After Teen Jesus, Another Halloween Costume Controversy: Seven-Year-Old in Virginia Dresses as KKK Member

“It’s supposed to be white with white. Black with black. Man with woman and all of that,” Jessica Black of Craigsville, Virginia, explained to her local TV station. A reporter had asked her why she would let her seven-year-old son dress as a KKK member for Halloween — and her answer was, in part, that it’s a valued family tradition. Nothing wrong with the Ku Klux Klan, Ms. Black emphasized.

Jessica Black next to her costumed son

For some totally fact-based background information on how the KKK got its name (and its white-sheet get-up), look no further than my favorite comedy duo, David Mitchell and Robert Webb:

Anyway, after the Jesus-costume post, and now the KKK one, I am done with Halloween for the year. Don’t forget to check back in about 12 months, when we’ll no doubt have news of kids going dressed as presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Now that’s scary.

(Thanks to GubbaBumpkin for the tip)

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • Trickster Goddess

    To be fair, it is a scary costume.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    This one has caused a real shit storm. She has been fired from her job and people have been making death threats towards her and her family.

    Michigan woman’s Boston Marathon bombing costume sparks outrage, threats

    A woman who dressed as a bloody Boston Marathon bombing victim unleashed the wrath of Internet vigilantes.

    Alicia Ann Lynch, 22, posted a pic of herself wearing the gory Halloween costume on her Twitter account.

    The backlash was predictably swift.

    Read more:

    • velveteenRabbit

      the attacks threatening her were sickening. Her costume was in poor taste and shows how inured we have become to violence and death. It’s all worth a joke now. *SMH*

    • beatonfam

      I think her costume was worse than that poor child. At 22 one would hope she would know better. The kid can’t help what his parents make him do. Even if he said he wanted to wear the costume, at 7 he only knows what he has been taught at home. All he is guilty of is having lousy parents.

    • Randy Meyer

      Most people look at the pictures of the Boston bombings and are saddened by what people lost, whether it’s limbs or lives. This woman looks at them and thinks, “Cool! Costume idea!!!”

    • Amor DeCosmos

      In the end, though – poor girl. @someSKANKinMI She learned a biiiiiig lesson. She made a really bad judgment call. One really bad, tasteless decision… and she’s really screwed herself up good. She did everything possible to apologize and did an interview on Buzzfeed.

      These KKK family fucktards still don’t have any insight as to why maaaayyeeebeeee they made a bad decision.

    • m6wg4bxw

      Giving it some thought, but I think I’m okay with this.

    • Hibernia86

      I have no problem with the Boston Marathon costume. Halloween costumes are supposed to be about horror. This is a girl dressing up as something that was horrible. There are plenty of Halloween costumes of murder victims and we don’t say it insults every murder victim ever. It shows no disrespect to the victims of the bombing because it properly represents the bombing as horrible.

      The KKK costume is much worse because it is clear from the interview that the parent of the child isn’t saying that the KKK is horrible. Rather she likes the KKK and is trying to support them with the costume. That is the difference between the two costumes.

    • Deus Otiosus

      I read somewhere that two guys dressed up for Halloween in Florida as George Zimmerman and Treyvon Martin. It’s almost like a contest to see who can be the most offensive.

    • Terry Firma

      As Halloween costumes go, it’s “out there,” but I can’t say I’m offended. It’s asinine that she lost her job over it, and unconscionable that people have been sending her and her family violent threats.

      I went to a costume party recently and one guy was dressed as Lincoln with a “bloody” bandage sticking out from under the rim of his top hat. Everyone thought it was funny.

      Granted, the Boston Marathon bombing is so recent that it’s still raw. But horrible event + time = comedy. I guess the hard part is figuring out the value of that second element. It obviously varies from person to person. I’d love it all we could all cut each other some slack in that regard.

  • m6wg4bxw

    It’s not okay. You’re offending a lot of people by one little action.

    • NickDB

      Offending lots of people isn’t the problem. Being completely oblivious to why it’s offensive and confusing bigotry and hatred with family values you should teach your kid, that’s the problem.

      • m6wg4bxw

        I’m assuming this is about Jessica Black, the boy’s mother. Why do you think she is completely oblivious as to why it’s offensive? Why do you think she has confused bigotry and hatred with family values? I didn’t see indication of either in the video or the article.

        • Feminerd

          The fact that she defended the KKK and said there was nothing wrong with it isn’t indicative of a larger problem to you?

          • m6wg4bxw

            I can’t answer that without knowing what the KKK means to her. I know the KKK isn’t one thing. There are various groups with different ideas and purposes.

            • Feminerd

              All KKK groups are united by the idea of white superiority, m6wg4bxw. That’s kind of the whole idea of the KKK. Some groups are more violent than others, some are more misogynistic, some are more Christianist, but they are all white supremacists.

