How does the Klu Klux Klan exist?
The USA is an interesting study of racism and the KKK, reminiscent of similar mentality shown in the recent shooting of 9 African Americans; President Obama stated that nowhere else in the civilized world do these types event occur. I tend to agree. So why does the KKK say it is expanding in the USA?
There may be several reasons why the USA is a safe harbor for such repugnant cults.
I consider the problem exists, in small pockets; due to a breakdown in some part of psychological development, a strong dominating culture of fear and oppression, which limits safety for normal psychological development, combined with a culture that embraces war mentality? In essence, people are always afraid and in some areas, uneducated…
As we study evolutionary psychology we notice that when people don’t fit within familial or society norm, they seek out a place where they can belong. (kids join KKK or ISIS!) Even with rebellious teens, there is a constant need for stability; they just don’t know understand the cause of their yearning. They feel unstable and are searching for something that stabilizes them. Unfortunately the leaders of cults like the KKK exploited this known psychological fact.
When the psyche is searching for acceptance; relationship identity the second level of psychological development: the need for love and belonging is engaged; when someone feels they don’t fit in anywhere, societies such as the KKK can offer a place to call home.
Within the cult, they are embraced and they feel like they belong. However, belonging in a cult often comes with conditions, toe the line, keep with the rules otherwise you again will NOT belong or even more, maybe you won’t be safe.
The psychology of the cult:
speaks for itself, fear, repression and hierarchy of domination. When a person’s safety is uncertain, Survival psychology is also in play.
Survival identity is the first level psychology and exists when we are born. When we rely on others for our food, water, shelter, this is survival identity.
When we are adults, the same rules apply, we feel unsafe or insecure, we return to survival identity mode. Whenever these fundamentals laws of safety or security feel threatened, we return to survival identity until we feel stable again.
In other words, we live and feel safe because someone else makes it safe, or we change our behavior in order to maintain our security because we may not survive unless we conform and act according to the rules of the dominant.
Governments use these tactics all the time. What code of alert are we living in? Keeping people afraid is a form of control.
The other consideration is, in childhood, there is no rational thought as the neo-cortex has not matured and is not utilized until about the age of 8.
During the childhood phase of development, life experiences are processed through the emotional limbic system. Children are influenced by family and social beliefs, and will be stifled in furthering their development if the environment is unsafe or dominating.
Similar to a cult, when a child’s safety, security and survival are based on conforming to dominating beliefs, the brain not only ingrains but unconsciously reinforces the behavior.
My thoughts are not in any way supportive of racism or the KKK, rather, trying to rationalize why people behave the way they do. It happens for a reason even though we don’t accept it.
And so we understand, while under the influence of a cult or dominating parental or social structure, racism is probable, because between the ages on 0-8 we exist in survival and relationship identity and when we are within these limitations, the acceptance of other people are limited to those that look like us, act like us and speak the same language. If a child is not able to develop further cognitive abilities they do not progress.
If the child was allowed to develop naturally, there would be a point in the teen years where the dominance of the parents and society would diminish and the child would develop their own beliefs based on (hopefully) expanded learning and experience. The teen would begin to rationalize their experiences, generally towards a broader socio, economic and cultural awareness and away from racism and bigotry.
Sadly the news of the KKK expanding its reaches in the USA represents a stop in human psychological evolution. It’s a broader topic that needs further attention.