Not Marrying Into That Klan

, , , , | Friendly | December 18, 2018

(I grew up in a small Southern town. We still, unfortunately, have our share of racist incidents from certain individuals you learn to spot a mile away, but overall it is a place where most people get along and have moved beyond a lot of our state’s past history.  I’ll never forget, though, when I was a senior in high school. This is the early 2000’s, and I’ve been dating my new boyfriend for a couple months. Both of us are white. One night when we have plans to go to a movie, he asks if I would be okay with his dad picking me up at my house and bringing me to their house, while he finishes up a project for one of his classes. They live about twenty minutes away from me and the theater is near his house, so I understand needing all the time you can get on a project. I’ve only met his parents a couple of times before, but they seem friendly enough. His dad picks me up, and we’re on our way to their house when we have to pull over to let a funeral procession go by. I don’t know if it’s like this everywhere in the US, but where I grew up, you pull over until the entire funeral procession has passed and is almost out of sight. While we’re waiting to move again, he’s chatting and telling me how he grew up in this town and all of the buildings, etc, that have changed over the years. Then, without any preamble, he reaches into his wallet, pulls a card out, and proudly holds it up for me to see. At first, I don’t know what it is, until I focus and actually read it. It is a membership card for the KKK! I start physically shrinking away and thinking of my boyfriend’s black and Hispanic friends who I KNOW have been to his house for countless dinners and video game marathons.)

Me: “Oh. My. God. Please tell me that’s a joke.”

Boyfriend’s Dad: *still proud and cheery like he is showing me a picture of his grandchild* “Nope!”

(Thankfully, the funeral procession has finished and we start moving again. I stay glued to the passenger side door and practically leap out of that car the minute we get to their house. Later that night, I tell my boyfriend what his dad showed me.)

Boyfriend: “Oh, man, I’m sorry. I can’t believe he showed you that!”

Me: “You knew about it and you still bring home friends like [Boy #1] and [Boy #2]?!”

Boyfriend: “Well… I mean… technically his card is expired, so he’s not really a member anymore. It’s from when he was in high school.”

Me: “…”

Boyfriend: “He’s always been cool with my friends; he just likes to show some people the card. He thinks it’s funny.”

Me: “It’s not.”

(We continued to date for couple months after that, but I flat-out refused to be anywhere alone with his dad again. Part of me would like to think that his dad had somewhat changed his ways if he really was “cool with” his son’s non-white friends. But then, when I’d think about how he still kept that card and whipped it out to mess with people? Not so much.)

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