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A meeting between the Wyoming chapter of the NAACP and an organizer for the Ku Klux Klan over the weekend is believed to be the first of its kind.

The meeting between Jimmy Simmons, president of the Casper NAACP, and John Abarr, a KKK organizer from Great Falls, Mont., took place at a hotel in Casper, Wyo., under tight security, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.


The Southern Poverty Law Center and the United Klans of America said Tuesday that the meeting is a first.

Abarr told The Associated Press that he met with Simmons Saturday and ended up filling out an NAACP membershipform so he can get the group’s newsletters and some insight into its views. He said he paid the $30 fee to join, plus a $20 donation.

But Abarr said he didn’t ask anybody at the meeting if they would like to join the KKK.

“You have to be white to join the Klan,” he said.

Simmons asked for the meeting following reports that KKK literature was being distributed in Gillette, about 130 miles north of Casper, and that African-American men were being beaten while out in public with white women.

“It’s about opening dialogue with a group that claims they’re trying to reform themselves from violence,” Simmons said in a telephone interview Tuesday, saying the meeting went well. “They’re trying to shed that violent skin, but it seems like they’re just changing the packaging.”

Abarr said he knows nothing about any beatings or the literature that was distributed in a residential neighborhood in October.

Gillette police Lt. Chuck Deaton said there have been 10 hate or bias crimes reported in the past five years that involved name-calling, none of them assaults on African-Americans. Deaton said any beatings may have happened outside of city limits and were not reported to Gillette police.

The literature said, “save our land and join the Klan,” Deaton said. He said police were unable to speak with the “young man” who was distributing the material, and he was chased away by neighbors.

“In the 21 years that I’ve been here, that’s the first I heard of the Klan in Gillette,” Deaton said.

Abarr said he agreed to meet with Simmons as way to open a dialogue between two race-based groups. United Klans of America imperial wizard Bradley Jenkins of Birmingham, Ala., said in a telephone interview that he sanctioned the meeting and called it a first between the KKK and the NAACP.

“I don’t know if we accomplished too much,” Abarr said. “We’re not about violence. We’re about being proud to be white.”

NAACP officials in Washington, D.C., requested questions in writing but did not immediately respond.

In 1989, Abarr worked as campaign manager of William Daniel Johnson, a white separatist, who ran for Dick Cheney’s U.S. House seat when Cheney became Secretary of Defense. Johnson proposed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution calling for citizenship for whites only.

Abarr, a former motel worker who is now pursuing a degree in business administration, said he hopes a block of states stretching from Wyoming to the Oregon and Washington coast can be carved out as a place for whites.

Abarr gained notoriety in the 1990s when he tried to support Eastern Montana College Young Republicans in Billings, and the re-election campaign of Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., but they disavowed his work because of his ties to the KKK.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center said previous meetings between white and African American separatists groups have taken place before, but none between the NAACP and the KKK.

He called the United Klans of America a “copycat wannabe” group that’s not the same one responsible for violence during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, including the death of four girls at a Baptist church in Birmingham. The original UKA was dismantled in the 1980s following a lawsuit by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“I think it’s outrageous and counterproductive,” Potok, a senior fellow at the center, said of the meeting. “It gives legitimacy to the Klan as an organization you can talk to.”



Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/ku-klux-klan-meets-with-naacp-96228.html#ixzz2dvYIFBwF

by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 8:42 AM
Replies (11-18):
mamav2215
by Member on Sep. 4, 2013 at 5:30 PM
1 mom liked this

the last line of this article says it best. 

“I think it’s outrageous and counterproductive,” Potok, a senior fellow at the center, said of the meeting. “It gives legitimacy to the Klan as an organization you can talk to.”

C8linVilla
by on Sep. 4, 2013 at 9:18 PM

i think its sad the kkk is around?!?! i feel stupid because i never knew they were still around. they must really look like idiots when they get on TV and what not(If they do) cant help stupid people! i understand freedom of speak and what not but i dont understand freedom to be a racist...

paganbaby
by Teflon Don on Sep. 4, 2013 at 10:02 PM

They sure do.

