The KKK and the NAACP are ideologically at odds at a core level, but that didn’t stop the two groups from hanging recently to discuss their differences — most notably, we imagine, the latter’s insistence on remaining black.
The KKK NAACP pizza party (well, no pizza was served) happened in a Wyoming hotel over the weekend, and even ended up with a Ku Klux Klan member joining the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in what we suspect is really a set up for a wacky, madcap buddy movie.
ABC reports that Jimmy Simmons, president of the Casper NAACP in Wyoming, and John Abarr, a KKK organizer from Montana, decided to put their fundamental differences aside and see if they could reach some common ground. Security was reportedly “tight” for the odd and probably quite awkward hangout, and the network adds:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center and the United Klans of America said Tuesday that the meeting was a first… Abarr told The Associated Press on Tuesday he filled out an NAACP membership form so he could get the group’s newsletters and some insight into its views. He said he paid a $30 fee to join, plus a $20 donation.”
Mark Potok of the SPLC, a group that in part monitors hate group activity, says the KKK NAACP sit down could cause more harm than good, explaining:
“I think it’s outrageous and counterproductive. It gives legitimacy to the Klan as an organization you can talk to.”
Simmons disagrees. He thinks that the KKK’s violent history is a legacy with which the organization continues to struggle, adding:
“It’s about opening dialogue with a group that claims they’re trying to reform themselves from violence. They’re trying to shed that violent skin, but it seems like they’re just changing the packaging.”
Abarr said after the KKK NAACP meeting that the Klan is not about violence, but rather “being proud to be white.”