              There is nothing remotely acceptable about any idea of racial superiority.

              • m6wg4bxw

                I know that some describe their interest to be about racial purity, and not supremacy. I mentioned this elsewhere on this page. Maybe it’s BS to make them sound better, or maybe it’s true. I’m not as certain about it as you seem to be.

                • Feminerd

                  Why do they care about racial purity, if they don’t think their race is better? Why would racial purity matter at all if it wasn’t tied into racial superiority?

                  That’s why I’m convinced. There is literally no other reason I can come up with to care about it.

                • FTP_LTR

                  But but but… all the races are stronger if they’re pure.
                  Black with black makes a stronger black.

                  White with white makes a stronger white.

                  Not white stronger than black, but each stronger than those damn grey people in the middle.

                  Or the ones sprayed orange.

                  Or the striped ones. Everyone knows that unicorns are stronger than zebras.

                • Sids

                  They also have pointy ‘hats’… I think you just stumbled on something big. Unicorns are the equine KKK. No wonder you never see the other horses playing with them.

                • m6wg4bxw

                  You can think of only one answer to your question, so that must the only possibility?

                  Why does any group value their unique qualities, traditions, and culture? Maybe it’s about preserving their identity, but you’d have to ask them. I don’t know.

                • Feminerd

                  Yeah … no. You can preserve culture without preventing others from coming into that culture. In fact, welcoming outsiders in to propagate one’s culture is generally considered a good thing.

                  What culture, qualities, and traditions would be propagated anyways? I don’t know of a unique “white culture” in the US, and I’m white myself. Do you?

                  Stop apologizing for and attempting to minimize white supremacy. When I say I can only think of one answer, I mean I’ve tried hard to come up with others. I just can’t. Everything always comes down to “they think white people are better than other people”, which is kind of the definition of white supremacy.

                  And, sadly, I have met people in the KKK. Not many, but a few. They were all white supremacists. One was also heavily involved in a neo-Nazi group. This is not unusual for KKK members. Satisfied by the anecdata yet? Or how about the studies done by sociologists, interviewing and codifying the racism or lack thereof in KKK members, which showed very high levels of racism. Is that data satisfactory to you?

                • m6wg4bxw

                  I think you’ve confused my cautious approach with apologetics. As I said, I’m not as certain about it as you seem to be.

                • Feminerd

                  Your cautious approach is providing cover for racism. You may not be certain, but were I you, I’d examine why you’re not certain. Is it that you don’t want to believe that people in the 21st century could still be so backwards? Is it that you don’t want to believe bad things about people who look like you? Is it that you secretly deep down might agree with them? Is it that these people seem otherwise nice, and it’s hard to associate such horrible ideas with people who are not monsters?

                  Why are you being so very cautious in condemning obvious white supremacy, when you are not so cautious in taking on other forms of bigotry? At some point, hyper-skepticism becomes a problem.

                • m6wg4bxw

                  Of course. My concern for the facts is providing cover for racism. Oh, and I’ll bet the terrorists are willing, too, because I won’t resort to binary thinking.

                  Thanks for the rhetoric, but I’ll excuse myself from this discussion.

                • Feminerd

                  The KKK is a racist organization. It always has been and it still classifies itself as such. People who happily belong to or defend the KKK are, therefore, espousing racist ideas and almost certainly qualify for the epithet “racist”.

                  You’re not concerned with facts. I don’t know what your concern is, but it’s not with facts, because the fact is that the KKK is racist. It is so racist that it is the public face of racism in the US. Please consider the questions I asked you, and also consider the damage that hyper-skepticism causes and how it does indeed cover for racism, misogyny, homophobia and trans*phobia, and many other terrible ideologies. Whether you respond to me or not is irrelevant. Just think it over.

            • The Other Weirdo

              Yeah, too true. I am likewise sure there are Communists out there who don’t want to butcher millions of their own people just to get their own way. Doesn’t mean they aren’t all retards anyway.

  • peknud

    Both the reporter and anchor say “Klu” instead of “Ku.”

    • Randy Meyer

      It’s a tongue twister like ‘rubber baby buggy bumpers’

    • Sven2547

      We yankees think their name is dumb and hard-to-pronounce.

  • Randy Meyer

    So with the white with white, where do the Jews fit in?

    • m6wg4bxw

      With Jews, of course. It’s part of the “all of that” clause.

  • Amor DeCosmos

    The KKK isn’t about hate, it’s about love. That’s what we teach our children. The KKK literature and teachers talk about loving our brothers and sisters, about living together in a community, about supporting each other, about being superior because our ancestors were superior…

    Being a Klansman is a beautiful thing and we teach our children to share our values of unquestioning ideological belief. All YOU have to do, is believe that “white means right”, and you too can be one of us.

