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United Shades of America. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 24, 2016 - 22:00   ET


[22:00:01] W. KAMAU BELL, HOST: When we first pitched this show, you should know, the whole idea behind this show is that it's a show where a black guy goes places either he shouldn't go or you wouldn't expect him to go. And we're like oh, where should we go? I was like I don't know, maybe I should go talk to the Ku Klux Klan.


BELL: That was their reaction.


BELL: That was exactly their -- oh. And then it got quiet for a long time. But I could tell it was that kind of quiet where they were like that might be good for ratings. But Kamau might die. But that might be really good for ratings.


BELL: When I pitched the Ku Klux Klan idea, I didn't think they'd actually let me do it. You know what I mean? I was just trying to be edgy and get the job. And I thought we'd negotiate it down to like the rodeo. You know what I mean? Like --


BELL: -- just ride the horse. Horses are weird. I thought we'd end up there.

But I never thought in a million years that CNN would let me go talk to the KKK. But they did.

My name is W. Kamau Bell. As a comedian, I've made a living finding humor in the parts of America I don't understand. And now, I'm challenging myself to dig deeper. I'm on a mission to reach out and experience all the cultures and beliefs that add color to this crazy country. This is "The United Shades of America."

Learning about America means sometimes reaching across the aisle. And this week, I'm reaching way across the aisle to the Ku Klux Klan. Hopefully, when I'm done reaching, I still have my hand.

My first stop in this "what the hell am I thinking?" tour is to meet with an Arkansas leader of the KKK. According to KKK rhetoric, there's a new Klan in town. They're no longer anti-black. They're just pro-white. And nothing says new Klan like hanging out with a black dude.

For those of you tuning in to racism late, here's a quick refresher. The Klan was initially founded after the Civil War by a group of Confederate soldiers who were all like, dang, but we wasn't finishing oppressing black folks yet.

Since then, whenever it looked like black folks were getting too uppity, the Klan came back. After the Great Depression. During the civil rights movement. And then recently, after this happened.


WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, CNN: And CNN can now project that Barack Obama, 47 years old, will become the President-elect of the United States.


BELL: But that black guy isn't headed down a dark road at night. This black guy is. I'm here to meet with an Arkansas leader of the Ku Klux Klan. How come this can't happen during the day again?

All right. There's a car with the headlights on. If that's him, he'll blink his headlights.

Let's go.

This guy said he was coming alone. Why did I believe him? Camera crew or not, this seems like a bad idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL KEYSTONE KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN: First of all, before we start anything, ya hear my voice is gonna be disguised, right?

BELL: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, I'm gonna let you know, I'm the Imperial Wizard of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

BELL: Imperial Wizard of the International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I'm the president of the organization.

BELL: You're the president.


BELL: First of all, thanks for meeting with me.


BELL: I guess my first question is, the Klan historically, as I'm sure you know, has been a group associated with violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not associated with violence

BELL: I know, but I'm saying historically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out to look at the Klan in the 21st century.

BELL: Don't you think by wearing the same robes, that you're -- that it's hard to separate the two different Klans?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an opportunity to wear a Klansman's robe. Why? Because I'm white, and I belief in the ideas, rituals and beliefs of the Ku Klux Klan.

I was raised that way. This is always going to be Klan regalia.

BELL: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. So we understand each other?

BELL: Yes, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Klan has a purpose in life, and that is to recruit qualified Christians that are of good moral character standing.

BELL: What means qualified? What qualifies someone to be a member?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Must be white, and you must be a Christian. Jews will never be in the Klan. They're a dirty race. We are a white race. I'm proud of my race. I'm proud to be white. Are you proud to be a black man?

BELL: I am proud to be a black man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, that's good. You're a black man. You married a black woman?

BELL: I'm married to a white woman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what the bible says about racial marriages? Well, it's an abomination of sin.

BELL: On the list of sins, where is interracial marriage? There's like murder and -- is that interracial marriage equal to that? Or is it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be above, because it's an abomination.

BELL: So murder -- so it's worse than murder?


BELL: OK, all right. I wish we could have this discussion on a sunny day in a coffee shop where I could buy you a piece of pie and you didn't have the mask on and we could talk about these same things on a more equal level. Talk to each other face to face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not going to happen. BELL: All right. All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not going to happen.

BELL: All right. But you stay --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a part of history of the Klan.

BELL: It's the history of the past of the Klan, and you want to stay there.


