ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of discussion with [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "usual suspects" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] stardreamer. This poem belongs to the FORK thread in the Polychrome Heroics series.


"Unusual Suspects"


The Ku Klux Klan fomented hatred
and unrest since 1865.

Whenever prejudice raised its ugly head,
they were the usual suspects,
always speaking out against
people of color, other religions,
women, queer people, and more.

For well over a century, they stirred trouble
and spouted hate, incited riots and
tossed straw men into heated arguments.

As the wider culture matured, however,
the KKK lost its appeal and most of its membership,
the terrifying dragon shrunk to a withered lizard
hissing as it clung to a crumbling wall.

The National Hate Crimes Office
was bemused when the KKK
proclaimed opening its doors to
Hispanic, Jewish, black, and
even homosexual applicants --

anyone, in short, who was
ordinary instead of superpowered.

They had found a common cause
and a new source of recruits,
which made a worrisome development.

They had become most unusual suspects.

Constantino Solis, director of NHCO,
folded the newspaper into neat quarters
and laid it in the center of his desk,
then leaned forward, steepling his fingers.

"What do you think about the Klan's latest effort?"
he asked Jessica Turner, one of their best representatives.
"Honest attempt to change, or a sham to seduce the gullible?"

"I think," Jessica replied evenly,
"that bigots who pretend to be congenial
do a lot more damage than obvious nutcases."

* * *

Notes:

Constantino Solis -- He has tinted skin, dark brown eyes, and a stocky form. His hair was black in his youth, now mostly white, and he's going bald. He has six children and fourteen grandchildren. His grasp of Hispanic cooking centers on Mexican, Spanish, and Cuban with bits and pieces from elsewhere. Constantino is the current head of the National Hate Crimes Office. He lobbies for progressive legislation and keeps a sharp eye on troublemakers.
Someone tried to assassinate him once, but missed with the first shot. Instead of taking cover, Constantino glared down the assassin, who was soon apprehended by police. Nobody else has dared to try since.
Qualities: Master (+6) Judge, Expert (+4) Integrity, Good (+2) Citizen Responder, Good (+2) Cooking Hispanic Cuisine, Good (+2) Shape for His Age
Poor (-2) Courageous to a Fault

Jessica Turner -- She has medium-brown skin, brown eyes, and slightly wavy brown hair that falls to her shoulders. She is the mother of one daughter, Elenor, and one son, Jeffty. Her husband Grady is a stay-at-home dad.
Jessica uses her legal and social skills as a representative of the National Hate Crimes Office. She travels around doing situational analysis and presentations on civic responsibility. She also volunteers to paint playgrounds with multicultural designs.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Lawyer, Expert (+4) Counselor, Good (+2) Artist, Good (+2) Civil Rights History, Good (+2) Intuition, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Taking Criticism

* * *

The Ku Klux Klan recently opened its doors to wider membership. In Terramagne, the goal was survival by galvanizing different groups against people with superpowers.

Hate crimes pose a threat to many disadvantaged groups. In local-America, the National Crime Prevention CouncilDepartment of Justice, and Southern Poverty Law Center have an interest in reducing hate crimes. Terramagne-America has the National Hate Crimes Office, often abbreviated NHCO and pronounced "nekko." It's a compromise between people who are serious about stomping out hate crimes and people who like them but can't afford to say so publically. So NHCO has very little enforcement ability and was meant to look like it's doing something without being very effective. In practice, its members have learned to use their tools to mount oblique attacks on bigotry that are far more influential. While warnings and fines have some modest effect, the real short-term power lies in creating a track record of bigots and their activities which is used to justify convictions and stronger sentences when they come to court through other routes. The long-term plan is gathering a mass of data about bigots, how they think, and which tactics are effective in stopping them -- to be presented later along with a serious plan for thwarting hate crime, framed in a manner that will make it obvious anyone opposing the propositions is doing so because they really like hate crimes. There are tips on understanding and stopping hate crimes.

Discreet bigots have become more common than noisy ones, and they can do more damage from hiding.

oohhhh

Date: 2014-12-17 03:51 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I've never seen this! Not even hinted!

HAPPY HAPPY DANCE!

I hope to see more of these two!

Re: oohhhh

Date: 2014-12-17 04:02 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
SUPER happy dance. IN computer chair!!

Yeah, absolutely wonderful!


Btw, to others, Mercedes is the name of a small town in California, where the Finns live.

Re: oohhhh

Date: 2015-04-16 04:55 pm (UTC)
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
Wow. That thing about the Klan opening its doors... I never in a million years would've predicted such a thing. I'm kinda staggered.

Suddenly this poem seems far less speculative than I originally thought!

--Rogan

Re: oohhhh

Date: 2015-04-16 05:05 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
We were emailing about a news article in real-America, which sparked this poem and the approach from T-America's "New Klan" to the cop who sparked the mall incident in my "Keeping Warm" story.

What I loved about the works, both Ysabetwordsmith's and mine, is that they take the same background information but portray the items only indirectly, while developing the world by showing people's /reactions/.

Re: oohhhh

Date: 2015-04-17 06:14 pm (UTC)
lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
Like, Dave Chapelle did a skit about a blind black man joining the Klan, and now IT COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN. Well, I'll be damned. Truly, the world is a magical place.

--Rogan

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-17 04:09 am (UTC)
thnidu: an elegant ligature, or monogram if you will, of the letters "wtf". lj:wordweaverlynn, from typophile.com (WTF)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
 photo DeM6.jpg

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-17 06:11 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) also tracks hate crimes and hate groups, since there is crossover between poverty and bigotry (one tends to reinforce the other).

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