    The stuff about lynching niggers, we just kind of avoid that topic in public…

    edit: oi oi oi…

    • youmakemelaugh

      what makes u superior, dumbass?

      • Amor DeCosmos


        • James Buchy

          That was a 747 ;-)

          • Amor DeCosmos

            TY – lmao

        • Feminerd

          You gotta mark it sarcasm tags! Otherwise even blatantly obvious sarcasm gets lost.

          And to be fair, you could almost be a KKK apologist until the last sentence.

          • Amor DeCosmos

            I thought “share our values of unquestioning ideological belief” was the giveaway, really…

            • Feminerd

              No, I’ve seen actual theists use similar language completely unironically. It made me sad.

    • m6wg4bxw

      Some members / branches of the Klan describe it as more about preserving white purity rather than hate. Maybe it’s a line of bullshit to downplay white supremacy, or maybe it’s accurate. I don’t know.

      • Amor DeCosmos

        Apologetics – It’s fun for the whole family – Try it yourself – Pick any brutal fucked up idea and try and argue a case for it. Nazism? It was about love of our heritage, trying to unite Europe, and awesome uniforms for everyone… we didn’t talk about the constant smell of barbecue in the village…

        Now you try…

        • m6wg4bxw

          I’m willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt, just in case I don’t know as much about him as I think I do.

          Feminism is a good example of how two very different types of people can use the same label to describe themselves. I would be mistaken to assume that all feminists hate men, or that they all sincerely want equality.

          • Feminerd

            What is white purity? Why is it valuable? That’s just a cover for white supremacy, and we all know it. It’s bullshit.

      • JRG

        If I got burned to death by a baying mob, I don’t imagine I’d take much solace in the fact that technically speaking, they didn’t really hate me.

        • m6wg4bxw

          I agree. Dead people can’t take solace.

    • duke_of_omnium

      Today’s Klan: it’s Klantastic!

  • SeekerLancer

    There’s lots of Halloween comedy where there’s a kid dressed as a ghost that accidentally gets mistaken for a KKK member but this is the first time I’ve actually seen the inverse. Wow, just wow.

  • Octoberfurst

    So Ms Black feels persecuted for just “following a family tradition” eh? Wow, my heart bleeds for her. And the KKK stands for traditional family values? How nice. (I had no idea that lynching black people was a traditional family value but I guess I am just not in the loop.) Maybe next year junior can dress as something less controversial like as a Nazi or as a world trade center bomber. It must be fun being a clueless bigot. You really don’t have to think about anything and can just spout nonsense all the time. (What do you wanna bet she is a Tea Party supporter?)

    • FTP_LTR

      It’s a valued family tradition dating back to them good ole days when her granpappy wore that same outfit to hang that there uppity neeeegro fella.

      Every family gotta have its traditions and all of that.

    • Pamastymui

      Wait a minute, the Halloween tradition is to dress up as a SCARY/interesting character and to show-off your creativity/effort in making costume. This family’s tradition is to dress up as KKK. Are saying dressing up as KKK is unacceptable for Halloween? Why?
      Why do you think that a Nazi COSTUME or bomber COSTUME is less controversial? I have seen debates if the BLACK LEATHER SUIT(no any Nazi symbols) costume and harsh character behavior is appropriate on TV.

      How can one be bigger bigot dressing up as a character, when others are bigots and endorse their bigotry?

      Check out the Deadpool.

      • Octoberfurst

        Yes kids are supposed to dress up like scary people/creatures. But zombies, vampires, etc don’t exist. But the KKK DOES exist and it is a hateful murderous organization. To dress up like a KKK member comes across as promoting their ideology—whether that is the case or not. It would be the same as dressing as a Nazi. (And FYI–I was being sarcastic when I implied that dressing as a Nazi or world trade center bomber was more acceptable.) If you think that there is nothing wrong with dressing as a KKK member for Halloween I suggest that next year you go to Halloween party at a friends house dressed in those white robes and see the reaction you get. It probably won’t be positive. Just sayin’.

        • Pamastymui

          Last year there was a Halloween party in the club under the theme of Soviet Russia. The authorities lost their minds as the Soviet symbolism and display of portrait of Stalin are forbidden.

          In my country there would be no controversy for dressing up into the COSTUME of KKK, but if you dress up into BLACK LEATHER SUIT or BROWN SUIT, you can get into trouble anytime.

    • Randay

      The lady’s logic isn’t very good either, “white with white. Black with black. Man with woman”. If she were to follow her sequence correctly, her last example should have “Man with man” or “Women with woman”.

  • Christian Kemp

    Let the kids or adults wear what they want. I mean a bigot will be a bigot in every ones eyes, and then at least we know who to steer clear of. That said with a clan mask its a little difficult to see who the bigots are.