BELL: OK. What is the future of America if the Klan has its say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only way you're going to know the true ideas, rituals and beliefs of the KKlux Klan is get involved. Obviously, you can't. You're black.

BELL: Yes, that's a -- it's going to be hard for me to get involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody else will come along after I'm dead and gone and fill my shoes --

BELL: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and continue on what we're doing. It's going to evolve.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's going to evolve.

BELL: OK. Well, one day I hope it evolves. Maybe at some point it could involve a mouth hole, because it's hard to understand you.


BELL: Maybe just sort of cut the mouth open a little bit? Maybe we'd get that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That might be a possibility.

BELL: OK. OK. What -- one step at a time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can be found at

BELL: Www dot?


BELL: Five K's?


BELL: All right. Have a good evening. Drive safe. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.

BELL: Yes, I just told a Klansman to drive safely. I should have just said, "y'all don't come back now, you hear?"

Let's get out of here.

Yes, the current era of the Khlan talks about how they evolved from the last era of the Klan, which is really weird for me, because they use the word "evolve." But because they're "good Christians," they don't believe in evolution. You know what I'm saying?

So we've evolved, but people, people don't evolve. No, no, people stay the same. But we've evolved.

You know, it's like the evolution chart. You know what I mean? It's just the -- it's like, you know, like the evolution chart. We start out as monkeys. Then we get like a Neanderthal. Then we're like this.

I feel like the Klan evolved from like this to like this. You know what I mean? Just like -- and now they're down here. It's just a series of angrier and angrier monkeys upset about the rest of us walking around on our hind legs. You know what I'm saying?



BELL: I met a Ku Klux Klan member by the side of a dark road. Yay! All my bucket list dreams are coming true.


BELL: But yes, the new Klan is sort of like they're diminished from the last Klan. I mean, it's like -- it's like when you go see one of the classic-era Motown bands now. You know what I mean? You know what I'm saying?

Like you go see -- I went to see the Temptations like a few years ago. And it's like it's not the same. That's like the Klan. It's not the same.

Let I went and saw the Temptations. Used to be five guys. Now it's four. You know, it's not the original guys, because one of them's white and the other dude's in his 20s.


BELL: The only guy who's an original member of the Temptations is so old he's sitting on a stool the whole time. Danced his ass off.


BELL: Ain't too proud to beg. So I think I can't just judge the Klan by this one dude. I've got to

go talk to more Klan members, which is the first time a black guy's ever said that sentence in life.


BELL: My next stop on the "Where Are They Now? Klan Edition" is Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Walking the streets, it feels like any quaint southern working-class town. But for decades the KKK and their neo-Nazi buddies have used a property just outside of town for their rallies.

And tonight, the Klan has invited me to witness an actual cross burning. Yep, I'm a KKK VIP.

But first, let me talk to the locals and see if they know that the Ku Klux Klan is still in the hood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it's a good place to live. Good place to raise kids. You know, it's about as close to modern Mayberry as you could get.

BELL: It's modern Mayberry.

Would you recommend a black guy like myself buy a house around here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Sure. You'd fit right in, I'm sure.

BELL: Right in?


BELL: We have heard there's still like a Klan presence, like a KKK presence. Has that happened here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Years ago, Dawson did have kind of a bad reputation.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a small town. It's just totally just disappeared.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, now there's no --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been over for years.

BELL: Do you see black people around here ever?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever I was growing up, there wasn't really a lot, because the KKK's like headquarters are just right down the road. I see them around town when I work at Dairy Queen down there.

BELL: It's funny, because you're the youngest person we've talked to. And we talked to some older people in town, and they said that -- like somebody said the Klan hasn't been here for 50 years.


BELL: They were trying to put a good face on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just wasn't open about it like they were in the past.

BELL: What if I was to go down that road today? What do you think? Would that be a good idea? Would that be a bad idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't be scared of it.

BELL: I didn't say you. I said me.

And just like that, I'm off to see the wizards. Going down a one-way road to see a cross burn.

I'm meeting with the Nordic Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. These guys claim to be progressive. I guess if you want to convince people you're new and improved, then you let a black man watch you burn a cross. Crazy. But I'll keep an open mind. I can't let go of my liberal bias for tolerance.

As I turn onto the Klan property, I'm greeted by a semi-automatic rifle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Straight up there. Right about in there.

BELL: OK. All right, thank you.

Yep. I said thank you. I was really saying thank you for not killing me. It was one of those thank you for not killing me with your big gun, sir, thank yous.

