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When Wade Michael Page (the alleged perpetrator of the shooting of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin, USA) has been returned to a Harley Davidson store in 2004, his employers have found a form of membership in the Ku Klux Klan on his desk. What was this form about?
They ask you your name, your address, and the name of the secret societies of which you are a member. The KKK forms vary according to the branches of the Organization, but most of them have the usual questions similar to those forms for loyalty cards (contact details, age, marital status). The following questions are unique to white extremist organizations.
Usually they ask the applicant if he was part of the security forces or if he has worked for the Government at any point. He must reaffirm its Christian faith and membership in the “white race”; swear that he belongs to no other company secret, starting with Freemasonry (some conspiracy theorists – and especially the members of the KKK – think that the Masons have for project to take control of the Government and corrupt the) Christianity).
Some forms also contain this issue: “You feel that all men are created equal? If you want to join the ranks of the Klan, it is better to answer ‘no.’ Sometimes extremist websites use this technique. The question suddenly appears in a popup, and users who click ‘yes’ can access the site.
A very selective system
Most forms of the Klan ask the applicant to clarify sex. We think that the organization is almost exclusively reserved for men. But photos of picnics (among other events) organized by the Klan indicate that women are particularly active in the organization. (Some extremist organizations, including several groups of neo-Nazi skinheads, do not allow women to join their ranks, but they often have parallel associations that accept them in their midst).
No one knows precisely the acceptance rate of applicants within the Organization, but the system of recruitment to the Klan seems not really selective. More than a way to sort the wheat from the chaff, the accession process allows to local branches of the KKK to raise funds (at the rate of about $ 20 per applicant).
The skinheads and gangs of racist prisoners are far fussier – so to speak. Applicants must complete a one year trial period, during which they are sometimes asked to perform illegal and violent acts. Then the members of the organization then proceed to a vote. The most organized extremist groups consult the archives and check the criminal history of the applicant-especially to ensure that this is not a police officer infiltrated using an assumed name.
It is in the course of the 1920s; the Klan began to distribute forms to his novices; the organization controlled then several meetings of State, and the number of its members had gradually grown to several million.
Release on the color of the eyes
At the time, entrepreneurial spirit outweighed the cult of secrecy. The KKK addressing the membership forms hit a header on behalf of the Imperial Wizard anyone having been recommended by a friend or a relationship. A return envelope stamped (shipping cost then 2 cents) is included in the mail.
The form of the Klan has experienced several revealing transformations. In the 1920s, the immigrants were a huge source of concern for the Klan, and the document asked the applicant if his parents were born in the United States, and in “the principles of a pure Americanism” he would indeed be accepted.
Nowadays, few forms ask about place of birth of the candidate – and they care even less about the parents. Religion also seemed more important in the eyes of the KKK at the time. Before the Great Depression, applicants were asked to answer a series of religious questions (“are you Jewish or nice?”; “) “Are you a member of a parish, and if so, which? “What is the religion of your parents? …).
It goes without saying that the yesterday Klan cared just as much of the skin color of its members as today, but we can nonetheless note that issues relating to ethnic origin have been slightly modified.
The KKK had the policy to ask its new members if they were “the white race or a race of color,” and questioned about the color of their eyes and their hair. Applicants today must specify that they are white – no more.