The competition for the most racially insensitive and controversial Halloween costume heated up over the weekend as a Virginia mother defended her son’s decision to wear a white robe and hood in the style of a members of the Ku Klux Klan.
First we saw the comparatively innocuous blackface “Crazy Eyes” costume from actress Julianne Hough and the repellent Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman duo costume, and now a seven year old named Jackson Black insists his Klansman costume was “cool,” in an interview with local station WHSV.
The boy’s mother, Jessica Black, said she warned her son he could face ridicule for wearing the costume.
“I did tell him that if you do it, you know there’s going to be people talking about you, there’s going to be people saying bad things about you when you do wear it,” she said.
She said her son asked her to make the costume for him after he watched the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes,” which features at least one prominent Klansman character. While that character is a villian in the film, the boy’s mother doesn’t seem to share that take on the KKK.
“It’s supposed to be white with white. Black with black. Man with woman and all of that,” Black said of the KKK during her interview. ”That’s what the KKK stands for. The KKK every year, raises money to donate to the St. Jude’s.”
Arguably the most infamous of white supremacist groups in the United States, the KKK formed during the Reconstruction Era as a “vigilante group” seeking to intimidate newly freed African-Americans, primarily in the South. It rose to prominence again in the 1960’s during the height of the Civil Rights movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the now weakened group likely has between 5,000 and 8,000 members nationwide today.
The group popped back into the news last month when they waded into the debate over the possible renaming of the Nathan B. Forrest High School in Florida. Members of the Klan wrote to the school board urging them to oppose the change, since the school was named after the KKK’s original “Grand Wizard.” In the letter, the self-described “Imperial Kaltrop” writes that the KKK was formed not to “deny the newly emanicipated blacks of their rights” but instead to protect the “defenseless southerners from criminal activities perpetrated against them by Yankee carpetbaggers, scalawags, and bestial blacks and other criminal elements.”
Jacksonville resident Omotayo Richmond put together a petition urging the Superintendent of the Duval County School District to change the name of the school, collecting more than 150,000 signatures in support.