of 2003, every single city and neighborhood has been ethnically cleansed of the minority groups who used to live there, and hundreds of thousands died.

Despite often-lofty rhetoric about peace and democracy from our official representatives (think Clinton, Powell, Obama) and discounting all the nasty bravadoccio of people like Cheney, Bush, et al, nothing the US has done in the middle east has had the effect of promoting tolerance or of allowing people of different religious faiths or ethnicities to live together peacefully. In fact, we are finally being told even in WaPo and NYT that the governments we have put into office and supported for over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan have been some of the most corrupt and murderous regimes on the face of the planet.

The Taliban and ISIS are certainly murderous and intolerant, but at least they appear to be honest, which gives them considerable support…

Published in: on March 30, 2015 at 8:10 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Regarding the “poster” … actually I do think both of them are representative of one part of the spectrum of true believers (essentially the two groups are withing three standard deviations of the mean). In politics, religion is always used as a tool, whether the level of belief is high, medium, low or nonexistent. The fact that the religion can be used n this way indicates part of its flaws. You don’t hear too much about Radical Vegetarians chopping off people’s heads, now do you?

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