The Ku Klux Klan’s Images of Race, circa 2014

Yesterday’s New York Times included a story, “At Gateway to Hamptons, Ku Klux Klan Advertises for New Members,” by Al Baker. Here’s a link to Baker’s story, which rightly focuses on the undeniably anti-immigrant impetus behind contemporary flyers and pamphlets produced by the Klan:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/30/nyregion/at-gateway-to-hamptons-ku-klux-klan-advertises-for-new-members.html?_r=0

I want to draw attention to one of the images that accompanied Baker’s story: Times photographer Nicole Bengiveno’s photo poignantly captures a pair of brown-skinned hands holding the Klan recruitment letter and hate-mongering caricatures. What’s striking is the Klan’s reliance on undying, racist iconography, which communicates the group’s belief that it’s still legible and viable in the twenty-first century:

KKK NY_Beware 2014

That visual strategies–exaggerations and distortions of ethno-cultural physiognomies and the marshaling of symbols attached to class and national types–still work in nativist discourse makes clear that racialization is always dependent on representation.

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Author: Jacqueline Francis

Writer, teacher, curator, and arts consultant in San Francisco, California. Follow me on Twitter @JackieFrancisSF

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