Residents in Richmond, Virginia have reported seeing more recruitment flyers from the Ku Klux Klan, in part of what one Klan member told WTVR-TV is a push for a membership surge fueled by opposition to President Barack Obama.
“Since Obama’s first term our numbers have doubled,” said the hooded man, who identified himself as a “Grand Dragon,” a leader of the state network. “And now that we’re headed to a second term it’s going to triple, this is going to be the biggest resurgence of the Klan since 1915.”
Think Progress reported that hate group membership is on the rise around the country, with racial animus against Obama cited as a reason.
However, the Klansmen told the station they see their group as the “white separatist” equivalent to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peoples.
“Everyone thinks that we’re a hate group,” he said. “We’re not a hate group, we don’t hate anyone, and we want to see good things come to our race.”
King Salim Khalfani, president of the Virginia branch of the NAACP, scoffed at the comparison, citing the Klan’s history of violence against African Americans, and expressing doubt at the group’s attempt to paint itself as non-violent.
“Be honest,” Khalfani said. “I respect people who are honest, but it’s harder to recruit when you say it like it is.”
Watch WTVR’s report on the increase in Klan recruiting, aired on Tuesday, below.