Oh, this was -- this is -- I've had some dumb ideas, but this is --


BELL: Kamau Bell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to meet you.

BELL: Nice to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like to come over? Have a seat.

BELL: Sure. Absolutely.

No, not really. But we might as well start with some small talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this is Kentucky, man.

BELL: This is Kentucky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is -- it's hot.

BELL: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of salt of the earth of Americans.

BELL: Yes, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Ku Klux Klan.

BELL: And the Ku Klux Klan. Now, is it -- now, is it -- I would imagine it's especially hot in these robes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it's horrible.

BELL: So you've got to --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a sacrifice. The whole premise behind the mask is to show that we're equal. The mask makes us all equal in each other's eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what do African Americans think about the Klan?

BELL: Obviously, black people and the Klan have had issues, to put it lightly. You know, me coming out here to talk to you guys is, you know, not something my mother dreamed of.


BELL: You know, so you know, obviously, that's a thing. And I respect the fact that you let me come out here, and I also respect the fact you're letting me leave.


BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I can tell you, Nordic Order Knights is a direct action group. If you come at us, we're going to come back at you. We are not politically correct whatsoever. If you try to hurt one of our members, we will hurt you.

BELL: Yes.


BELL: I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm -- don't let me sugar-coat anything.

BELL: No, I understand. I mean --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are pro-white, 100%. We only work on our race.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The other mud races, leave us alone. That's all I've got to tell you is just leave us alone.

BELL: Mud races? There's got to be a funny comeback for that. I've got nothing.

Let me try talking to the other imperial wizard here. Jim Shealy's (ph) not covering his face. Finally, a Klansman with high self- esteem.

Have you had black people here before to witness this?

JIM SHEALY (ph), IMPERIAL WIZARD, NORDIC ORDER KNIGHTS: No, you would actually be the first black man that's attended to a cross lighting.


SHEALY (ph): The first thing that any man or woman learns when they join a Klan group is how to wrap the cross. These robes are part of who we are. The cross lighting is part of who we are.

BELL: So when you burn a cross you don't burn it --

SHEALY (ph): No, we don't burn it.

BELL: I'm sorry.

SHEALY (ph): It's called a cross lighting.

BELL: The cross lighting. So this -- how often do you do this, you said?

SHEALY (ph): You wouldn't want to do them every month. It makes it less special. It's like the idea you could have champagne, but you're not going to have it every day. One of the nicest times to do it is when a -- during a full moon or in the winter when the stars are -- you know, twinkle.

BELL: That sounds kind of like a Klan postcard.

SHEALY (ph): Yes, it does.

BELL: Yes.

SHEALY (ph): If I was going to send out postcards at Christmas, I would want something like that for the cover.

BELL: Well, if you do that, Jim, you don't have to give me credit for the idea.

While these guys wrap the cross for burning -- I'm sorry, lighting, let me see if Klanny Smurf has calmed down any.

BELL: What do you love about the white race? What do you have pride about it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God created us, and I truly feel that God's creation was perfect. It tells us not to mingle our seeds with the beasts of the field. I mean you don't take a champion race horse and mate it to a mule. OK? Because the offspring is not no longer champion. It is now mongrelized. You are dumbing down your children.

BELL: Do you feel like that we have -- that our IQs are at an even play? Like are we having conversation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe we're having a great dialogue --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- you know, according to --

BELL: Please don't double down for me. I don't want you to feel like -- I'll try to keep up. Please don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We follow the teachings of the Lord. And if the Lord says it's bad, then we will say it's bad.

BELL: Now, I know the bible also says you're not supposed to eat lobster, and I've violated that one many times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I violated it last night at Red Lobster.

BELL: You went to the -- you went to the house of ill repute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I went to -- I went -- had the Ultimate Feast.

BELL: OK, all right.


BELL: So we're all sinners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I'm going to hell.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to hell.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But like I was saying earlier, everybody has a -- has a place in this nation. I would just like to see a separate white nation.

If you take a bag of Skittles --

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- there's different colors in that bag.

BELL: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can mix the colors --

BELL: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and it still tastes OK.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But if you separate the colors and then taste the individual flavors, it's even better.

BELL: So are you telling me that when you have a bag of Skittles, you separate all the colors before you eat them?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm waiting on a Klansman to bring me some kerosene so I can soak it.

BELL: What do e have to do to get a Klansman some kerosene?


BELL: So you cut down trees for the cross.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Some people do metal crosses.

BELL: So that's kind of like having a plastic Christmas tree? It just doesn't have the same feel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, it don't.

