Being a Middle Class Minority & Understanding the Ku Klux Klan: Labeling White Males on the Top of the Food Chain
To date, issues of multiculturalism and racial diversity continue to breed unnecessary conflict in the United States, in large part due to the diverse interests and needs espoused by different ethnic and racial groups (Harvey & Allerd, 2008).
As a matter of fact, different races have over time established contact organizations and splinter groups to spearhead and protect their interests, with a section of whites subscribing to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) from as early as the 1900s to safeguard their interests while limiting the influence of the minority, particularly the blacks, Jews, and members of the catholic church (Ku Klux Klan, 2010).
The minority black Americans, on their part, rallied behind several lobby groups such as the Black Panther organization, which they felt offered more hope to their cause of fighting discrimination, oppression and slavery. As it shall be demonstrated in this discussion, more still need to be done in the U.S. to level the playing ground for members of America’s middle class minority to be able to enjoy the same status and perks as their white counterparts.
The KKK is the name given to a number of past and present hate group entities in the U.S. whose affirmed objective was to safeguard the rights of and enhance the interests of white Americans through the employment of aggression, terrorism, coercion, and lynching to murder and oppress African Americans, Jews and members of other minority groups (Ku Klux Klan, 2010).
Although various legislations have been put in place to curb this form of white supremacist aggression, evidence is available to the fact that American class issues are largely influenced by racial connotations, with the whites likely to be seen as supreme to the blacks even in instances where there are no presumed differences of social status or class.
The sudden recognition that the above is the case came immediately after the 2008 election of Barrack Obama, the first African American man to lead the U.S. Even though Obama was overwhelmingly elected by whites as well as blacks, concerns about his suitability and capability as the U.S. president continues to elicit sustained debate in popular media forums.
Through my own analysis, I have come to discover that these concerns are not triggered by class issues or an evident lack of leadership capabilities; rather they are being triggered by the fact that Obama is a black man and some white men feel extremely uncomfortable by the fact a man of color is in charge of the White House.
A number of criticisms directed to Obama often demonstrate the “KKK” reinforced understanding on the part of some whites that a black man is unable to achieve what a white man can achieve despite his level of education or class status in society. From experience, I can firmly say that in some parts of the U.S., an established black man with a doctorate-level education is still referred to as a ‘nigger,’ while a white college graduate may end up attracting more favor and respect from a society that is predominantly white.
The challenges of the middle class minority, in my view, are further complicated not by the account of their divided identity as members of a minority group who have used their endowed and learnt abilities to scale the social and economic ladder, but by their reinforced persistence to celebrate the black underclass as the “purest” illustration of true African American identity or the ‘victim-focused’ black identity.
This need not be the case as such an orientation only further to enhance the false belief that American white males are on the top of everything, including good careers, social-economic status, and political muscle, not mentioning that such an orientation further enhances the KKK mentality, which is principally founded on false premises and an obvious hatred of certain racial groups perceived to be undesirable.
Upon his election as the U.S. president, some sections of Americans started viewing Obama as a black African who was born in Africa and not the U.S. Such racial predispositions, according to Harvey & Allerd (2008), only serve to elevate disharmony while encouraging instances of victimization regardless of class or an individual’s ability. Indeed, this orientation has led a sizeable white Americans to believe that it is difficult for a black American to achieve a middle-level class status.
Americans therefore need to take pride in the diverse racial groupings as a source of strength rather than a reason to fight each other and label others as inferior due to the skin of their color. As observed by Harvey & Allerd (2008), diversity increases productivity and innovation if the performance of organizations such as Coca Cola and IBM is anything to go by. These organizations, according to the authors, promote diversity programs to source talents from a wide range of diverse ethnic and racial groups.
In my view, the KKK mentality that puts much focus on the capabilities of the American white males must not be encouraged since every racial group has its own strengths and weaknesses. Whites and black Americans need to be encouraged to substitute and compliment each other’s efforts in nation building and no body should be viewed as superior or inferior to the other on status of his or her racial orientation.
It is also imperative to view the U.S. middle class as a state that is brought by an individual’s capabilities and hard work rather than his or her racial orientation. Efforts aimed at implementing this paradigm shift have already achieved enviable results, and we already have many African Americans shining in many fields, including sports, academic and research.
However, care must be taken to preserve our interracial relationships since they enhance our understanding of our own identity and roots. The KKK wrongfully assumed that interracial relationships have little or no value (Ku Klux Klan, 2010), but this assertion is akin to someone who throws away his or identity in the pursuit of other shallow interests.
Harvey, C., & Allerd, M.J. (2008). Understanding and managing diversity, 4th Ed. New York, NY: Prentice Hall
Ku Klux Klan. (2010). Retrieved July 6 2011