A KKK leader from Montana is saying he wants to make the group more racially inclusive in the future. John Abarr announced he was founding a new chapter called the Rocky Mountain Knights that would encourage a more diverse group of members to join its ranks. While the KKK is recognized as one of the oldest white supremacist organizations in the United States, Abarr claims that his chapter will be different, saying, “The KKK is for a strong America. White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan.”
The Ku Klux Klan is not a singular entity, but instead consists of a number of smaller organizations around the country. Abarr’s attempt at embracing racial diversity is an attempt to refocus on the Klan’s core goal of keeping the federal government from enacting a “new world order.”
While one of Abarr’s summits last summer was actually attended by an NAACP delegation, many are still skeptical that the group plans to give up its white supremacist ideology. The Montana Human Rights Network’s Rachel Carroll-Rivas said, “They know that their beliefs aren’t popular, so they try to appear moderate. I think it’s just a farce.”
The Imperial Wizard of the KKK also isn’t pleased. Bradley Jenkins said, “That man’s going against everything the bylaws of the constitution of the KKK say. He’s trying to hide behind the KKK to further his political career.”
One of the most famous members of the KKK, David Duke, enacted reforms when he founded the Knights of the KKK in 1974, which allowed women to become equal members, as well as accepting Catholic members.
But Carroll-Rivas said if reform was really the goal, then “[Abarr] could drop the label of the KKK.”