BELL: Yes. What about going down to Home Depot and just buying the wood? Does anybody do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tried that before, and the wood -- the wood goes up pretty fast.

BELL: Don't get your cross at Home Depot --


BELL: -- for the cross lighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have anything against Home Depot.

BELL: No, no, no. We are -- you know, you're not --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not racist against Home Depot whatsoever.

BELL: I love that you have all that sensitivity around Home Depot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely, man.

All right, a little more -- not so fast, man. Dude, you're going real fast. You're going to lose a lot of fuel.

Go ahead and help him out.

We call it Klansman's cologne. Most of the robes I have have kerosene on them, except for this one. So this one --

BELL: You want to keep this one nice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I do, man. It's satin, and --

BELL: You know, what's a good price on a Klan robe?


BELL: $125?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansmen, you're going to be in this ceremony. Let's go.

BELL: It was almost time for the cross lighting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentlemen, let's get this cross up in the air. Back and hard.

BELL: I know what you're thinking. Is it rude of me not to help?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

BELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. We're not going to the cross burning yet. No, no. Not in the middle of the show. I'm not dumb. That's the big closer.


BELL: I can't just throw the cross burning out there in the middle of the show. You can't follow a cross burning. What follows a cross burning? I actually don't want to know. I don't want to know, actually.


BELL: I'd rather never know. I don't ever want to know what follows a cross burning.

Don't worry, we'll get to the cross burning later. But first, if you search the internet for KKK, some of the top stories you'll find are about a small town you've probably never heard of. So I'm headed back to Arkansas.

The town of Harrison has a population that is 96 percent white, and it's known for still having an active Ku Klux Klan presence. What kind of vibe will I get here? Will I see some kind of sign of modern- day racism?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The controversial billboard up in Harrison in northern Arkansas sparking nationwide controversy. It's caused local outrage, some calling it racist. People say this billboard reminds them of a very unpleasant time in their town's history.


BELL: I need to talk to somebody about the billboard, and this lady will do. She's Patty Methvin, president of the Harrison Chamber of Commerce.

PATTY METHVIN, PRESIDENT, HARRISON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Well, it broke my heart at first. After I cried for a little while and kind of had a little hissy fit, then we started working on what do we do. I mean how do you counter a billboard that doesn't have an author?

BELL: Yes, because there's no -- there's no website. There's no name.


BELL: There's nobody claiming credit. There's no address.


BELL: It's just a billboard.

METHVIN: It's just the billboard.

BELL: Now, the people of Harrison don't actually know who's responsible for this sign. But if I was placing a bet, I'd guess this guy.


PASTOR THOMAS ROBB: Harrison became a better place to live without its negroes.


The guy's so racist he pronounces negroes "nigroes." Pastor Thomas Robb is leader of the Knights Party of the Ku Klux Klan, a powerful local KKK group with a large internet presence. Robb has been known for years for his attempts to soften the image of the KKK. It's a stab at 21st century rebranding.


ROBB: I don't hate black people, but I do love my people more.


BELL: Robb has replaced the white hood with a suit and a tie, but the message is still the same.


ROBB: Because diversity is a code word for white genocide.

Think about your ancestors and this heritage that has been given to you. Look at the blood that flows through your veins. It is the same blood that was in the veins of your ancestors for a thousand generations.


METHVIN: For many years, nobody really said anything against him. So the assumption is that most people in Harrison must agree, because we never said that he doesn't speak for us. We don't think that we're perfect. We believe that we probably have the same amount of racists as most communities.

BELL: That's good to know.

METHVIN: You know?

BELL: No more, no less.


BELL: So you just have one very loud one, yes.

METHVIN: Yes, this is what he does, 24/7.

Hey, guys, I want to introduce you to our guest today. This is Kamau Bell.



BELL: Hi. I'm just going to hug you.

METHVIN: That's even better.

BELL: Patty is part of a task force that is working to counter what she says is Thomas Robb's agenda, to discourage anyone who's not white from moving into town.

As I'm driving into town, there's this sign that seems like it's telling me to turn around. You know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a victory for them. That's exactly what they want.

BELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, they didn't even have the bravery to put their name on it, so it's almost cowardly.

BELL: And who do you think it is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a family business. It's what they do.

BELL: This man, Thomas Robb.

They not only know who he is. Thomas Robb knows all about the task force, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've been attacked as a group. We've been attacked personally, individually.


