“Why I Left the KKK”: One Man’s Revelation

In The Republic, Socrates asked whether we should be good and just, and why.

A listener suggested that if we are trusted we’ll do better in our business and personal relationships.

But what if no one knows you are a good person?

“The gods will know, and reward us,” observed another.

But what if the gods don’t know that we’re good? Socrates pressed.

Later, I read Emerson on the same topic. His Minister had lectured that while the wicked are often successful, and while the righteous can be miserable, at least compensation would be made in the next life.

Emerson felt that the fallacy lay in conceding that the base estimate of the market constitutes success, and assuming that justice is not done now.

What REALLY makes us happy? Doing ill to others? Stepping on others so we can get ahead?

What Emerson and Socrates were getting at was made more real to me when I heard a man talk about why he had left the KKK.

He and his wife had become so filled with hatred in that organization that misery had overtaken their lives. They left because acting hatefully, hurting others, had ended up mostly hurting themselves.

As it turns out, when we work to harm others we harm ourselves.

Georgia Platts

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on September 9, 2010, in feminism, gender, race/ethnicity, sexism, women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. handsomerandyblackladbrad1953

    Three words:MR. NELSON MANDELA!!!!!!

  2. Darlene Pizzitolo

    I don’t why this man and his wife had so much hatred for other people to join the kkk
    but I know they did the right thing by leaving that organization. If they didn’t leave the kkk it would have destroyed them in the end.

  3. First, thank you for the blog, Professor Platt. There are many interesting topics on this blog and I have truly enjoyed reading the posts since Professor Lin introduced the class to it.

    Happiness, wow, talk about it being a huge topic. Personally, I believe that what makes us (the majority of the population) happy is full-filling our idols. Idols not in the sense of idolizing gods, but in the sense of idolizing money, success, being smart, attractiveness, relationship, pleasure, and so much more. Of course, it depends from person to person, but if you think about it, wouldn’t a lot of us be a whole lot happier if we just had more money, if we just had a better job or better grades, or even if we are really attractive and in the best relationship in the world? How does that sound for happiness?

    Buddhism believes that in order to be happy, you must not give away to your desire. Same desires that I classified as idols. So how do we truly be happy? Everyone can answer that differently base on their personality, religious belief, and more. Personally, I believe that to be happy, you must not give into those idols but at the same time, you must answer to the calling inside you. I know, it’s an extremely thin line but, hey, ain’t happiness something we all try to achieve?

    As far as the “What if” question, well…growing up as an Army brat and living around a constant reality of deployments and causalities, I think I learned at a young age not to ask “What if?” And growing up under my father’s care, I’ve farther confirm not to ask such question. As my father said it best, “Yes, we must prepare for the unthinkable but asking ‘what ifs’ don’t help with morale nor will it help keeping you sane.” (Can’t believe how wise his words sound now. Love you Dad.)

    On top of that, I have learned that ultimately the one person you have to please is yourself. Not your parents, your friends or even your professor. While I am a Christian and believe that as long as God knows I am a good person, everything and everyone else will not matter. I also believe that if a person knows his or her behavior and well-being, the opinions of others will just be some sideline chatter.

    Ultimately, pleasing yourself is the true goal of life. It is when you are at the end of your hour-glass, you want to be sure that you’ve done something that makes you, yourself, proud and feel worth-while.

  4. I found your story quite profound. Thanks.

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