How to Counter the KKK

Here’s a perfect example of how to properly handle extremist groups like the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church. You do it by counter-protesting in much larger numbers, as happened recently when the KKK held a rally in Troy, North Carolina. Four to five times as many people showed up to counter-protest.

“Don’t come back to Troy, boy!”

The crowd took up the chant as the KKK group dispersed from in front of the Montgomery County courthouse in Troy on Saturday afternoon.

A counter-protest organized via the Internet to a Ku Klux Klan rally in Troy had brought between 400-500 people to Main Street with signs that let the Klan know they weren’t welcome. Someone had even set up a microphone across the street from the approximately 100 Klansmen as each group shouted louder to drown each other out.

“Young black people here today are seeing something they have never seen before. We have come a long way in this country and there is no place now for spreading hate and ignorance,” said William Cagle of Biscoe.

Donald Loften from Troy agreed.

“Young people today will not stand for this. When I was a little boy, the KKK coming to town would have put fear in my heart, but not anymore,” Loften said. “This country has come so far since those days. Where I work, we all work together every day. It’s a shame and disgrace for society that this hatred can go on, but I guess there will always be that 10 percent who want to hate somebody. They want to stir up trouble, but they are dealing with a different mentality now. People have no fear of them.”

I think it’s also important to use mockery during those protests, as is often done now to the Westboro Baptist Church. And to use the events as fundraisers for organizations that oppose those groups. That’s how you effectively counter such events.

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  • jayhawk

    I have to disagree about the WBC.

    Their whole point is to gain publicity. They try to think of new ways to “troll” the public to generate more publicity.

    If you listen to interviews with them, they measure their success in the number of counter protesters. They are disappointed when only a few dozen people come out, because that does not make the headlines.

    Most people in Topeka realized the best approach is to simple ignore them and walk on by. They still protest on our streets 365 days a year, but their daily pickets do not make the news anymore.

    Do you think they would travel across the country to protest if no one else showed up to yell at them?

    Same with the KKK. Years back a group came to protest on the Capitol grounds. There were about a dozen KKK members and several hundred counter protesters. It was in the news for weeks. How long do you think it would have been in the news if instead of several hundred people, it had simply been a dozen wackos standing on the State House steps?

  • peterh

    The KKK indeed has the First Amendment right of free speech; however, simply exercising that right confers no particular distinction on anyone. To borrow from Forrest, “Stupid is as stupid does.” The general populace of Troy have the wisdom to recognize (and peaceably demonstrate) the KKK as disgraceful, hate-filled bigots who are seriously out of touch with today’s world.

  • Modusoperandi

    I thought I attended a counter-protest once. It turned out to be a counter-counter protest. Still, those sheets sure were comfortable. I understand now why they wear them. It’s like wrapping hate in a cloud.

  • composer99


    While I am sure the WBC and KKK do like publicity (even bad publicity), I don’t reckon it a bad thing when they are massively outnumbered by counter-protesters.

    Think of the message that sends to the people the WBC and KKK target.

  • Marcus Ranum

    I always liked Henry Rollins’ idea for how to deal with hate groups: join them. Then start trying to change their agenda at meetings. “Hey, guys, maybe we could do a bake sale and march in the gay pride march!” Heroic trolling opportunities abound!

  • Marcus Ranum

    Still, those sheets sure were comfortable. I understand now why they wear them. It’s like wrapping hate in a cloud.

    Go to a toga party, instead. Bacchus smiles upon them.

  • jayhawk


    And what is that message? The WBC is not trying to convert anyone, they are intentionally trying to piss people off. The only message they receive is it is working.

    The counter protests serve their purposes and encourages them, not deters them. If 10,000 people came out against them, to them it would be their biggest success.

    You are dealing with people that have been picketing daily for about 15 years. Daily is not an exaggeration or hyperbole. They have a schedule and they picket at least one place in Topeka 365 days a year. Then in addition they also picket special occasions like when a musical is showing or someone famous is performing in town.

    The only way they will ever stop is when nobody will pay attention to them. However, at least while Fred was alive, there was nothing too extreme. If they are lacking attention, they will find a new outrage to launch upon the public.

  • jayhawk


    Sorry I misread the target of your message, but I think the rest of the post is still accurate.

  • coragyps

    “It’s a shame and disgrace for society that this hatred can go on.”

    Damn, that’s good. And accurate….

  • Donnie

    Mockery? So we all should show up dress as the Klowns of the Klan with red noses, makeup, and white robes saying things like:

    “Think of the Popsicles!”,

    “Death to Chocolate Clowny Cakes!” (NCIS episode) and hand out free Chocolate Ho Hos instead.

    “We don’t need any stinken’ hoods! ”

    “Getting down with OPP!”

    We could make this a festival at all the Clown rallies (KKK and not Clown revivals which I heard that there are few young kids going into Clown school. Which reminds me:

    “Clown school application. No hood required!”

  • Loqi


    So? I want them to get attention. I want them plastered on every news outlet in the country. I want them to be the face of the anti-gay side. I want this precisely because, as you say, they’re not convincing anyone; they’re pissing everyone off. That’s a good thing. I want everyone in the country, when they hear someone say they support “traditional marriage” or some other euphemism, to think “ugh, it’s another one of those ‘god hates fags’ people.” Imagine the good that would come about if a politician dare not support a restriction of LGBT rights for fear of being (rightly) seen as being on the side of Fred Phelps. In a way, Phelps helped advance LGBT equality greatly by being so vile, so disgusting, and so toxic that most Americans, even Republicans, opposed him. And he did it while, at the national level, being absolutely powerless. He was too toxic to help build support for any bills, lead any kind of movement, or bribe any politicians. The worst he could do was be a local nuisance wherever he went. Given their impotence and their uncanny ability to unite and motivate people against them and their agenda, I say we give the WBC the attention they crave. Feed the trolls. Put them in the spotlight. If it means a dozen bigots get their jollies, so be it.

  • busterggi

    The KKK – like Nazis but w/o the fashion sense.

  • imst

    My favourite version of the counter-protest is the unrelated protest and counter-protest. Who’s going to bother covering 100 KKK idiots or 20 WBC idiots when there’s an apparently spontaneous Star Wars vs Star Trek protest and counter-protest with 250 each right across the street?