It is a rare sight to see a man standing in the middle of Philadelphia in a KKK robe–especially if the man under the hood is Black.
Though Sixx King, a 35-year-old film director, had a message: The KKK KILLED 3,446 BLACKS IN 86 YEARS. BLACK ON BLACK MURDERS SURPASS THAT NUMBER EVERY 6 MONTHS.” Those were the words on a placard he was holding.
(The FBI reports that more than 7,000 Blacks were killed in 2011.)
Activists use any number of approaches to draw attention to an issue, but King’s use of America’s most recognized symbol of hate does not sit well with some Philadelphians. “I think that’s nonsense,” said one woman on the street. “He needs to be committed to the jail system,” said another onlooker.
A city councilman, Curtis Jones, took a picture of King and posted it on Facebook. The image was shared hundreds of times. “All my anger for my ancestors who went through that terror of a Ku Klux Klan hood and what that symbolizes to me, evoked anger,” said Jones. “I was angry!”
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King said he was not trying to offend anyone with the robe and sign. Though he felt the radical approach was needed. “We’re bringing awareness to the black hypocrisy, complacency and apathy in the African-American community,” he said.
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Javes Phelps-Washington, whose son was one of the 324 people murdered in Philadelphia in 2011, rallied with King. She was featured in a documentary of King’s that focused on Black on Black crime. He was an exceptional football athlete,” said Phelps-Washington. “He was in his second year in college. He was a good kid.” (Of those 324 murdered in 2011, police say 85 percent were Black)
King knows that his Robe-wearing approach will not significantly curb violence but says it’s a good start. “I don’t think it will stop someone from killing,” he said. “But hopefully, it would make that person think.”
Even the city councilman applauds King’s efforts. “I don’t agree with that symbolization,” said Jones. “But you can’t ignore the message, so I support what he did.”