In response to a series of local break-ins in central Pennsylvaina, a local organization has formed a neighborhood watch group. On the surface, that sounds like a great idea: Neighborhood watch groups can be an effective crime deterrent. They encourage community members to keep an eye out for one another and to contact law enforcement if there’s any trouble.
But what if the neighborhood watch group is being planned by the Ku Klux Klan? The KKK is widely known as a white supremacy organization, and it has a long history of practicing hate crimes under the guise of vigilante justice. For this reason, people of color might feel that neighborhoods are better off without a neighborhood watch if the KKK is in charge. Racial profiling might be a greater threat to their health and well-being than the break-ins that have been going on.
That’s why it’s preposterous that Central Pennsylvania station FOX43 posed the following question on an image of the KKK’s local neighborhood watch flyer to their facebook page:
Well, my thoughts are as follows: A white supremacy group isn’t your average group of people. Therefore, FOX43’s facebook post is obtuse, problematic, and betraying an ugly undercurrent of racism. A more appropriate question would have been something along these lines: “Do you think it’s appropriate for a white supremacy organization to patrol your neighborhood at night? Could their activities cause harm to our communities?”
Instead, by taking racism out of the picture, FOX43’s social media team is essentially legitimizing the KKK’s activities—and that’s not acceptable. Not now, and not ever.
Rebecca Hains is a media studies professor at Salem State University. Her book, The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years, is now available for pre-order from Amazon.