The purpose of this activity is to take a look at one of the most famous hate groups, try to understand why its members believe the way they do and learn what can be done to stop hate groups from returning to their historic levels of power and influence.
In recent years there has been a resurgence in this country of hate groups. Why have these groups been so powerful in American history and why are they gaining in popularity now? It is a good time to revisit the events of the past and help students link these lessons to their lives today.
Begin by showing a 2-minute video clip from the National Geographic channel on the brief history of the Klan — KKK: Inside American Terror.
After viewing the video, allow students to read the Newsweek article “rebranding hate in the age of Obama.” Have students look for the answers to the following questions:
Q: According to the video, what groups did the Klan target during its resurgence in the early 20th century?
A: African Americans and immigrants from predominantly Catholic countries.
Q: Prior to the 2008 election, which group had the Klan and similar hate groups begun targeting and why?
A: Latino immigrants, to capitalize on fear of losing jobs.
Q: Have there been any other examples of backlashes against immigrant groups over job loss fears in American history?
A: Chinese American, Japanese American, Italian American and many other groups).
Q: Why did public support of hate groups rapidly decline during the Civil Rights era?
A: Answers will vary but should refer to the graphic images shown in media during the Civil Rights Movement.
Q: What effects did 9/11 have on hate groups in America?
A: Answers will vary but will contain thoughts such as increased hate attacks against Arab and Muslim immigrants.
A good assignment for a critical reflection paper would be, “Why do you think that hate groups predominantly target people of color or immigrants and blame them for economic problems that they are not responsible for?”
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas