Is Charlottesville What's Really Going On in the USA?
Being a Jewish fella, I don't hold much brief for white supremacists and neo-Nazis. But until this Saturday, I hadn't seen a lot of them around lately. And I've been going about the country quite a bit for the last couple of years, hitting roughly half the states, including some like Mississippi where the Klan was once riding high.
I'm happy to report that on my visit to the black-owned Two Sister's Kitchen in the capital of that state, Jackson, blacks and whites were both equally, and contentedly in my eyes, braving the criticism of their cardiologists for what is reputed to be the best fried chicken in town. I recommend it wholeheartedly (no pun intended).
Nevertheless, the types who surfaced in Charlottesville on Saturday are certainly human beings of the most repellent and disgusting sort, murderous too -- pretty much violent, evil sociopaths. I wouldn't mind if they were all rounded up, put in a space ship, and sent on a one-way trip to Alpha Centauri.
But how many of them are there really in this land of ours and is this an epidemic?
Well, it's hard to tell because statistics are scant and various organizations have their reasons for inflating or deflating the numbers. But we could start with the History Channel (history.com), which informs us that the KKK, at its height in the 1920s, had four million members. Since the population then was just over one hundred million, that's close to four percent of the country -- in other words, really bad. There were a helluva lot of murderous racists around.
By the 1990s, however, the same source tells us the Klan was down to a paltry 6,000-10,000
people creeps nationwide. Has it gone up since then? Hard to say, but if so, not much.
Well, okay, the Klan, although it's the most famous and features the ever-popular David Duke, is not the only organization of wretched white supremacist nut cases. There are a number of others. So for the sake of argument, let's say there are as many as 100,000 white supremacists in America today. (This is undoubtedly a vast exaggeration, but let's use it, as I said, for the sake of argument.)
Meanwhile, since the 1920s, our population has more than tripled to some 325 million. Using the figure of 100,000 white supremacists (not many of whom made it to Charlottesville fortunately), this puts the percentage of white supremacists in the U.S. at a puny 0.03%. Terrible people, yes, but no epidemic by any stretch of the imagination. By way of comparison, an estimated 3 billion pizzas are sold every year in the U.S. There's an epidemic.