A few weeks ago, The Rocket staff received a letter from the “Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan” (KKK). The staff initially decided not to publish it, as The Rocket does not condone the acts, beliefs, or tenants of the KKK. We felt by publishing the letter we would be giving a voice to the very hate we aim to extinguish with factual and intensive reporting at The Rocket. After a few weeks of consideration, we have decided to publish the letter, not because our opinions on the KKK have changed, but because we feel the SRU community should have an opportunity to see what these kinds of groups are doing.
The body of the letter itself is actually about taking action against “loud-mouth literature that poisons society against us” and against a novel, entitled “The Slave Players,” about modern racial unrest in the deep South, according to author Megan Allen’s GoodReads page. The author of the letter, identifying as only as “Loyal American Patriot,” goes on to ask readers to contact him so he can “tell you about other harmful literature, and how you can help us eliminate it for all mankind.” While the actual content of the letter is disturbing, it is the ways in which the letter was distributed that we feel is the most concerning for students both at SRU as well as across the nation.
To our knowledge, the KKK didn’t send these letters out to all newspapers; they targeted university papers specifically. Student papers of The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, North Dakota University, and others received this letter. Some have chosen to respond, others have chosen to not do so. While we respect the difficulty of the decision all these students have had to make, we truly believe publishing this piece along with our own editorial is important in showing the power that the media can have– even student media like The Rocket.
The KKK is reaching out to a very specific population by mailing this letter to us and other student newspapers: they are reaching out to young, college-educated students who are still forming opinions about the world they live in. The KKK has a reputation for being a boys club full of old men, but don’t make the mistake of thinking them stupid. Their outreach to college students through college media is calculated and purposeful. They are recruiting. They are reaching out to student media so that if you, as a student at SRU, pick up a copy of The Rocket, and see the first two lines you are seeing them telling you that they have been misrepresented, that they are not a hate group.
As the staff of an award-winning student newspaper with a history of excellence, we refuse to be used as a weapon in a war against diversity and difference, against multiculturalism and unity. The Rocket staff is publishing this letter not to further its message but to prove that there are people, groups, and systems of power which aim to exploit the media, particularly media targeted towards young, educated people.
The letter can be found below. Reader discretion is advised.
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