ROBB: The main personality behind the task force is Patty and Caroline Ann Lane. It is this white guilt, which has taken your spirit.


METHVIN: If you meet him in town, he's very meek and mild, and he would probably stop and help you change your tire. Not many -- I don't know about you. But he would --


METHVIN: Let me rephrase that. He would stop and help me change my tire.


METHVIN: OK. But, you know, his job is hate speech. That's what he does for a living. They have several businesses that they run out of their compound, I guess, their --

BELL: Oh, compounds never sound like good times.

I can tell you right now, most big cities white people aren't having this conversation. No, a group of mostly white people having a productive conversation about racism, this is like a unicorn. See what I'm saying?



BELL: Harrison, Arkansas, a town with a reputation for racism. But is that reputation fair? I mean, come on. What town doesn't have a reputation for racism? I'm going to talk to the people about this.

Wait a minute. OK, wait a minute. I have to talk to you. Please just say what you said again when you saw me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is so nice to see a person of color in my town.

BELL: Oh, my. Can I give you a hug?


BELL: Oh, thank you.

What do you think about the town? Do you like it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like this town. This is a pretty decent town.

BELL: Would you say this is a warm and welcoming town?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. We'd welcome you just like we welcome anybody else. But the way that this world's coming to, the only hope is in Jesus.

BELL: I really appreciate your passion, and I appreciate you putting your arm around me. And right now, I'm going to put my arm around you, because I appreciate you.


BELL: I was having a -- was having a lack of black in my life.


BELL: I appreciate it. Having a blackout. You know what I mean?


BELL: How do you feel living in this town? Does it bother you? Is there any problems?


BELL: Not at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does not bother me at all.

BELL: No racism? No -- it's all friendly?


BELL: Well, that's great to hear.


BELL: I have to ask you a question. I have heard about this gentleman in town named Thomas Robb. He talks as if he is speaking for Harrison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not. I'd say if you took a survey, 99 percent of the people that lives here wish he would shut up.

BELL: OK. Thomas Robb. Have you heard that name before, first of all?


BELL: You kind of look like I said Lord Voldemort. You got real -- like don't say it three times. He might show up like Beetlejuice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This town is real peaceful. And any drama that people want to bring here, it's not right. It's just not right.

BELL: There I was in Harrison, Arkansas, and I heard all about this guy, Thomas Robb. He's the leader of what is apparently the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. It's so racist that the KKK added a fourth K just to -- we took up the racism a notch. This is the KKKK.


BELL: And I was like I've got to meet this guy. So it's like I had to call him up and go, hey, man, can I come to your creepy compound. I didn't actually call him up. That would be weird. And I didn't say creepy compound.

I actually had one of the producers call him up, because he's got a way better white guy voice than I do, because he's a white guy.


BELL: My white guy voice sucks. I'm like "What up, brother?" You know --


BELL: -- nobody buys that. So Thomas Robb was like, why don't me and your host go out to lunch, and then if I like him, then he can come to my compound. Which so now I'm in this weird position where I'm going to lunch with a Ku Klux Klan member, and I have to impress him.


BELL: Will racism ever end, black people? You know what I'm saying?


BELL: Yes, sir.

ROBB: Nice to meet you.

BELL: Nice to meet you.

ROBB: Tom Rob.

BELL: Thanks for coming.

ROBB: Oh, well, no problem at all. Glad to be here. BELL: I appreciate you showing up.

ROBB: I hope I picked a good place to eat.

BELL: I hope so. Yes, we'll find out.

Weirdly, this guy didn't seem so bad. For a Klansman.

OK, so just -- can you just lay it out for me, your belief system? Because I know you consider yourself to be part of the new Klan.

ROBB: First off, the Klan to me is just a tool to reach people. I feel that it gets the biggest bang for the buck.


ROBB: And that's why I joined the Klan.

BELL: Yes.

ROBB: But my personal belief, OK --

BELL: Yes.

ROBB: -- is that black people cannot maintain law and order on their own.

BELL: Really?

ROBB: That's my personal belief.

BELL: And why do you think that is?

ROBB: White people have a -- have an inner drive for discipline and law and order.

BELL: All white people?

ROBB: No, not all white people.

BELL: I know, just --

ROBB: Some are really trash.

BELL: OK, all right. All right, as long as we agree with that, yes.

ROBB: But I sincerely believe that if people of my character and racial integrity were in charge, your communities would be safe again. It's just we're different people. You know? And we come from different worlds.

BELL: Yes.

ROBB: And you're happier, I suspect, among your own world.

