If you grew up during the ’80s when The Dukes of Hazzard ruled the TV airwaves, then you’re probably familiar with the opening lines from its Waylon Jennings-penned theme song: “Just’a good ol’ boys, Never meaning no harm ...”
And that, in a nutshell, is the excuse being offered up by a Michigan cop fired after the discovery in his home of an extensive collection of haute racist memorabilia, including a framed application to join the Ku Klux Klan: “I just love The Dukes of Hazzard.”
According to the New York Daily News, the admissions concerning The Dukes of Hazzard are included in a 421-page report prepared by the city of Muskegon Mich., in its investigation of now-fired city Police Officer Charles Anderson.
Anderson’s collection of KKK and Confederate memorabilia came to investigators’ attention in August when a man named Robert Mathis, who happens to be black, toured Anderson’s home while house-hunting.
The city’s report reveals that Anderson told investigators that his love of artifacts related to the treacherous Confederacy and one of the nation’s first terrorist groups, the KKK, was completely tied to his fandom of the fictional, fast-driving, fun-loving Bo and Luke Duke of Hazzard fame.
“I have a very, very large collection of The Dukes of Hazzard,” Anderson told investigators, the News reports. “I have gone to their meets. They call it a Duke’s Fest. It’s where you go Down South and you meet in a state, all Dukes of Hazzard fans get together.”
“I love The Dukes of Hazzard. That’s the reason for the Confederate flags,” he continued. “They mean nothing other than it was just part of that collection.”
Mathis, who was house-hunting with his wife, Reyna, when he came upon Anderson’s display, was unnerved, telling investigators, as the News reports, that
he felt obligated to report Anderson after stumbling upon his unsettling decor.
“I feel sick to my stomach knowing that I walk to the home of one of the most racist people in Muskegon hiding behind his uniform and possibly harassing people of color and different nationalities,” he wrote.
In addition, despite Anderson’s professed love for the Dukes notwithstanding, an admission he made regarding the KKK application was perhaps more troubling.
Anderson, according to the News, denied ever wanting to take a cigarette and poke out two eye holes in an old bedsheet, or to stan for same, but he did tell investigators:
“It’s our heritage,” he said of the application which he purchased for $20 or $30. “I mean it occurred, good or bad and it’s part of history.”
Eh. Would anyone think it cool if a German officer of the law kept Nazi applications as keepsakes? Because. Heritage?
So, maybe we need to keep The Dukes of Hazzard out of this. I watched that show religiously as a kid (hey, it was the ’80s; don’t judge), and while their car was named the General Lee, at least I never saw Bo, Luke, Daisy or Uncle Jesse wearing a white hood.