fourth year dhanur sapolia

photo by farah hammady

photo by farah hammady

When I was thirteen, I went online and applied to be a part of the KKK. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what my 7th grade English teacher called a hook.

It was a typical seventh grade day, with my last class being social-studies. We learned about the Klan and how their factions terrorized the Black and Latino communities throughout America. For many reasons, that lesson stuck with me. How was it okay that they could still be allowed to practice their hateful beliefs? I mean, this is America the melting pot, right?

I came home from school and pulled out my computer. I was lucky to have immigrant parents who didn’t fully understand how to block certain websites. Although this often led me onto 4Chan threads that scar me to this day, my early unrestricted days on the internet shaped me into who I am. I opened my browser and googled  “The Ku Klux Klan.”

Their website felt like a parody, like something you’d see on MadTV. Now, 21 year old me would have tried to find a way to understand the root of their fear and view them as people, regardless of their beliefs. Thirteen year old me said: “Let’s f*ck with them.”

After digging a bit, I came across their free online application to join the Klan. I thought I had nothing to lose, so I applied. The application process was...normal. They asked for basic geographic and demographic information, including race, which I thought was a bit unnecessary. The last thing I had to give them was a username for my online ID, and luckily, I had the perfect one: whitepride69 (Curb the judgement, I was thirteen). I hit submit and didn't think anything of it for the next few days.

A week later, I got an email from Grand Wizard Smith. He was sad to inform me that I was not the right fit for the Klan and wished me luck in my future endeavors. I pretty much got rejected from the KKK the same way I got rejected from Georgia Tech a few years later.

Looking back, I remember how unsettling it was reading articles against immigration and interracial marriage and knowing that the author meant what they were saying. I also discovered something important. These people weren’t portraying themselves as the church bombing, slur-spittin terrorists I had learned about earlier that day. They were telling anyone willing to listen that they were scared of… me. They were scared of people like me taking their country and heritage away from them. What’s interesting was that I was afraid of them for the same reasons. I was scared that they were trying to forcefully strip my identity away.

Thinking about it now, I find it funny how the Klan’s fear mirrored my own. Writing that feels strange. Am I just like them? No, because instead of fearing other people, I let that turn into curiosity and a desire to understand something that was outside of myself. Also, I trolled the KKK, which is always a win.