Over the weekend, the Associated Press reported that the first known meeting between representatives of the KKK and the NAACP was held in Casper, Wyoming.
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 membership form 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.
A lot of people, myself included, initially thought that this was a huge moment in progress towards mending the racial hatred in this country. A member of the KKK actually agreed to sit down with the NAACP? An official of the KKK, a group which touts their perceived genetic superiority over minorities, actually shook a black man’s hand? Hooray! A historic moment! Wow, he even filled out a membership form and gave them $50?
But then I looked at it with the normal hefty dose of skepticism that I usually employ while reviewing most news stories, and came to the conclusion that this was nothing more than a little publicity stunt by someone who would say or do anything to make some money from a few minutes in the spotlight. You see, John Abarr is a failed politician according to the Casper Star Tribune, which originally broke the story.
Abarr lost a Republican primary for a local race in 2002, and considered a run for Congress from Montana in 2011, but dropped out when a lack of funding and a lot of outrage pushed him to reconsider his plans. Then, he billed himself as an ex-KKK member.
The AP also had this bit of history on Mr. Abarr as well:
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.
I know it really did sound like a good story, but after you look at this guy’s history, I think you could easily draw the same conclusion as I did — John Abarr is nothing more than a previously unheard of organizer of a previously unknown chapter of a hate group, that consists of little more than angry old white men and the confused and angry kids they recruit to perpetuate their hate.
You can look at his Twitter account where he goes by the name @TheHoodedOne33 and get a good idea of how really insignificant he is. I mean come on, if you’re a figure in a national organization, do you work as a night auditor in a motel in Montana? While he may get to claim the historical moment of being the first member of the KKK to meet with representatives of the NAACP, that’s really about it.
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