Doing the Klan’s job for them

Posted: May 28, 2008 in Commentary

18th Street Gang, also known as Eighteen St., is a Los Angeles-based, largely Hispanic street gang. It is estimated that there are between 15,000 to 25,000 members of the 18th Street gang in Los Angeles County alone. The latest figures from the NDIC put 18th Street membership at around 50,000 nationwide, making it one of the biggest street gangs in the country. (source)


“Membership in the U.S was believed to be as many as 10,000 in the United States as of 2005.” (Membership for the MS-13 gang—source)


“Through the years the gang has grown to be one of the largest and most powerful gangs in the United States, currently with over 30,000 gang members.” (Membership for the Crips–Source)


And now, the Klan:

KKK members have increased somewhat in recent years, but membership is estimated at 5,000 to 8,000 among an estimated 179 chapters. The latest recruitment drives have used issues such as people’s anxieties about illegal immigration, urban crime and same-sex marriage. (source)

(And yes, I am quite aware that these numbers do not include similar White racist groups that are out there. Nevertheless, their total number and their ability to inflict havoc on the Black community is nothing in comparison to the other groups mentioned).

When you compare the estimated memberships of various gangs with that of the Klan, the Klan is the least of our worries in this day and age. Yet the media and some in the Black community insist on doing the PR work for such a small group that has the same access to weapons as the other groups mentioned.

As many of you know by now, there has been a lot of noise raised recently about the latest cover of the small Georgia newspaper (The Roswell Beacon) and their choice to depict presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama behind cross hairs. From blogs to the comment section of various newspapers, folks voiced their outrage over such a “cruel” and “tasteless” depiction of this presidential hopeful. Personally, I did not pay the issue much mind and just chalked it up as just an insane way to get more readers. After taking some time to read the actual article this morning, I noticed three things that, if anything else, confirmed what I have been noticing for some time.

#1 – Folks don’t read: The article itself actually played up and gave voice to the very same fears that many Black Obama supporters have voiced since day one of his campaign. Now that someone writes an article about it with this picture, The Roswell Beacon is now classified as “racist”. Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t.

#2 – If Black America isn’t single-handily brought down by the Klan, we will personally see to it that we are in perpetual state of fear and intimidation of what they COULD do to us (never mind what the gangs I have mentioned earlier have and continue to do in many of our communities). One of the most embarrassing stories I have read in recent years had to do with the scheduled march of a Neo-Nazi group through a predominately Black town in Toledo, Ohio back in 2005. I mention “scheduled” because the march never took place. Why? Because of the huge numbers of those who showed up for what was supposed to be a counter-demonstration. What ended up happening was the this crowd of mostly Blacks began to turn on each other by fighting, rioting and terrorizing the very neighborhood they were supposedly were standing for in the face of this racist group. In the end, this counter-demonstration crowd ended up giving a full visual example regarding their feelings towards Blacks. The question that has always remained with me was “Why did Black show up in the first place?” . Let’s also not forget the countless number of stories were nooses, racist notes and graffiti directed towards Blacks were discovered to have come from other Blacks.

As a person that reads the news on a regular basis, it never ceases to amaze me how one racist punk kid who does something stupid as leaving a threatening note can grab the headlines of many of our own (Black) news organizations and blogs. Just think, the actions of one racist individual can grab the attention of an entire race. The effects of the cover of an article produced similar results–again, never mind the fact that the article itself simply articulates the fears many of the same critics voiced in the early stages of the Obama’s campaign.

#3 – It is going to be very interesting to watch under a possible Obama presidency just how criticism towards him is treated. Picturing him behind the cross hairs of a gun is nothing in comparison to what every other president in the past has faced.


Obama is vying for one of the most powerful seat in the world. That alone paints a bigger target on him than any conspiracy-laced article written by a small newspaper that uses “shock” to get more readers. The world is full of many evil people and groups with evil intent. I think that it is about time we stop giving free PR for one of the smallest members of that bunch. Yes there are some really bad people out there, but at least Obama has the Secret Service to protect him while the rest of us have 911.

  1. MIB says:

    I think this is one of those examples of a photo/headline (unfortunately) becoming a distraction from the real story. Evidently, the Beacon’s article detailed the activities of White supremacy groups in Atlanta’s northern suburbs vis-a-vis death threats aimed at Obama.

    There are going to be a cross-section of people who have a knee-jerk reaction to anything. Having said that (and knowing a little bit about the racial climate in metro Atlanta) I can understand why some are upset by the magazine’s cover. You’re way off the mark, however, to suggest the reaction serves as evidence Atlantans, liberals, etc., are tolerant of ‘Black-on-Black’ crime and equating groups like the Klan with the likes of Crips and MS-13.

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