This article historically examines the intersections between racism, sexism, and class difference and how they shaped the lives of white people in the U.S. We do this in an effort to avoid the customary practice of treating the experiences of whites as raceless and therefore the norm. More specifically, this essay will explore the construction of a white identity4 during one of the most heightened periods of racism in the 20th century, the rise of the second wave Ku Klux Klan (KKK) 1913-30.5 The contemporary KKK, although offensive, are for the most part looked upon as a small radical group with limited social and political power.6 To the contrary, the 1920s KKK was the embodiment of conservative society and American politics; America then was defined by whites of European descent, many of whom argued that racial cleanliness would in turn lead to a well-ordered government.7 The Klan's substantial power in the political arena was evident as several high-ranking elected government officials like Indiana Governor Ed Jackson also were Klan members.8 Furthermore, "in 1922, the Klan helped to elect governors in Georgia, Alabama, California, and Oregon. It was reported that as many as seventy-five members of the lower house had received helped from Klan votes."9 In short, the Klan and conventional white America were noticeably interdependent. We will examine the gendering of white patriotism in the KKK, but more importantly, we will analyze how these nationalistic gender norms were mirrored in mainstream white America. Further, we will explore the ideological intersection of the KKK with conventional white America by bringing together specific literature focused on gender roles in the 1920s Klan and popular etiquette books.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|State||Published - 2002|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)