Quoting KiKi-Love:

Boo KKK sucks


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mamav2215
by Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 8:42 AM

I disagree with you. Do you honestly believe that Klan when they say they have had nothing to do with anything they were upset about? This is why it's counterproductive. They just legitamized a group as something more than just a bunch of assholes in hats. It gives them meaning now. 


Quoting stormcris:

“I think it’s outrageous and counterproductive,” Potok, a senior fellow at the center, said of the meeting. “It gives legitimacy to the Klan as an organization you can talk to.”

I think this person is wrong in this statement. It needs to be done. If they want to reform truly this is what must happen and the KKK must try to bring an end to hate. Otherwise they are a bunch of fools running around in white hoods with points. The whole point at the top of that hat is a mockery to what it stands for though, but that is another topic altogether.



numbr1wmn
by Silver Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 9:14 AM

 

However your ok with a group that is for other races or religions just not white people?  Is that right? Or do you think there should be no such thing as a group for a particular race or religion?

Quoting C8linVilla:

i think its sad the kkk is around?!?! i feel stupid because i never knew they were still around. they must really look like idiots when they get on TV and what not(If they do) cant help stupid people! i understand freedom of speak and what not but i dont understand freedom to be a racist...


 

C8linVilla
by on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:31 PM

LOL why would i be ok with it from another race? No im against all forms of racisim i dont see the point in it. i mean dont humans realize we are all the same except the color of skin? Makes one look like an idiot to be in such a group and being public as well. i just dont get it

Quoting numbr1wmn:


However your ok with a group that is for other races or religions just not white people?  Is that right? Or do you think there should be no such thing as a group for a particular race or religion?

Quoting C8linVilla:

i think its sad the kkk is around?!?! i feel stupid because i never knew they were still around. they must really look like idiots when they get on TV and what not(If they do) cant help stupid people! i understand freedom of speak and what not but i dont understand freedom to be a racist...




numbr1wmn
by Silver Member on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:36 PM

 

Good just making sure. :-)

Quoting C8linVilla:

LOL why would i be ok with it from another race? No im against all forms of racisim i dont see the point in it. i mean dont humans realize we are all the same except the color of skin? Makes one look like an idiot to be in such a group and being public as well. i just dont get it

Quoting numbr1wmn:

 

However your ok with a group that is for other races or religions just not white people?  Is that right? Or do you think there should be no such thing as a group for a particular race or religion?

Quoting C8linVilla:

i think its sad the kkk is around?!?! i feel stupid because i never knew they were still around. they must really look like idiots when they get on TV and what not(If they do) cant help stupid people! i understand freedom of speak and what not but i dont understand freedom to be a racist...

 

 



 

stormcris
by Christy on Sep. 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

LOL the simple fact that you believe they had something to do with this and it was orchastrated gives them meaning without the meeting. Just as the fact of action of any group that makes them known gives them meaning. They were already who they were.


If they have rogue peopel they need to deal with it, if they did this they need to be called out for it. Ignoring people does not make them go away or make things better.

Quoting mamav2215:

I disagree with you. Do you honestly believe that Klan when they say they have had nothing to do with anything they were upset about? This is why it's counterproductive. They just legitamized a group as something more than just a bunch of assholes in hats. It gives them meaning now. 


Quoting stormcris:

“I think it’s outrageous and counterproductive,” Potok, a senior fellow at the center, said of the meeting. “It gives legitimacy to the Klan as an organization you can talk to.”

I think this person is wrong in this statement. It needs to be done. If they want to reform truly this is what must happen and the KKK must try to bring an end to hate. Otherwise they are a bunch of fools running around in white hoods with points. The whole point at the top of that hat is a mockery to what it stands for though, but that is another topic altogether.




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