Tuesday, August 13, 2013


This showed up in my news feed this morning.  I've looked at it a few times, and shared it with several other folks.

On one hand, I find the subject matter horrifying.  I admit, I'm pretty darn smug about the fact that I live in a community that ran the klan out years ago.  (I complain and sniff at the culinary offerings . . . but being klan free is pretty impressive.)

But, when I think about the defensiveness the subjects must feel coupled with the candidness of the photos, I'm curious.  The photographer must be a truly interesting person, to gain (and keep) the trust of his subjects.
Also, I see real poverty in the pictures.  I can't help but wonder if the photographer intentionally selected impoverished members . . . to garner sympathy from the viewer?  To add a layer of pity?  To establish a greater void between the viewer and the subjects?

I remember, years ago, a friend/counselor telling me that people act when they believe there is a benefit to the action.  And, it makes sense . . . even with mean or irrational or immoral behavior, the actor must believe that there is a personal benefit or that their actions are the wiser/more beneficial of their choices.  Which makes me wonder what benefit members of the klan believe they are gaining from being a member of a hate group?  Is it group identity?  Is it feeling connected to something rather than nothing?  Does it stave off loneliness?  Or, is there solidarity in creating a sense of superiority?

But, then again, why do any of us do the crazy, inexplicable, or irrational things we do?

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