BELL: I am happier amongst my own people, but there are multiple races and multiple --

ROBB: So you're comfortable with a multiracial society?

BELL: Absolutely. Yes.

ROBB: And I'm not. And a lot of people are not.

I still have a right to love my people --

BELL: Absolutely.

ROBB: -- and love my heritage without somebody calling me a racist and hater and a bigot and trying to marginalize me by name calling.

BELL: But the task force wants to promote diversity in town. And how do you feel about that?

ROBB: Why do they want to do that? But I mean, there are many, many places that are already multicultural, multiracial. Why don't they move to one of those places?

BELL: I think for the same reason that you've been here for so long. They like this community. They like this community.

ROBB: Why is it that white people can't have a community?

BELL: I think white people have a lot of communities, sir.

ROBB: I know, but the point is --

BELL: I think there's one called America.

ROBB: -- they can't -- they can't -- if they want to preserve it, and they feel they have to have -- move minorities in.

BELL: Oh, so if I moved into this town and doubled the black population, how would you feel about that? Because you know me. I'm nice. We're talking.

ROBB: Yes.

BELL: We're having a good time. How would you -- if I brought 35 more me's --

ROBB: Yes.

BELL: -- to this town and we all moved in, how would you feel about that?

ROBB: If that's what you want to do, go for it.

BELL: OK, so but I hear you say go for it.

ROBB: I have -- I have no control over those things.

BELL: I appreciate you giving me permission. I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

ROBB: I understand.

BELL: But how would you feel about that? How would you -- would you feel like --because we're getting along. We're having a good time.

ROBB: Sure.

BELL: You know, we --

ROBB: I'm not taking you home for dinner.

BELL: I would you to my house. Would you come to my house if I invited you?


BELL: Why not? Why is that?

ROBB: I like being around my own kind.

BELL: But, you know, what if I had white people there?

ROBB: I have no desire.

BELL: You have no desire?


BELL: You don't know how -- but I'm a good cook.

ROBB: Anyway.

BELL: The bad news? I completely lost my appetite. The good news? Pastor Robb has invited me out to visit his compound. Wait. That's good news?


BELL: So I passed the audition. I get to go to the compound!


BELL: Yay!

Why is it these Klan people all live down creepy country roads? Fifteen miles outside of Harrison, and I feel like I'm in Season 1 of "True Detective."

I wonder if a black man has ever been this far down this road.

In addition to Pastor Robb, I've also been promised time with his daughter. Knights party national organizer Rachel Pendergraft, co- host of robb's KKK internet show.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RACHEL PENDERGRAFT, KNIGHTS PARTER ORGANIZER: I'm Rachel Pendergraft. Welcome to another edition of "This Is the Klan."


BELL: I'm also going to get to meet this guy, former neo-Nazi Billy Roper.


BILLY ROPER, FORMER NEO-NAZI: Raise your hand if you're a white person and proud to be so.



BELL: In recent years, Billy's become Anakin to pastor Robb's even more evil Emperor Palpatine.


ROPER: A lot of us have to work jobs with muds. We see muds on the streets all the time. We have to live with (BLEEP) skins. How are we going to make our little babies would never have to go to school with any (BLEEP) niggers or spics or gooks? If I had the answer, all non- whites would be (BLEEP) dead and would be buried.

I'm not a white separatist. I'm a non-white extinctionist.


BELL: What's an old school hater like Billy Roper doing with Mr. New Klan Thomas Robb? And what if I gotten myself into?

I hope this is the right Klan compound. That would suck.

And look who's waiting for me. Former neo-Nazi Billy Roper.

Yes, we did. We got a little lost. Hello, sir.

ROPER: Billy Roper.

BELL: Hello, Billy. Kamau Bell. Nice to meet you.

ROPER: Nice to meet you, too.

BELL: Billy wants to chat before bringing me inside to meet with Pastor Robb. Here's an appropriate setting for a discussion on hate, a kids' playground.

Tell me, how did you get involved in this -- in with Pastor Robb?

ROPER: I am actually involved as the membership coordinator for the Knights party crusaders youth corps.

BELL: That's right. The man who said this --


ROPER: If I had the answer, all non-whites would be (BLEEP) dead.


BARTIROMO: -- is now teaching kids.


ROPER: Hi and welcome to the White Youth Focus Tv Show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can people who look like us still be our enemy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, of course. You know, we believe that homosexual -- homosexuality is wrong and you shouldn't race mix. Then like there's all the other people that are traitors and believe that it's right.


