Intolerance is at its most passionate and visible not when inequality reigns supreme but when equality gains ground.
After all, lynching reached its peak, as a reaction to slavery’s end, in the earliest part of the 20th century, a time period that happened to produce history’s first black millionaires; the so-called Black Wall Street in Oklahoma; as well as the first flashy black celebrities, including boxer Jack Johnson—known, among other things, for his interracial dalliances.
Even more noteworthy, the Klan itself was first established by disgruntled Confederates after the South’s defeat in the Civil War. After losing, and seeing black Americans take their places in Congress and other halls of power in the days of Reconstruction, the reaction among those who saw themselves losing their power and way of life was to turn to hate, and to try to convince others to do the same.
But here we are in 2014. The black president got a second term, despite the outrage of the very hate groups that didn’t want to see him get one. And our country is not only becoming browner, but mixed-race families are among our fastest-growing demographics.
If I were in the Klan, I suppose I might be freaking out too. But since I’m not, I will simply enjoy watching them freak out and know it means we are becoming a better country.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.