  • Johnlev

    I’m not a single bit surprised given the area there. They still have Romney billboards up and during the last election, someone parked a trucking trailer along their fenceline facing I-81 near there and, I sh!t you not, hung a HUGH banner that read “Don’t Re-NIG in 2012″. I can honestly say I was a bit shocked to see that.

    But besides that what I would have to ask Wendi is 1) does she take her children to church and if so 2) why does she think that appropriate but not the KKK outfit when the children don’t know any better in either case?

  • Timmah

    Even when Cartman dressed up like this for Halloween, he didn’t do it ON PURPOSE.

  • Holytape

    When asked to describe other family traditions Ms. black replied, “You know, the usual. Eating lead paint. Huffing gasoline. Marryin’ cousins. Not learnin’ stuff. And generally being a ingrown festering boil on the ass of humanity. You know, normal stuff.”

  • TreAnthony

    Jessica Black is trying to get her own 7 year old son killed by having him flaunt in a kkk costume. This is the quickest most surest way to accomplish her goal of getting him killed. She ought to know better. Promoting hatred by using the costume is one reason this country can’t move forward. Ironically her last name is ‘Black’..interesting…The department of social service should take that kid away from her and have her charged with reckless endangerment of a minor.

    • MineApostasy

      Oh man, I can only wonder how the adults who opened the door to that little “wizard” reacted. I mean, I’m pretty certain I would have turned to his mother and asked her why she thought it was appropriate to dress her child up as a hate crime.

  • TreAnthony

    This is only an example of bad parenting…and it also speaks volume of the history and character of her family.

  • sunburned

    Surprisingly I’m O.K. with this. The same set of rights is being utilized for the Jesus costume as this one. What is the point of free speech if you can’t ruffle some feathers?

    Mind you I don’t think it’s wise to dress your 7 year old up as a KKK member for Halloween. It’s just not my call and I really have zero f**(ks to give.

  • Richard Thomas
  • GubbaBumpkin

    “It’s supposed to be white with white. Black with black. Man with woman and all of that,” Jessica Black of Craigsville, Virginia, explained to her local TV station

    Irony alert. Black wants to hang out with whites.

    And of course her parallel construction is broken as well. If it’s supposed to be white with white and black with black, why shouldn’t it be man with man and woman with woman? She is not just wrong, she’s stupid.

  • MN Atheist

    The KKK only wants it to be white with white, black with black, and man with woman. But all of that doesn’t really matter, because they donate to St. Judes! Such wonderful people…

    • Mario Strada

      St. Jude is a Catholic Charity. How that came to be boggles the mind.

  • Nikolai

    Does anyone else find it ironic that her last name is “Black”…?

    • GubbaBumpkin

      I do, and so does Alanis Morissette.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    … presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

    You’re scaring me.

  • Mackinz

    I’m actually thankful that this woman is so up front with her racist, “traditionalist” views. She does not beat around the bush. Her son went as a KKK member because it’s who she is. I may not agree with her position but she’s telling the truth.

    Republicans on the other hand…

  • riddles

    She’s all but admitted she is racist anyway and even threw in some homophobia in her excuse to boot.

  • Matt D

    I’d be a lot less paranoid if all my enemies were this foolish.

  • Katarn

    I think she was just being lazy cuz that’s a crap looking costume. She didn’t even make him like captain wizard man or what nutty name they call their leaders. The eye holes are cut out all cock-eyed like that bit in Django. I feel bad for the kid twofold, for being raised among such hate and for getting such a crap costume. Maybe he made it though, in that case he just sucks.

    • Mario Strada

      And what about the flaming cross?

  • Mario Strada

    It’s tradition folks. What’s wrong with it? Black with Black, white with white, squirrel with squirrel, redneck with redneck, man with Man.. Wait a minute! NOT THAT.

    It’s tradition. They donate to St. Jude (and presumably, they hang them from the nearest tree.

    I feel sorry for the little kid. For now. In about 10 years I won’t be feeling that sorry anymore. As far as the mother, one can only hope that “clues” will go on sale at Walmart soon.

  • Karen Johnsson

    Why can’t people take it in good humor? After all Halloween is about celebrating life, isn’t it? Well, I agree some costumes can get really humiliating not just to the person who wears it but also to the the person being mocked at. Barring those, one should take the rest of the costumes in good humor. Here are some really BIZARRE Halloween costumes of this year. which should have been avoided at all costs!

  • Dan Dorfman

    To me, groups like the KKK are for people who feel so low of themselves that they resort to thinking of an arbitrary aspect of themselves they had no influence over, their skin color, as some kind of badge of honor. It’s a way for people who have zero commitment to their own education and betterment, zero compassion for their fellow human being, and who lack other character traits worthy of commendation to feel like they’re above everyone else.