ROPER: You know I think it's crucial that people in my position do everything we can to educate white youth about our perspective on American history. All of our founding fathers were white. America was not established to be a melting pot.

BELL: If America wasn't established to be a melting pot, why did they bring so many black people over here with them to established it?

ROPER: They never intended them to be citizens or equals.

BELL: And now -- but if they hadn't brought us in the first place, you would have never had this problem.

ROPER: I agree. And I wish that my ancestors had picked their own cotton.

BELL: You and me both, sir. That we can agree on.

ROPER: And so the only way to undo that original sin is repatriation.

BELL: So that means sending the black people back to Africa?

ROPER: If they're not content or they can't find a peaceable geographical separation here in the United States, that might be an option.

BELL: OK, all right.

Well, I'm up here, and I see this beautiful playground and I think about the fact that my daughter, if she was with me, would like to play on this playground. Would that be acceptable?

ROPER: Well, you know, there are millions of majority black neighborhoods in the United States that my daughter could not play in today because of the violence, because of the drugs, because of the color of her skin, so no. Sometimes it's better for people to have their own places to play.

BELL: All right.

Not just a racist. Also kind of a jerk.

ROPER: This is the church. Welcome.

BELL: Thank you.

ROPER: And we'll have an opportunity to join Pastor Robb and Rachel inside.

BELL: Great.

ROPER: Come on in.

BELL: Hello.


ROPER: Howdy.

PENDERGRAFT: How are you?

ROPER: Rachel, this is Kamau.

PENDERGRAFT: Hi, nice to meet you.

BELL: Hi, Kamau.

PENDERGRAFT: So this is -- this is our conference hall, and we do have church services here. We have some nice families and, you know, a lot of -- a lot of young people and children and so forth.

BELL: What else do you do up here?

ROBB: Well, we operate our internet television news program.

BELL: Ah, yes, Robb's web series. Not ready for prime time. Or anytime.


ROBB: You and I are in race war today, and the blacks are -- and the minorities are winning.

PENDERGRAFT: The whole point of black history month is to make white people feel guilty.

ROBB: White people are not going to walk quietly away into the night.


BELL: So now I get to watch an actual taping of their next episode right there on set.

And that's Rachel's young son running the whole operation. They gave us permission to show his face, but we're going to blur it anyway. I still have hope for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one.

ROBB: Hello. This is Thomas Robb, the national director of the Knights party.

PENDERGRAFT Hello, and I'm Rachel Pendergraft. Welcome to another edition of "This Is the Klan," and there's a lot of news going on this week. There's an attack on law and order in general.

Now, I noticed -- I noticed that seems kind of humorous to you.

BELL: I just -- cut just for a second. Just for a second.


BELL: I just -- you guys are doing great. I just think if you guys talk more to the camera out here. You're just talking to --


BELL: It's just me and you. And I hope my black presence isn't disturbing.


BELL: You want to invite the viewer at home in. That's all I'm saying.

ROBB: So we can officially say now that this wonderful black man has given us technical advice to make our show even better.

BELL: Yes, yes, see. Look at that. Even that was better. You were talking right to me. It was like -- it was like I was right there at the table with you, yes.

ROBB: Absolutely.

BELL: All right, let's do this. Invite us in. Smile with your eyes, just like Tyra says.

ROBB: It's a family event for our white pride.

BELL: So when you say "white pride," it sounded like you were like, "white pride." We like -- we need to feel it, because I'm -- you know, just put a little more. That's all. A little more. All right.

PENDERGRAFT: And until next week.

ROBB: Remember, this is the Klan, and this is the truth.

BELL: I like the subtitle. This is the Klan, and this is the truth. And if -- and if there was a jingle that popped in right there, that would be amazing.

All right. Enough of the showbiz. What do they have to say about my friends on the Harrison task force on race relations?

ROPER: What they're trying to do is forcibly diversify our community. And we don't think, and a lot of people in the Harrison community don't think that making Harrison more like West Africa is an improvement.

BELL: Wouldn't Harrison have to go pretty far to be like West Africa?

PENDERGRAFT: We want business owners in Harrison to understand that they don't have to feel pressure of being bullied by the task force.

BELL: And how do you mean bullied, just to be clear?

PENDERGRAFT: For instance, somebody put a sign up on the highway in Harrison, anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

BELL: Yes.

PENDERGRAFT: We still to this day -- we don't know who put the sign up.

BELL: But can we all just agree that it seems unfriendly just as a --

PENDERGRAFT: I don't see it that way.

BELL: You don't see it that way?


BELL: So would you be fine if the sign came down? Would you --

PENDERGRAFT: Absolutely not. The sign has been a success.

BELL: Like when I drive into town and I see that sign, "anti-racism equals anti-white," it makes me feel like, as a -- as a guy who's not from this community driving into this community I should probably drive through this community.

ROPER: When I say racist --

BELL: Yes.

ROPER: -- can you honestly tell me you don't see a white person?

BELL: I can honestly tell you that.

ROPER: Really?

BELL: I have black relatives who are racists.

ROPER: Well, then I would say that you're probably in the minority of African-Americans, because when people think of racism, they have been programmed to think of white people. So therefore, anti-racism really is anti-white.

ROBB: For one person turned off by the ad, there might be 100 or 1,000 who said, hey, I think I want to come to Harrison and maybe even move to Harrison.

BELL: Did you guys put the sign up?

ROBB: Yes, no.

BELL: Wait. Did you say yes?


BELL: I think he said yes.

ROBB: No, I didn't.

BELL: You didn't say yes?


BELL: You sure? You sure? This is my hard-hitting question phase. Are you sure? You didn't put the sign up. OK, all right. Fair enough.

Hmm. Pastor Robb's pretty firm. But what about Billy? I wonder if he knows who put the sign up.


ROPER: They say they're anti-racist. But what they are is anti- white. And that's why anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.


BELL: Way to go, gumshoes. I think we just cracked the case.


BELL: So thank you for welcoming me out to your church.

ROBB: It was a pleasure.

BELL: And to your compound. I appreciate it.

PENDERGRAFT: No, it's not a compound.

ROBB: It's not a compound.

BELL: I'm sorry. To your church. Thank you for welcoming me to your church.

ROBB: Yes.

BELL: And, you know, next week, I'll bring my friends. We'll have a barbecue. ROBB: Probably not.

BELL: OK, all right.


ROBB: Drive careful.

BELL: Thomas Robb and his new Klan may not be as scary as the old Klan, but I still wouldn't want them living on the outskirts of my town. By wearing a suit and tie, by presenting hate speech as folksy news, he's trying to take the KKK mainstream again. And that's way more dangerous than any group wearing a hood and hiding in the shadows. But unless he picks up some Ryan Seacrest TV skills, I don't see it happening.

This here is the real story of Harrison, Arkansas. It's the story of people like these who are fighting back against the ignorance of racism.

I didn't think it town would be embracing of the ignorance, but I didn't know there would be such a spirit against it.

PATTY METHVIN, PRESIDENT, HARRISON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: When you can see our hearts, that helps more than anything.

BELL: Yes.

After all this I've learned that despite what we think, the Klan is real. They're out there. They're not the same as they used to be anymore. They're not as strong as they used to be. The Klan is basically at this point kind of like MySpace.


BELL: Like it's still out there. They're still recruiting. And they're always like we're going to be back to where they were. But they're not. They're not.


BELL: And I found out that the Ku Klux Klan with all their talk of rebranding is still basically the same Klan, and they're still doing things that are scary. Like sometimes they gather in the woods and burn a cross while a black guy watches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansmen, surround the cross.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansman, do you accept the light of Jesus Christ?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I accept the light.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansmen, march.

Klansmen, halt. Face the cross. For God!






BELL: The Klan claims this is a symbol of God's love. But I'm not feeling the love right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansmen, approach the cross. Do not turn your back to the cross.

BELL: Holy shit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Klansmen, behold the fiery cross. Still brilliant, though history has failed to quench its hollow flames. It shall glow as bright as the morning sun for all decades to be held in the hearts of all Klansmen. It shall light from sea to sea.

The cross is an inspiration, a sign of the Christian religion. It's a symbol of faith, hope, and love. We do not burn but light the cross to signify that Christ is the light of the world and that in His light, it destroys darkness.

Beneath this fiery cross, we glory in its sacred glow. This is where my oath was made. As long as we give thanks to God every day, we shall never perish from this earth. We shall never die.

They may try to destroy us, but the Ku Klux Klan has been here for 150 years. I want to go for another 150 years. Let's go. White power!


BELL: I realize this new Klan isn't as powerful as the old Klan, but there is an undeniable power to this image that is even more undeniable when you see it up close. I actually feel lucky. Unlike most of the black people in the history of this country, who have been present for a cross burning, I get to leave.